Methane detectors based on the absorption of infrared radiation show some promise as the basis of sensitive and accurate industrial instrumentation. Comb filter methods that utilize the vibration-rotation structure of the methane spectrum in an optically efficient manner have recently aroused particular interest in this context. We describe a mathematical model to simulate the behavior of scanning interferometric comb filters in methane detection systems and discuss the use of the model to investigate optimum design parameters for such systems. The behavior of prototype methane detectors based on scanning Fabry-Pérot and Mach-Zehnder interferometers is briefly reported. Possible techniques for obtaining further improvements in the design of comb filters for methane detection are suggested.