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Effective Odor Control Methods in Businesses


Unpleasant smells are an unwelcome reality we all encounter. Whether it’s a public restroom’s pungent assault or the persistent industrial emissions near your home, the battle against offensive odors is a constant one.

The growing awareness of malodors has propelled odor control to the forefront of maintaining a pleasant environment. Its importance extends across industries, from food processing facilities to healthcare institutions, ensuring a positive experience for both employees and customers. Every facility has the potential to generate unpleasant odors, which can negatively impact consumer and employee perception, leading to complaints and negative reviews.

Odors are the result of volatile chemical compounds, detected through our olfactory receptors. Most unpleasant smells we encounter, whether from humans, animals, or waste, stem from two primary culprits: sulfur and ammonia compounds.

Sulfur compounds, notorious for their distinct presence in rotten eggs, skunk spray, and burning rubber, are easy to recognize. The memorable cabbage-like aroma of decaying vegetables? That’s the work of mercaptans – sulfur-based compounds notorious for their potent stench. In fact, ethyl mercaptan is deliberately added to odorless natural gas for safety reasons, its pungent aroma serving as a potent alarm.

Mercaptans: The Hidden Stink Bombs in Everyday Life

These potent sulfur compounds are the culprits behind the pungent aromas you encounter more often than you might think:

  • Garbage’s unmistakable cabbage-like stench: That’s mercaptans at work, breaking down organic matter.
  • Asparagus’ distinctive odor: After you enjoy this healthy vegetable, your body releases mercaptans that are responsible for its unique aroma.
  • Poop’s unpleasant smell: Mercaptans join forces with other compounds to create the characteristic odor we all know and (mostly) dislike.
  • Skunk’s potent spray: This noxious weapon contains mercaptans, designed to incapacitate and deter predators.
  • Body odor: Mercaptans play a role in the complex mix of chemicals that make up our individual scent.
  • Garlic’s pungent aroma: Along with other sulfur compounds, mercaptans give garlic its distinctive bite.
  • Onions’ strong odor: The tear-inducing power of onions is partly due to mercaptans, which release volatile compounds when the vegetable is chopped.
  • Dairy and cattle odors: Mercaptans contribute to the specific smells associated with milk, cheese, and livestock.

Meanwhile, ammonia, another odoriferous compound, is:

  • The breakdown product of urea: Present in both urine and feces, urea naturally breaks down into ammonia due to the presence of the urease enzyme, contributing to their distinctive smells.
  • A common culprit in restrooms and cat litter boxes: The pungent ammonia odor in these environments arises from similar breakdown processes.

While the concentration of these odorants varies, they can range from barely perceptible to overwhelmingly pervasive. Complex techniques like European Odour Units, olfactometry, and gas chromatography exist for scientific odor analysis. But we simply don’t want to keep smelling them every single day.

Odor Control Solutions

Battling unpleasant smells requires a multi-pronged approach. The first line of defense lies in reducing odor potential at its source. Optimizing operations, adhering to regulations, and adopting innovative technologies can significantly minimize odor issues. The best solutions, however, depend on your specific industry, facility type, and the odor source.

Here’s a toolbox of techniques to tackle various odor problems:

Odor Modification:

  • Masking agents: Overlaying unpleasant smells with pleasant ones to alter perceived intensity and character.
  • Counteractants: Chemically reacting with odor molecules to neutralize or destroy them, eliminating the smell rather than masking it.
  • Neutralizers: Absorbing and binding odor molecules, effectively preventing them from reaching our olfactory receptors.

Odor Digesters:

Harnessing the power of beneficial bacteria and enzymes to “eat away” at odor-causing organic matter, offering a natural and environmentally friendly solution.

Adsorption/Dry Scrubbing:

Utilizing highly porous materials like activated carbon and zeolite to trap and capture odor molecules on their external surfaces, effectively removing them from the air.

Absorption/Wet Scrubbing:

Passing odorous gas through a liquid solution, where odor molecules are dissolved and neutralized, offering a high level of odor control.

Biofilters and Chemical Filtration:

Passing air containing odorous compounds through a bed of soil, compost, or peat, allowing naturally occurring microbes to degrade and eliminate them.


Adding oxygen to break down organic matter that produces offensive smells. Certain oxidizers also act as stain removers, providing additional benefits.


Forming a barrier around odor sources, preventing them from becoming airborne and contaminating the surrounding environment.

By understanding the available options and tailoring solutions to your specific needs, you can effectively control odors and create a more pleasant environment for everyone.


Clearing the Air: Air Fresheners vs. Deodorizers vs. Odor Eliminators

Navigating the air care aisle can be confusing with terms like “odor eliminator,” “deodorizer,” and “air freshener” vying for your attention. Let’s delve into the differences and help you choose the right weapon for your odor-fighting arsenal.

Masking vs. Eliminating

The fundamental distinction lies in their approach to odor control. Air fresheners and deodorizers belong to the “masking” camp. They use fragrances to cloak unpleasant smells, much like a magician’s illusion.

This includes popular options like plug-in air fresheners, diffusers, and metered aerosols. While they may effectively mask odors with a pleasant scent, they don’t address the root cause. Once the fragrance fades, the unpleasant odor returns, leaving you back at square one.

Neutralizing vs. Eliminating

Odor eliminators and odor neutralizers, on the other hand, take a different tack. They target the odor molecules themselves, undergoing a chemical reaction that alters their shape and renders them undetectable to the human nose. This “neutralization” effectively eliminates the odor permanently, rather than simply masking it. Some odor eliminators may have added fragrance for a fresh boost, but many are fragrance-free.

Choosing the Right Weapon

The best choice depends on your specific goal. If your aim is to quickly mask an unpleasant odor, an air freshener or deodorizer may be the quicker solution. However, if you’re seeking a permanent solution that eliminates the odor at its source, an odor eliminator or odor neutralizer is the way to go.

Why Hire Professional Odor Control Services for Your Business?

Unpleasant odors can have a significant negative impact on your business. They can detract from customer experience, decrease employee productivity, trigger health problems, violate health codes.

Professional odor control services can help identify the source of the odor, eliminate the odor permanently, prevent odors from returning, and protect your reputation. Apart from all that, professional odor control saves you time and money, and is environmentally friendly.

Hiring professional odor control services is a wise investment for any business that wants to create a clean, healthy, and odor-free work environment for its customers and employees.

For professional and reliable commercial cleaning services in your area, don’t hesitate to contact Performance Cleaning on 1300 867 872 for more information.

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