1.0 What Are these Smells?

Humans can recognise over 10,000 different odour molecules and we are able to detect odours even in infinitesimal quantities. We utilise our sense of smell for a multitude of activities from enjoying the aroma of freshly brewed coffee to deciding whom not to sit next to on the bus. Many odours we find pleasant, why is it then that we find some smells unpleasant? Just as we seek out for instance the smell of freshly baked bread, we avoid the off-smelling prawns. A bad smell is often a warning that the food may not be safe to eat. Similarly, the smell of urine, faeces and vomit are a warning to us to avoid contact with these things as they can be hazardous to our health. We also find the smell of decaying plant and animal material unpleasant and therefore avoid contact with these types of things too. The bad smells are due to the compounds present be they for instance in animal urine and faeces or decaying food. Often the bacteria that break these compounds down into equally undesirable and smelly by-products also give off a smell we find unplesant. Many of the compounds we are talking about are all naturally occurring in animal (and human!) guts and in the wider environment. They fall generally into four groups; sulfurous compounds; phenols and indoles; volatile fatty acids (VFA); ammonia and volatile amines.

1.1 Pets and Livestock

Pet and livestock smells are often related to both diet and the animal’s health and the conditions in which it is kept. In some circum-stances the smells are due to the sweat and other excretions that the animal releases normally or when stressed or as part of its’breeding cycle or marking of territory.

1.2 Composting, Wastewater, Solid Wastes

These types of odours derive from decaying plant and animal material but may also inlude urine and faeces.

1.3 Other Types of Odour

  • Cooking odours
    Fresh bread baking in the oven is a wonderful smell to many people, but burnt sausage smell for example is disagreeable to most people. Smellgone sprays will effectively reduce unpleasant cooking odours. Clean up the offending mess first and fill the cooking pot or frypan with water and allow it to soak. It is best to thoroughly ventilate the room if possible, then mist the air at above head height throughout the room, especially near to the original source of the smell. Leave the room to air and if necessary spray again 1-2 hours later. In most cases the burnt smell will be markedly reduced within 2-4 hours.
  • Smoking odours
    Stale cigarette smoke can be difficult to remove from rooms and furnishings. For occasional or light smoking odour problems, a light misting of the air in the room and a light misting of the carpet and furnishings with Odour Control Spray may be sufficient to significantly reduce or eliminate smoking odours. In extreme case a complete repaint and steam clean of carpets, furniture and drapes may be necessary. Any lingering smoking smell can be combated by mist spraying effected carpets and furnishings with Odour Control Spray. Odour Control Powder scattered lightly over the carpet, lightly brushed in, left overnight and vacuumed up the next day is an effective remedy for stubborn carpet odours due to smoking or pets.
  • Paints, solvents, foams, plastics and pesticides
    There are of course many other types of odour, not derived from organic, that is, plant and animal sources. Some of these may be manufactured chemically (for example some fertilisers), or they may be a by-product of a manufacturing process. Odours not derived directly from a plant or animal are generally called “inorganic”. Typical inorganic smells may be from paint, plastic laminates and foams (used in furniture etc), fuels such as diesel or petrol, pesticides and insecticide sprays. The beneficial micro-organisms in all Smellgone preparations can help with the control of some of these types of odours, although the toxicity of some organic solvents even our bugs can’t deal with very well! The cleansing action of fine mists of Odour Control Spray or Smellgone Rapid can assist in reducing paint, plastic and fuel odours. Odour Control Powder can help in the cleanup of spilt paints, fuels and pesticides but care should be taken when cleaning up flammable materials. Read the label on the original container for details of safe cleanup procedures and if necessary seek advice from your Fire Department or Fire Service. Lightly misting the air with Odour Control Spray, on an as required basis is a good start. However in cases where the odour is continually produced over a period of time a spray/misting dosing program and higher delivery misting equipment may be necessary.

2.0 Odour Control Methods

There are a number of ways of dealing with or controlling odour.

2.1 Sterilising/Disinfecting

Some suppliers will recommend sterilising or disinfection of the effected area. For small scale spills or incidents this may work. Such approaches often include a masking agent or heavy perfume/fragance to try and ‘coverup’ the bad smell.

2.2 Oxidation

This is a useful technique in some instances, where oxygen is added to hasten the breakdown of the odiferous compunds into something less offensive. Hydrogen peroxide H2O2 may be used, or straight Oxygen O2 in a pure gaseous or liquid oxygen state. The area may be ventilated with large air blowers, this will dilute the concentration of the offending compounds and assisit with the oxidation. Where the smell is from a tank or pond of water, aeration/mixing may also be used. Smellgone uses oxidation techniques in some of its odour control processes.

2.3 Filtration

In the same way that water can be filtered so can air. Air filtration commonly uses a combination of physical methods (trapping the offending compounds) and chemical processes to attract and bind-up the troublesome molecules. These methods do work but are generally only used as part of large scale industrial processes. You may see the term “Air Scrubbing” used to describe them.

2.4 Biological

Biological odour control methods use living organisms to treat the offending wastes. Municipal wastewater treatment works use physical, chemical and biological methods to treat the wastewater. They commonly use bacteria to breakdown the wastes into non-toxic, non smelling compounds.

The bacteria use the wastes as food, producing carbon dioxide, water and more helpful bacteria. This is the main method that Smellgone uses.

3.0 How do Smellgone Products Work?

The community of beneficial micro-organisms in Smellgone products work on the bad smells in two ways. Firstly the ‘good’ bugs rapidly consume the smelly compounds present and produce only more good bugs, carbon dioxide and water. Hence no smells!

Secondly, they out-compete the ‘bad’ bacteria for the ‘food’ so that no further bad smells are produced. Lastly a light lemon or lime fragrance is present in some of the spray preparations along with a low natural alcohol level from the concentrate preparation process.These have a mild initial oxidisng effect and may in some circumstances assist with lifting stains from surfaces.

If however the smelly compounds and ‘bad’ bacteria continue to be added, such as in a kennel, cattery, composting or wastewater treatmentsituation then a re-application of the Smellgone product will be needed. For larger installations a spray, dosing or misting program may be necessary on an ongoing basis. Please contact us for details.