In this article, you'll learn...
• The 3 levels of odour control (Code green, orange and red)
1. What types of bad odours are the biggest problem for businesses and homes in Australia?
• The top 7 bad odours in Australia.
2. The 3 steps to eliminating any bad odour and how to stop the stink from coming back
• What are the different types of odour eliminators?
• What is the most powerful odour eliminator?
3. Frequently asked questions
• Do no-fragrance odour eliminators work?
• How can I get rid of the smell of pet urine on my carpet?
• How do I get rid of a bad smell in my sink drain?
• What are some ways to get rid of bad smells in my garbage bin?
• How do I get rid of bad odours after a flood?
• How to get rid of a smell in a room or apartment very quickly (in minutes)?
• How to keep a busy washroom facility smelling great every minute of the day?
• Does the colour of an odour eliminator matter?
• What are some natural ways to remove bad smells from my home?
• How to get rid of urine odours from a men's urinal?
• What words are best to describe a really bad smell?
Every time we do a survey, our customers rate bad smells as being one of their top 3 biggest cleaning challenges. If getting rid of nasty odours is a big deal for our customers, then it's a big deal for us. That's why at XO2, we've invested enormous amounts of R&D into the smelly sciences of odour control and elimination to develop solutions that really work (and are safe to use)!
If you have a bad smell you want to get rid of, by keeping these 3 levels of odour control in mind you'll find it much easier to choose a successful solution.
1. Odour maintenance (Code: Green). These are odour control solutions that keep odours away like automatic air freshener dispensers and urinal screens. Maintenance is all about keeping spaces smelling great all the time. Fragrance selection is very important for odour maintenance.
2. Odour problem solving (Code: Orange). This is where things have gotten out of control. Maintenance isn't working and it's time to look for an odour-elimination treatment. Urine, bin and drain smells are very common odours that need solving. Fragrance selection is not that important for difficult odour problem-solving, it's the formulation that matters.
3. Professional odour decontamination (Code: Red). When a bad odour is a symptom of a serious problem that can lead to health issues or risk of death you may need professional help or at least a professional decontamination product. This includes odours caused by mould, floods, sewage, vomit, bodily fluids etc. Fragrances are not needed for professional odour decontamination. In most cases, fragrance-free hypoallergenic products like Odour Kill Zero are preferred.
What level is your odour at? Green, orange or red?
Now, let's get into it.
What types of bad odours are the biggest problem for businesses and homes in Australia
1. Sewage and drain smells
The most offensive and potentially dangerous odour that people wish to get rid of is probably the sewage and drain smell. If left unattended, sewage odours can be a sign of a blocked drain or a plumbing issue and can also constitute a health risk.
2. Urine smells
Pet wee is frequently to blame for this type of odour, but human urine can also contribute if there is a plumbing issue or if the area is not being cleaned thoroughly.
3. Mouldy and musty odours
Mouldy odours are often a sign that you guessed it, mould is around. Mould exposure can lead to serious respiratory problems and other health issues. It's crucial to deal with the root cause of the mould ASAP and get rid of the odour.
4. Garbage or rubbish bin odours
Rubbish bin smells can be very unpleasant and often attract pests. This kind of putrid odour can be brought on by a buildup of organic material in the garbage. Garbage chutes and rubbish collection areas can also be a problem. Summertime is usually the worst time of year for these odours.
5. Pet smells
While the majority of people don't mind the smell of their own pets, the smell of other people's pets can be disagreeable. This can be particularly true in communal living areas.
6. Cooking odours
While not always "bad," cooking odours can become an issue if they last for a long time or are very potent. This is particularly true in multi-unit buildings where other residents may find the smell of cooking annoying or unpleasant. Things like curries can create persistent problem odours.
7. Chemical odours
Cleaning products, paint, new carpets, synthetic fragrances, new coatings and other smelly materials can all contribute to chemical odours. Inhaling certain scents could be dangerous and irritable.
The 3 steps to eliminating any bad odour and how to stop the stink from coming back
1. Find the source of the odour.
To remove the stinky odour, first, you must find the source of the smell.
It might sound silly, but get your detective nose on and start sniffing. Hunt it down. What stinks? Where is it coming from? Is it coming from a specific object or area? A rug, a piece of furniture, a bin, a bathroom? Why does it stink?
Spray and hope or, find the odour and treat it.
Even if you just randomly apply the world's best odour eliminator into the air and onto surrounding surfaces, any improvement may only be temporary if you can not identify and treat the source of the odour.
For example, you can spray the air with the most super amazing odour eliminator that smells incredible, but, if the smell is coming from a dead and decomposing rat somewhere out of sight, the smell will probably come back eventually. And sometimes, like in this case, cleaning will be the first thing you need to do.
Odours get absorbed into surfaces too.
Keep in mind that smells can also be absorbed into porous surfaces like timbers. Bad odours can literally penetrate into porous surfaces which means spraying the air is just not enough in extreme cases.
2. Clean and treat the source of the stink.
Make sure that the odour removal product makes contact with the source of the odour for the required time. If you don't make contact with the source, you will not remove the odour permanently.
No, not like this. Never like this.
What are the different types of odour eliminators?
1. Liquid odour control treatments
These liquid odour control treatments can include antimicrobials, enzymes, microbes (good bacteria like bacillus), disinfectants and fragrances. Liquid treatments can be applied by spray bottle, pump-up sprayer, foaming gun, mop, cloth or fogger.
Odour elimination granules are most commonly used in general waste garbage bins as well as specialty sanitary hygiene bins and nappy bins.
3. Automatic air sanitiser dispensers
This is a special automatic air freshener and sanitiser dispenser that is programmed to automatically spray a fine mist at certain intervals and times for consistent odour maintenance in busy places like washrooms, foyers and garbage rooms. This is a must for every facility.
4. Full-release odour fogger/bomb
Just shut down the smelly area, activate the can and get out! The can releases a super fine odour destroying dry fog. The fog travels into every crevice, crack and hidey hole. And it's fast. Great for the accommodation industry preparing smelly rooms for new guests that are about to arrive.
5. Impregnated plastic urinal screens
These advanced technology urinal screens are manufactured using a specially engineered copolymer that is impregnated with organic odour treatment and fragrance compounds. There are 30-45 day or 60-day release options. These impregnated plastics are also available in some passive odour control systems.
6. Bio-hazard absorbents
Super absorbent odour control powders like Suck It Up reduce your risks when cleaning up liquid spills and accidents including human and animal waste. It works lightning fast on contact with general purpose, bio-hazard and infectious waste liquid spills including… blood, urine, vomit, faeces, spoiled food and sewage. Bio-hazard absorbents are highly absorbent, eliminate odours, minimise exposure and risk of cross-infection, reduce the risk of slips, trips and falls, and are safe for the environment and any surfaces.
7. Air purifiers
Air purifiers can reduce a range of air contaminants, including some odours. The type of air purifier, the odour type, and the source of the odour can all affect how well an air purifier will work. An air purifier attempts to address the symptom—stinky air—and not always the underlying source of the smell issue.
8. Odour absorbers
These are most often made from porous materials that absorb and trap the molecules responsible for bad odours. Some odour absorbers also contain special chemistry to assist in breaking down and neutralising bad smells. There are a lot of different odour absorbers available including activated charcoal, baking soda, diatomaceous earth (DE), coffee grounds, zeolite, clay, oats, silica gel and more.
What didn't make the list
1. Carpet Deodoriser Powders (shake on and vacuum off style) are available from some suppliers but not recommended due to the respiratory issues some people experience. We think there are better safer options for odour control on carpets, upholstery and rugs.
2. Traditional pDCB Urinal Blocks are also not on our list because the active ingredient is suspected of causing cancer. Safe non-pDCB urinal blocks like Gee Wizz are available from some suppliers.
What is the most powerful odour eliminator?
Here's our review of the best odour control solutions in Australia...
Best All Round Odour Eliminator: Odour Kill
Best Drain & Sewage Odour Killer: Drain Relief
Best Urine Odour Remover: Pee Off
Best Odour Remover For Carpet: Odour Kill
Best Full Release Odour Eliminator Aerosol: Whoopin'
Best Extreme Odour Elimination Treatment: Oradicator
Best Bio-Hazard Odour Absorbent: Suck It Up
Best Bin Granule For Odour Removal: Sanifresh
Best Professional Air Freshener: Linga Longa
3. Stay in control.
Ok, so you've cleaned it up, and it's smell free. Hooray! But what if, like Freddy Kruger himself, it returns with a vengeance? To stop the stink, you must stay in control. This means having a cleaning routine that regularly tackles areas where smells build up, so you can stop it from coming back BEFORE it happens. Remember to stay on top of these stinky offenders!
Frequently asked questions
Do no-fragrance odour eliminators work?
Yes, and they are most often very effective. Professional odour control experts love fragrance-free, hypoallergenic odour eliminators that work well for 2 main reasons.
Firstly, a fragrance-free odour eliminator does not contain any scents or perfumes. This is a much better option for people who are sensitive to fragrances. No fragrance means less risk of irritation and allergic reactions. That's a good thing!
Secondly, fragrance often just temporarily covers bad smells. Then the smell comes back. By using a fragrance-free odour killer you will know for sure that the odour is gone because there are no scents to cover up or confuse the issue.
Our favourite hypoallergenic, fragrance-free odour eliminator is called Odour Kill Zero. The zero means there are no fragrances and no colour dyes added.
How can I get rid of the smell of pet urine on my carpet?
You can treat dog, cat and human urine odour all the same way. Here's how...
1. Remove as much of the urine as possible with a paper towel or absorbent wipe.
2. Apply a special odour remover like Pee Off undiluted and saturate the surface at the source of the odour or stain.
3. Allow the product to dwell on the surface. Leave, do not rinse off.
How do I get rid of a bad smell in my sink drain?
Drain odour treatment
1. Pour 200ml of Drain Relief into the drain twice weekly or until the problem is gone.
2. Leave, do not rinse off.
Grease trap odour treatment
1. Pour Drain Relief into the grease trap. For large restaurants, use 500ml daily. For small to medium-sized restaurants, use 300ml daily. *Approx. 50ml per 100L tank capacity.
2. Leave, do not rinse off.
Handy tips for treating drain odours
• Drains odours are best treated late at night or when they are least active.
• Drain Relief or a similar product must make physical contact with the source of the odour for it to work and be given at least 24-48 hours to work.
• If odours continue, follow-up treatments may be required to get on top of the problem.
• Do not mix with any other cleaning solutions. The treatment's effectiveness may diminish or be eliminated.
• Store the product with the lid tightly closed. In a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight.
• Test first to ensure the product and the method will not affect surfaces.
• Do not dilute with hot water. Dilute with water under 40°C.
What are some ways to get rid of bad smells in my garbage bin?
Heavy duty bin odour treatment
1. Apply Odour Kill undiluted and saturate the surface at the source of the odour or contamination.
2. Allow the product to dwell on the surface. Leave, do not rinse off.
*For dirty bins, pre-cleaning will assist the treatment's effectiveness.
**After initial treatment the surface can be maintained with a dilution of 1 part Odour Kill to 4 parts water (200ml/litre). For maintenance cleaning of floors, dilute at 1 part Odour Kill to 20 parts water (50ml/litre). Using a Carrot Top foaming gun is highly recommended for application.
• The bin odour treatment must make physical contact with the source of the odour for it to work.
• The odour eliminating treatment is best applied after cleaning. It should be left on the surface and not rinsed off. For pre-cleaning, do not use any sanitisers, disinfectants, antimicrobial, chlorine or peroxide based products unless all residue is removed.
• If odours continue, a second treatment may be required.
How do I get rid of bad odours after a flood?
1. Prepare and stay safe after a flood
Ensure the site is safe to enter and consider these 3 things...
- Biological hazards
- Structural and electrical hazards
- PPE: Always wear the appropriate personal protective equipment
2. If possible, begin the drying process
If not, go to step 3.
- Remove wet carpet, furniture and other objects.
- With a floor squeegee push the water away or use a wet & dry vacuum/ extraction machine to suck up the remaining water.
- Use a dehumidifier and air movers.
3. Clean the area
- Remove the big stuff (eg. furniture)
- Pre-wash the area if possible.
- Wash down and clean with cleaner and sanitiser like ProFoam.
4. Decontaminate surfaces and treat odours
- Use a hospital-grade antimicrobial like Disso to treat the surfaces.
- If mould is still a problem use destroy to treat the surfaces.
5. Continue the drying process and reapply the decontamination treatment as required.
How to get rid of a smell in a room or apartment very quickly (in minutes)?
For fast removal of extreme odours use the full-release Whoopin' odour treatment fogger/bomb. For professional cleaners and accommodation managers in hotels, motels, apartments, AirBNBs and holiday parks it's common for one guest to leave at 10am and a new guest to arrive at 2pm. That's less than 4 hours to remove any trace of bad odours for the new guest. A full-release odour fogger/bomb gives a guaranteed result.
How to keep a busy washroom facility smelling great every minute of the day?
Ensure the washroom has good ventilation and exhaust systems.
Clean the area regularly and use quality cleaning products that remove residues and prevent surfaces from resoiling.
3. Automatic air freshening and sanitising
Install a Magnifi-Scent automatic air freshener and sanitiser dispenser. Program the dispenser according to the amount of traffic and hours of use.
4. Urinal screens
Place Aussie Pearl urinal screens in the men's urinals as per instructions.
5. Feminine hygiene sanitary bins
Service sanitary bins more regularly and use a bin granule like Sanifresh. Weekly is best in the warmer months. You can do this service in-house and save lots of money.
Treat drains regularly with Pee Off or Drain Relief.
7. Toilet cisterns
Using Sweet Lu Blue in your toilet cisterns makes a huge difference in odour elimination. The refills last approximately 3 months and help make cleaning easier too.
Does the colour of an odour eliminator matter?
No. The colour does not matter. Odour eliminators can be any colour, blue, green, red, purple and even colourless (clear). What really matters is the formulation and active ingredients. That being said, many people prefer a clear or colourless odour eliminator with no dyes added because it's safer and less hazardous. In a professional hypoallergenic odour treatment like Odour Kill Zero, there are no colour dyes and no fragrances added.
What are some natural ways to remove bad smells from my home?
If your bad odours are not too severe and if you have time to try and test a few different things, going natural might be right for you. The key is to be patient and understand natural odour removal has its limitations. Here are some ideas...
1. Natural ventilation
Let fresh air circulate by opening windows and doors. Exhaust fans can also be helpful.
2. Regular cleaning
More regular and thorough cleaning reduces odours.
3. Use organic essential oils
Eucalyptus, peppermint and lemon essential oils are favourites for natural deodorising. An essential oil diffuser is a great way to disperse the oils into the air.
4. Indoor plants
Some plants that can be kept inside, including aloe vera, spider plants, Chinese evergreen, peace lily and Boston ferns, are said to have air-purifying properties.
5. Use a dehumidifier
Reducing high humidity levels can help to eliminate bad odours. Running an air conditioner on the right setting can also help reduce humidity indoors.
6. Try an air purifier
7. Use baking soda
It can be sprinkled onto surfaces to help absorb odours.
8. Use white vinegar
White vinegar is great for cleaning many surfaces. You can also put it in a bowl to help absorb odours in indoor spaces.
9. Try lemon juice
You can mist it into the air or put it in bowls around a room
10. Use activated charcoal
It's a natural odour absorber. Pop it into some bowls and place them around a smelly room.
11. Use coffee grounds
After coffee beans have been roasted, ground, and used to brew a coffee, what is leftover are coffee grounds. These work quite well especially in the kitchen for food smells. Place a bowl of coffee grounds in a bowl close to where the bad smell is.
12. Light a scented candle with natural wax.
A good place to start is XO2's mint and mandarin scented soy candle.
13. Mix and use your own natural odour remover.
There are 1,000's of natural odour remover recipes online. Just get on Google to find them. Don't have super high expectations with these homemade recipes. Sometimes they'll work and sometimes they won't. Here's a couple of famous recipes for you to try...
For an air spray... mixing water and a few drops (1-25 drops) of essential oils, such as lemon, lavender or tea tree, in a spray bottle. Mist the mixture into the air to help eliminate bad odors and freshen the space. Make sure you shake the bottle before you spray.
For surfaces.... In a spray bottle mix one tablespoon of baking soda, one cup of water and the juice of one small lemon. Spray and wipe down surfaces like benchtops and desks with a clean cloth. Shake well before use. For odour control, allow the solution to dwell on the surface for a few minutes before rinsing or wiping away.
Another one for surfaces... In a spray bottle mix 25 drops of essential oil and one cup of white vinegar. Shake well before use. Spray and wipe down surfaces like benchtops and desks with a clean cloth. For odour control, allow the solution to dwell on the surface for a few minutes before rinsing or wiping away.
For carpets... In a small container mix baking soda with a few drops of organic lavender or peppermint essential oil. You can 1-25 drops of essential oil per cup of baking soda. Then sprinkle the mixture onto your carpets focusing on the areas that smell the worst. Just let it sit there for a few hours before using a good vacuum cleaner to suck it all up.
For drains... In a small container mix equal parts of baking soda and white cleaning vinegar. Pour the mixture down the drain when it's not in use. Leave it to sit for a few hours then rinse with hot water.
How to get rid of urine odours from a men's urinal?
1. Spray or squirt a urine odour remover like Pee Off liberally onto the urinals, down the drains and on the surrounding surfaces including tile, grout, stainless and painted surfaces.
2. Leave to dry, or wipe off excess liquid with a cloth.
• To get the best out of Pee Off, don’t rinse it. Let the bacteria eat the bacteria :)
• Urinals, toilet bowls and urine-affected areas are best treated late at night or when they are least active.
• Pee Off must make physical contact with the source of the odour for it to work and be given time to work.
• If odours continue, follow-up treatments may be required to get on top of the problem.
• For really dirty areas, pre-cleaning will assist in the treatment's effectiveness. For pre-cleaning, do not use any sanitisers, disinfectants, antimicrobial, chlorine or peroxide-based products unless all residue is completely removed.
• Do not dilute with hot water. Dilute with water under 40°C.
What words are best to describe a very bad smell?
It's always interesting to listen to people describe their bad smells. There are lots of colourful words and language used. Here are some of our favourites... stink, smelly, malodour, stench, reek, rank, whiff, foul, pong, funk, fumes, putrid, odoriferous, frowsty, musty, nasty, sickly, scent and odour. What words do you use? Have we missed any?