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Combating Odors

Tips for Combating Common Household Odors

Summer is a time for vacations, barbecues, beaches, water sports and sun, but with that sunshine comes heat and humidity which can heighten malodors in homes and furnishings. To help combat summer odors, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most common sources of odors and tips for their removal.
 
One thing all odors have in common is they consist of gasses made of volatile compounds that evaporate into the air at room temperature. While odors are airborne, they always emanate from a source. The universal first step in fighting odors is source removal, but for clients with un-housebroken pets, this is easier said than done. Based on the types of odors you are experiencing, the IICRC recommends the following:

•    Pet odors: Pet odors are often caused by animal urine and fecal matter. People often underestimate pet odors by forgetting that they are cumulative. For this type of odor, the best process for removal is biological. Biological processes are based on genetically engineered bacteria that are activated with water prior to use. When applied to the carpet, the bacteria will produce enzymes which then digest the odors and staining, “eating” them away.
 
•    Microbial odors: These odors are often related to fungal amplification (mold growth) and are often the source of the “musty” smell found in basements. Permanent resolution requires removing moisture and can be as simple as installing a dehumidifier. In more serious situations, channeling water away from the foundation by modifying landscaping or adding French drains is also an option. For treatment of this type of odor and related staining, antimicrobial agents, which kill or inhibit the growth of microbes, is recommended.

•    Spilled gasoline: The best process for treating a small gasoline spill in the garage or a vehicle is source removal by ventilation, absorption and adsorption. To treat, place a fan where it will draw vapors out of the affected area and exhaust outside. Kitty litter can then be used to absorb (draw up) a liquid. After the vast majority of the odor is gone, strategically place a tray of activated charcoal adjacent to the spill where it will adsorb the remaining odor. Adsorption is a subtractive process because it removes the odor instead of adding something to it.

•     Skunk spray: To remove skunk spray odors, oxidation is recommended. By mixing one quart of three percent hydrogen peroxide, 1/4 cup of baking soda and one teaspoon of liquid soap, this solution will help break up the oils in the skunk’s spray, allowing for easier removal. The solution should be rinsed off with tap water.

For more information about how to become an IICRC Odor Control Technician or find a course near you, visit http://www.iicrc.org/education-certification/course-schedule/.




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