Odor Elimination Methods: Pros and Cons

Published: 17th September 2009
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Most people know that no matter how clean you get your home, odor problems can sometimes persist. Odor-causing agents like food, mold, mildew and pet urine have a way of getting inside nooks and cracks, and down deep into carpet fibers and padding. Often, a stubborn odor dilemma can seem impossible to solve. Many methods seem to get rid of the odor, only to have it return days or weeks after treatment. So, what do you do if you have a major odor problem and you're at your wits end? Whether a foul smell is caused by pet urine, cigarette smoke, mold, mildew or bacteria, the best weapon against odor problems is a little knowledge.





When it comes to eliminating odors, there are many things you can try. Still, sometimes stubborn odors are powerful enough to persist no matter what you do.



Who Needs Odor Elimination?



Anyone who has a stubborn odor problem needs to know about the different types of odor control that are available. While some are effective for one type of odor, they may be completely useless against others. Some odor elimination methods can get rid of the odor, but may damage clothing, carpet or flooring surfaces. Before you try a trial-and-error approach, you should know a little about the pros and cons of some of the more common odor elimination tactics.



Benefits of Odor Controlling Methods



Candles



Using candles for odor control is a bit of a quick fix. Although, the scent of burning candles will do little to eliminate the source of an odor problem, they are helpful when impending visitors make time constraints an issue. Although, candles generally don't do much more than mask an unpleasant odor, there is one exception. In certain situations where newly varnished furniture puts off an unpleasant chemical odor, candles can be used to help eliminate the fumes. Since many types of furniture stains and varnishes take a long time to cure, candles can be used to burn up some of the fumes emitted into the air.



Air Fresheners



Many people also utilize air fresheners as a quick fix to their odor control, problems. These types of products are generally only effective at masking odor. However, if the source of the odor problem has been removed and the smell still lingers in the air, air fresheners can do a good job of getting rid of the leftover smell.



Vinegar



A mixture of vinegar and water is one of the most effective ways to permanently eliminate odors. Vinegar is highly-effective at neutralizing odor problems and is generally considered safer than many commercial odor elimination products. Vinegar can be used to neutralize pet urine in carpets. It is also effective at killing many kinds of mildew and mold.



Bleach





When most people think about odor control, bleach never pops into their mind. However, when the source of an odor problem is bacteria related, bleach does a good job of cleaning, disinfecting and essentially eliminating the foul smell. This makes bleach effective at cleaning surfaces like, the bottom of trash cans, litter boxes and certain sections of the refrigerator. Bleach also comes in handy in the bathroom where urine and dirty toilet water can create unbearable odors.



Commercial Products



Using commercial products to eliminate odors is a hit and miss proposition. Many people rave about certain products while others claim that they are ineffective. If you opt to go with a commercial product for you odor problems, your best bet is to use one that includes baking soda as an ingredient.



Risks or Negatives of Odor Controlling Methods



Candles



The obvious problem with candles is that they generally serve as only a masking agent for foul odors. Aside from the well-known 'candle in bathroom' trick, using candles for odor control will usually only provide a couple of hours of relief. Then there's the whole fire issue... use at your own risk.



Air Fresheners



Like candles, air fresheners are more of a temporary solution for odor control. There are some products that claim to be able to permanently eliminate odors, and, while they may be used to some level of success, more often than not, the odor tends to return.



Vinegar



There aren't many drawbacks to using vinegar for odor elimination. However, if there is one, it's that many people find the smell of vinegar offensive and don't like the idea of replacing one odor with another. If you dislike the smell of vinegar, but want to utilize it to control odors, you might use candles and air fresheners to mask the smell until it completely dissipates.



Bleach



For many, when it comes to odor control, bleach is the weapon of last resort. Aside from being extremely toxic, bleach is difficult to use because it tends to ruin carpet, clothing and even some tile surfaces. This limits its overall effectiveness against odor problems. However, when nothing else will do, bleach is usually 100 percent effective at eliminating an odor where other methods have failed. If bleach is used for odor elimination, it should be diluted. Mixing one ounce of bleach per gallon of water is generally a good ratio to go by.



Commercial Products



One major negative when it comes to using commercial odor control products is that they often tend to be comprised of harsh, toxic chemicals. If you view this as a concern, it's best that you always read the labels on these products thoroughly, to ensure you're getting what you expect.



When it comes to eliminating odors, there are many things you can try. Still, sometimes stubborn odors are powerful enough to persist no matter what you do. If all else fails, your best course of action is to hire a professional. They have the tools and experience to get the job done and most provide a guarantee for their work.





Ryan Lawrence is a writer for Yodle, a business directory and online advertising company. Find a contractor or more home care articles at Yodle Consumer Guide. Odor Elimination Methods: Pros and Cons



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