The third part of this three-part article looks at the limitations of gel-bead odor control jars.

As with any odor control product, it’s important for distributors to understand the environment in which a product is designed to perform at its best — as well as those environments in which a particular products shouldn’t be used. Distributors must consider what an end user is trying to accomplish by using this product, how effective it will be in a given facility, how much odor control coverage is needed and how often the odor control coverage will be needed.

In the case of gel-bead odor control jars, they are not ideal for use in public restrooms, partly because of their discreet size, says Smith.

“You can’t use these types of things in public restrooms, because it will be in there [for only a short amount of time] before somebody steals it,” he says.

Another reason commercial restrooms might not be a good spot for gel-bead odor control jars is because of the high-traffic nature of those areas.

“It may depend on how you dispense a product as to its effectiveness and whether or not you’ll have any reactions from the people around it,” says Smith. “You really have to take a look at what you’re trying to accomplish. You are not going to have a high enough level of fragrance [in commercial restrooms] to make a difference in most cases, because you’ve got a lot of cubic feet of air space to treat.”

When Rosenberg first encountered gel-bead odor control jars, she thought they were solely retail products. But as she has seen them in use, she has changed her stance.

“For day cares or schools where you’re afraid kids will get into it, it’s safe,” she says. “I think that’s the biggest selling point.”

Many big-box stores sell gel-bead odor control jars for the retail market but also for small offices, which add them on to office supply orders, according to manufacturers. Jan/san distributors should talk to their building service contractor customers to see if there is similar interest.

Like Smith, Rosenberg says distributors would do well to remember that although gel-bead odor control products can be effective, they aren’t a solution for all odor control situations. In fact, as most distributors know, the most effective form of odor control is to eliminate the source of the odor.

“I think everyone has some type of air freshener like this, but we always encourage customers that they can use all the products like this, but you still have to attack the source,” she says. “You have to find the source of the odor and attack it, because it’s always going to be there if you don’t. 

Jonathan DePaolis is a freelance writer based in Tinley Park, Illinois.