Tell me which of the following areas are “clean.” First, a restroom with a delightful rose scented first impression with an underlying urine odor. Second, a front hallway with a strong, musty odor just as the worker is vacuuming the carpet. Third, an office area with a strong mildew odor and obvious water stains in the ceiling. Fourth, a conference room with no noticeable odor, either good or bad.


Of course, the conference room is the one that at least smells clean even though I did not indicate whether trash was pulled, carpet vacuumed or table was free of dust. The room may still fail an inspection for other reasons but at least it doesn’t fail the “Nose Test.” As to the restroom, someone is simply using a poor masking agent in a vain attempt to hide the fact that the area is not being cleaned correctly. It may be a training issue or misuse of the available tools. Perhaps an enzyme-based cleaning product would be in order.


The front hallway with the musty odor indicates the need for the vacuum cleaner to be serviced. The bag, if there is one, may be full or has been sitting for some time. Another possibility is that the vacuum is stirring up built up dust in the carpet. Finally, the office area with a strong mildew odor with watermarks should set off alarm bells. If you can smell the mold and mildew there is a good possibility that the ceiling and walls are harboring a growing culture due to a current or past leak from the roof or a leaking pipe. This IAQ (Indoor Air Quality) issue should be dealt with promptly.


A trained nose can tell us a lot about an area and first impressions as to odors are important. 


Your comments and questions are important. I hope to hear from you soon. Until then, keep it clean…


Mickey Crowe has been involved in the industry for over 35 years. He is a trainer, speaker and consultant. You can reach Mickey at 678-314-2171 or