Questionnaire. 3d vector

Helping end user customers get rid of bad odors can prove challenging because, as outlined, foul smells can come from many different sources, says Sims. 

“In order to mitigate or eliminate them, there needs to be a proper solution that’s applied consistently,” he explains. “What often gets in the way is a lack of understanding about what products or methods should be utilized. For instance, degreasers are effective for removing soils, but are not optimal odor neutralizers, so knowing the difference is important. There’s also confusion on using air-freshening versus odor-neutralizing products. Scenting is effective if that is the strategy, but making a hotel lobby smell favorable is far different than seeking to scent a smelly locker room.” 

Sims says they take a multi-faceted approach with customers, utilizing a variety of products and technologies. Some of the tools in their arsenal include water-soluble surface sprays that, upon contact, act to neutralize and capsulate foul odors; diffusion technology that will spread out within multi-sized environments, combating vaporous malodor molecules; enzymatic concentrates or foams that consume odor-causing bacteria that can linger on various surfaces; and ozonation, appropriate for those environments where odors have been left unaddressed long enough that they’ve been absorbed into surfaces and materials/fabrics. 

For drains, Nolan advises using bioaugmentation products. These contain various forms of “good” bacteria that release enzymes to naturally disintegrate organic matter, turning this into water and carbon dioxide (CO2).    

“These are called bio enzymatic microbes; they essentially break down and digest the soil in drains, eliminating the source and the odor altogether,” he explains. “The best part is that they continue to work as long as there is a food source. Persistent use eliminates the potential for periodic odor encounters.” 

Other odor-busting tools he recommends to customers include applying alkaline cleaners that also have sanitizing/disinfecting properties. Such products can be used to clean and kill odor-causing microbes. They will also emulsify fats, oils and grease that can add “fuel to odor sources,” Nolan adds.   

Also evaluate the hands-on tools cleaning staff are using, suggests Pawlak. If all they have at their disposal are dirty mops and foul-smelling buckets, then effectively addressing or preventing foul odors will prove difficult despite their best efforts. 

She favors using a double-bucket system since this helps to minimize cross-contamination and reduces soil load more than a single bucket, she explains. The mop should be microfiber, flat to the floor and reusable/washable. 

Establishing both a daily and a restorative schedule for deeper cleaning, such as tackling grout, or cleaning vents, and so on is essential, says Pawlak. How frequently this is needed depends on the facility and the soil load, she adds. There should also be checklists, tasks should be specifically assigned, and someone should be designated to oversee the work for every shift where cleaning happens.  

Every facility has its own “unique challenges,” making it imperative that jan/san distributors tailor the programs, processes and products to the specific needs of end users and the staff, says Nolan, who also advises establishing a SSOP (Sanitation Standard Operating Procedure) and a schedule to help direct daily cleaning applications and treatments. 

Taking a deliberate approach can prevent a situation where haphazard cleaning practices or ineffective products are used — a problem Sims says he often encounters. 

“In my 25 years in the industry, nothing combats odors more than proper cleaning and sanitation of environments, coupled with consistent removal of the physical source of any odor-causing material,” he says.  

“Our experience is that many cleaning team members are effective at cleaning and not nearly as educated on odor control,” Sims continues. “We have seen that providing products, equipment and education on odor neutralizing strategies makes a big impact. Jan/san providers who don’t specialize in odor control should seek external consult to learn the best, most effective and environmentally favorable offerings available.” 

Pamela Mills-Senn is a freelance writer from Long Beach, California. She is a frequent contributor to Sanitary Maintenance.  

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How Distributors Can Assist with Foodservice Odors