Odours and How to Deal With Them

Odours or as we like to say in West Cork “smells” occur in most domestic and commercial settings. The most common sources of odours are:

  • Smoke
  • Food and beverages that have spilled and seeped into the carpet
  • Urine
  • Mold and mildew

Other source of odours are vomit and other bodily fluids. While these can be cleaned up visibly, considerable amounts are likely to soak into carpet fibres. In time, this will certainly cause odours.

Odours are not only unpleasant, they can be unhealthy. The most common complaints [when odours are present] are eye, nose, and throat irritation; headache; nausea; hoarseness; sore throat; cough; chest tightness; nasal congestion; palpitations; shortness of breath; drowsiness; and mood changes. Usually, these symptoms decrease after the odour is dealt with.

There are several ways to eliminate carpet odours, and they all involve using the proper cleaning chemicals and detergents along with the four key elements of all cleaning: heat, chemical, agitation, and time. Some of the chemicals/detergents available to remove odours include:

• Acid neutralizers. These chemicals are especially effective for treating urine odours. They absorb dry urine so that it can be removed from the carpet using a hot-water extractor.

• Oxidizers. When mixed with the hot water generated by a carpet extractor, these chemicals form peroxide compounds. The oxidizing effect that results decomposes odour-causing bacteria, which are then removed via carpet extraction.

• Bio-enzymatic cleaners. These contain “good” bacteria that essentially eat odour-causing bacteria. In most cases, they can be applied to carpets in the same manner as other cleaning chemicals/detergents.

All of these techniques should be performed using a hot-water extractor. Hot-water extractors, as the name implies, heat the cleaning solution and heat, the first essential element of all cleaning, improves the effectiveness of chemicals and helps to loosen and remove odour-causing contaminants. Experts recommend equipment that heats the solution to 212 degrees (F) at the wand tip.

Agitation is created using the extractor’s wand over the carpet. The time element refers to giving the chemicals a sufficient amount of time to work effectively, often referred to as “dwell time.”

When Problems Persist

If problems persist, it is sometimes necessary to repeat the cleaning process. Some odour-causing bacteria can become so embedded in carpet fibers that a second cleaning is required to effectively remove them.

If an odour problem remains after a second cleaning, try an ozone generator, which essentially kills odours and is safe as long as it is used properly. All living things—even plants—must be removed from the area where the ozone generator is being used.This is particualrily effective in the case of smoke damage.

If problems continue to persist, the carpet and the underlay probably need to be removed and discarded. Once the carpeting has been removed, be sure to thoroughly clean the hard-surface floor below before installing new carpeting just in case the odour-causing contaminants have seeped down to the floor.

Call us at West Cork Cleaning and we’ll be able to help you.





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