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Removing Workplace Odor for Cleanliness

Posted by Adon Rigg

4 Minute Read


‘Cleanliness is next to godliness’, so goes the quote by Gandhi, however, in our busy, modern world we may have a more practical need for cleanliness. Malodor in a building or workplace results from unclean surfaces, which very likely come from bacteria that is left to spread due to inefficient cleaning procedures. Unpleasant odor throughout a space visited by customers can cost your organization sales, loyalty and profits.

Masking odor with air fresheners may provide temporary relief, however, is inefficient in the long term to remove odor. Furthermore, if the germs are not specifically eliminated and bacteria are left to multiply, the result will likely be a spread of illness and disease to your staff and customers. Traditional approaches to cleaning, although well-intentioned, may be insufficient to control odor. For example, traditional mop and buckets may simply spread harmful bacteria as every time the mop is dipped into the bucket the germs are spread back onto the floor or into the environment.

It is therefore important to explore additional avenues of cleaning to provide a clean, healthy environment. We prefer to use environmentally friendly cleaning products whenever possible. There is sometimes a perception that environmentally friendly cleaning products are not as efficient as traditional cleaning products, however, with innovative, new solutions and technologies this is usually not the case. In fact, traditional cleaning products may cause allergic reactions or induce breathing related illnesses in staff and customers, which environmentally friendly products often will not.

Where Odor Collects

Foul smells can be found throughout a building, however, there are certain areas which generally attract more bacteria, resulting in a much higher likelihood of malodor.


In restrooms or break areas odor can emanate from drains, sinks or other spaces where bodies of water are found. In this case, the odor may actually be coming from the trap below the drain where debris such as food particles and hair may have collected. This can be eliminated by the use of liquid cleaners poured slowly down the drain. It is important to also clean drains which are not used as frequently as stagnant water can be a breeding ground for bacteria. Plus, ensure to check for dripping or leaking pipes and taps regularly as they may also be a source of water pooling and malodor. If you are already employing these cleaning methods and your drain continues to smell it is a good idea to ensure that your trap is not malfunctioning.

Floor Grout

Grout is difficult to clean due to its porous nature. Mold, mildew, bacteria and other substances can easily soak into the floor causing the grout to smell foul. The grout between bathroom tiles can be a terrible source of bacteria build up due to the continuous spread of urine via foot traffic that builds up over time. There are a number of solutions to odor caused by grout including; spray and vac systems or cylindrical brushes combined with a suitable cleaning agent. It is important to follow up with a sufficient sealer to prevent further bacteria collecting in the grout.


Walls may seem like an obvious area to clean, however, it is surprising how many organizations fail to keep walls in an acceptably clean state. This can easily result in harmful bacteria and foul odor. Wall areas with a tiled surface are especially important to keep clean as they also contain grout, resulting in similar bacteria build up as floors. For untiled areas it may be sufficient to simply wipe the area clean with suitable cleaning product. When cleaning tiled areas, one should apply an acid based cleaner, allow for it to sink into the grout, scrub the surface and wash away. As with the floor grout, it is important that the cleaning is followed up with a sufficient sealing agent.

Contact us if you'd like to learn more about our products to help clean your odor causing problem areas. 

Complementary Measures


Although airflow alone will not be enough to remove odor it will help to keep foul smell at bay between cleans. Ventilation fans may be required in your company’s bathroom or staff room. There are a range of fans available on the market which may be suitable depending on your organization’s size and budget.

Air Fresheners

Similar to ventilation, air fresheners are not sufficient at removing the odor itself however, they are helpful to keep the air smelling pleasant between cleans. Wall mounted, timed-release air freshener is an excellent option for most areas of most organizations. Scent can be changed to suit different areas and departments, and can complement your cleaning routine well.

It is important that any new cleaning routine be communicated well to cleaning staff and effected organizational staff. Always ensure sufficient training in new procedures or the use of new products be provided.

Keeping your company clean and odorless will result in an improvement in health of your staff and customers which promotes a happy, profitable workplace.


Topics: odor control, indoor air quality, odor elimination, odor masking

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