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Katie Edwards, R&D Scientist at Genesis Biosciences, explores the causes of malodour and offers her thoughts on why biological odour neutralisers offer a better alternative to their chemical counterparts, and why contractors should take note.

A clean smelling room doesn’t necessarily equal a clean room and while end users might be fooled by a fresh smell within washrooms and facility areas, it’s vital that contractors tackle the root cause of malodour to prevent illness.

Cutting corners Malodour is caused by ‘bad’ bacteria that grow on hard surfaces and waste, like toilet basins or in sanitary waste bins. These bacteria will break down any soiling present and release malodourous compounds.

To tackle malodour, some businesses take shortcuts in public areas and use ‘odour maskers’ to hide the bad smells within washrooms and sanitary bins; however, these products don’t tackle the problem at source. That’s because odour masking products don’t continue to work after application. The perfume hides the bad smell initially, but the bacteria present will continue to multiply, meaning harmful bacteria, including E.coli, can continue to thrive and malodour continues to build.

Contractors should know that there are products out there that can increase cleaning efficiency, reduce costs and labour while also being environmentally responsible.

What are biological odour neutralisers? A biological odour neutraliser differs from its chemical counterpart because it contains beneficial bacteria,


often in spore form, which supports the cleaning action the product is trying to fulfil. These beneficial bacteria grow and naturally compete with and can overtake the harmful bacteria as well as breaking down malodour causing compounds.

The use of beneficial bacteria rather than enzymes alone is key and helps to differentiate between a number of ‘bio’ cleaning products on the market. Enzymes, although effective initially, only provide a benefit to the product during the initial application, in this respect they work in a similar manner to the surfactants contained within chemical cleaning products.

Enzymes also have safety concerns, as they are can cause allergic reactions and furthermore are not always specific to the malodourous compounds present. Bacteria, however, provide a very distinct advantage in that they continually produce specific enzymes right where they are needed, to break down the targeted malodour causing compounds.

The energy created through this process allows the beneficial bacteria to thrive in the area of application; this competition can reduce the number of harmful bacteria and ensures that the biological product continues to work on breaking down soiling for longer periods of time. This is fundamentally what gives them long-term cleaning efficacy.

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