Understanding Odor Control

  • Methods and Mechanisms
    The sense of smell is our most basic. One of its important functions is to warn us of harmful situations or substances. The smell of smoke; of bad meat; of polluted water; all warn us of potential harm to ourselves. In these modern times we have other means of protecting our well being, so we strive to eliminate odors that are offensive, especially since the real dangers that may have been associated with them in past ages are now largely eliminated. The offensive odors we encounter now are more of a social nuisance, emitting from personal hygiene activities, waste activities, cooking, industrial activity, etc. The odors that result from these activities may involve ammonia, sulfides, mercaptans, amines, aldehydes, carboxylic acids, ketones, esters or other aromatic molecules.
  • Today’s environmental concerns demand effective products to eliminate undesirable odors. Smoking, cooking, pet ownership, mustiness, mildew and just plain living all add to the problem for professionals and consumers alike. A wide range of products has been developed through the years to help us avoid these foul odors. To understand these methods of odor control, it should be known that the human mechanism of odor perception consists of receptor sites, reactive enzymes and a complicated system of electrical impulses that send signals to the brain for odor identification and/or reaction by the body to harmful substances. Therefore, any system or chemical that can "interfere" with the normal processes in which we perceive and react to odors can be said to be within the category of odor control. Some of these are as follows.

    Odor Fatigue
    If a substance or chemical can "saturate" our sense of smell with a pleasant fragrance and therefore overpower our perception of a weaker malodor, then the foul odor is effectively eliminated, even though it is still present. Of course, when the saturating chemical dissipates, the malodor will return. In addition, over time we become accustomed to ever-present odors so the effect and our recognition of it is greatly reduced.

    Oder Blocking
    This involves the physical elimination of odor through mechanical means (i.e. filters, masks, HVAC systems, etc.). Also falling within this category would be chemicals that harm or dull the ability of the olfactory sense. (i.e. formaldehyde)

    Odor Compensation or Reodorization
    When a malodor is perceived along with a specifically designed complementary or odor-countering fragrance, the malodor will often become much less offensive as it blends with the pleasant aroma. For example, many fine perfumes include small amounts of animal-like aromas that are most offensive when smelled alone, but when artfully blended within the perfume they add much to the overall pleasantness of the fragrance.

    Odor Masking
    Most air fresheners would fall within this category. These are usually pleasant fragrances that establish a scent that overpowers the malodor and provide an inexpensive method of temporary odor control.

    Source Elimination
    By removing the source of the malodor, whether physically or by interrupting the process whereby the odors are created, we can solve the problem for the longer term. Bacteria that can create foul odors through normal decomposition processes would logically be targeted for odor control systems. Within this group would fall the following anti-microbial systems and chemicals

    • Quaternary Ammonium Compounds.
    • Alcohol (ethanol or isopropanol).
    • Pine derivative oils (Pine Sol for example).
    • Chemicals with a phenol grouping.
    • Enzyme-based products.
    • Others, including bleach and other oxidizing agents that can speed the decomposition process.

    Even with the above systems, a volatile component in the form of a suitable fragrance may be necessary to counter the airborne odors that continually will occur while the longer and slower processes take effect. These odor control systems obviously are limited in use for personal hygiene.

    Weak Bonding Attachments
    Examples would be ionic bonding, hydrogen bonding, bonding by van der Waals forces, polar bonds, etc.

    Oil Soluble Encapsulation and Adsorbents
    Examples here would include starch or dextrose encapsulation techniques usually associated with foods (i.e. spray drying), polymeric entrapment and adsorbing materials such as baking soda, etc.


    Ordenone Eliminates Malodors Forever
    works on "contact" to entrap malodor molecules. This unique product material "surrounds" malodor molecules such as mercaptans, sulfides, amines and certain aldehydes to permanently encapsulate them within the ORDENONE structure.

    ORDENONE can be added to a fragrance as part of a deodorizing product. There is no blocking of fragrances that are so important to a product’s success.

    ORDENONE can also be formulated into a product to selectively deodorize undesirable base odors, such as an amine or protein, for example.

    With ORDENONE the process of odor elimination occurs immediately upon contact with offensive odor molecules.

    ORDENONE must contact the malodor to be effective. The method of application and deployment is very important.

    ORDENONE is available in both water-soluble and oil-based versions.

    ORDENONE has no effect on the normal bacterial processes of the skin. Toxicity testing of water-soluble ORDENONE showed it safe to use in all products, including personal care products, at effective levels of .05% - 4.00%.

    ORDENONE is being used successfully by leading manufacturers in a wide variety of household, institutional and personal care products. Belle-Aire can provide you formulation ideas, technical assistance, and recommend effective use levels.