Tag Archives: smell

No germs were killed in the use of this air freshener

Woman surgeon
Mis-diagnosis: fragrances only mask the underlying condition – live germs at work

Mmmm, spring meadow.

Smells nice.

Except, why are you using an air freshener? Is something “off” in your home?

Your nose knows

A pong you can’t get rid of maybe.

Mould, or damp, or a drifting stink from the loo.

All signs of germs at work. Viruses and bacteria in your home.

That’s how you know they’re there – and how you know they’re at work.

They smell.

Blitz them with an air freshener and you’re only hiding them. Masking them, so you forget they’re there. Fooling your nose into thinking you’re safe.

Because that’s what you want to be, isn’t it? Safe from germs?

Which air fresheners won’t achieve for you – with very few exceptions.

Just an illusion

Because unless it specifically says on the label that the stuff kills germs, all it will do is smell up the place with a stronger alternative. Pine, lavender, or all kinds of fruit.

And you don’t want to know what goes into an air freshener to make it do that.

Not if it has to out-pong the fermenting or putrefying stench of bacteria at work.

Truth is, you’re not safe from germs at all – and possibly exposed to even bigger hazards.

A typical cocktail might include formaldehyde, a recognised carcinogen. Petroleum distillates such as butane and propane. Even phenol, a skin and nervous system irritant.

Investigate further and you’ll find ethanol, a nervous system depressant with psychoactive effects. Methylformamide, a known cause of system toxicity or cancer, which messes up reproductive organs. Or butanoic acid, for neurotoxicity, endocrine disruption and further organ breakdown.

Want more?

Hidden hazards

Across the 225 million aerosols, plug-ins, gels, candles and incense sticks that we use every year, anything up to 3,000 synthetic chemical ingredients could be in play – all geared to out-bigging smells, not killing germs.

Which is what you’re left with when the stuff wears off.

The same germs are still there.

But you’re right to think of an air freshener. Something that gets at everything that surrounds us.

Bleach or other disinfectants only get at surfaces and floors.

Reality is that 80% of the space we live in is the untouched air surrounding them. And what about the walls and ceilings? The gaps behind and under furniture? Or the cracks in between where your scourer can’t reach?

Time to look at a Hypersteriliser.

To kill germs and make smells go, it’s the only thing.

And it’s so dead easy, all you do is press a button.

Effective hygiene asset

OK, it’s not like a bottle you pick up at the supermarket. It’s wheelie-bin sized investment in home hygiene. Offices too – schools, shops, restaurants, hotels. As essential to everyday living as a vacuum cleaner or a washing machine.

Shut all the windows and doors – and it generates a fine plasma mist of hydrogen peroxide, electrostatically charged to grab viruses and bacteria out of the air, oxidising them to oblivion.

ALL of them. The bad ones you’ve read about: salmonella, e. coli, H1N1 flu virus, clostridium difficile, norovirus, or MRSA. Even horror-killers, like Ebola.

You know it works, because the smells are gone. No more germs.

And it’s safe, because all that’s left decomposes to oxygen and water.

Too fine to affect electrical connections or computer keyboards – which evaporates to nothing before it touches anything.

Your choice.

Heady lavender and the suspicion that you could all catch flu anyway.

Or neutral nothing, no smells at all – knowing you’re safe and all germs are gone completely.

Originally posted 2015-09-03 13:15:07.

It’s not the smell that makes you sick – it’s the germs

Class of school children
Heroes are people who make germs go away, like our teacher

It started out as Coronation Chicken on a crispy baguette – big enough to stop the most ravenous appetite with some left over.

It was the left-over that was the problem.

When the builders finished at the school, the summer holidays had three-and-a-half weeks left to run.

Three-and-a-half weeks with no air conditioning and ventilation. By which time the classroom for 4CH was decidedly ripe.

Opening the windows sort of fixed it. But of course the school had to be locked up at night. Air fresheners didn’t crack it either. A few seconds of lavender, then back to the yuck.

Allan Armstrong was the caretaker. He’d been there for yonks and knew just what was needed. A good swab out with a hefty dose of bleach would sort it, no problem.

Unfortunately, it made it worse. The smell was so strong it made the kids’ eyes run. Christa Holmfirth, their teacher, went further and burst into tears.

The classroom had to be abandoned, displacing them all to the assembly hall – unwanted, unloved and shoved to one side.

But tears or not, Christa was no helpless female.

Determined, she braved the classroom during her lunch break and tracked the smell down to the new panelling under the windows.

The heck with asking for permission, she kicked it in with her shoe, snapping the heel in the process – and there was this crinkled packet, half-covered with green gunge.

Smell was one thing, but what kind of GERMS were her children going to come down with? The thing must be crawling with bacteria.

She took it out at arm’s length and marched it to the wheelie-bin behind the school kitchen.

Her colleagues complained that she was stinking the place out.

Then they looked at her face. Whatever they said, Christa was taking no prisoners. And they shrank visibly when she pulled the aerosol out of her handbag.

She showed them the label. Total release fogger – kills germs in seconds. Clobbering the smell did nothing, so she was going to sterilise the whole room.

Fighting her nausea, she went back to the classroom and shut all the windows. She put the aerosol on a desk in the middle, pressed the button and actually ran for the door as if the smell we attacking her.

It took five minutes for the sick feeling to die down. By that time, as she saw through the glass panel, the room looked like a sauna gone wrong, everything ghostly in a cloud of mist.

Her big mistake was telling the kids about it, they wanted to see too. Well, you try telling thirty excited kids with no home that their classroom is full of fog. They were kids and curious.

Curious, but not brave enough to go in. Which was probably just as well.

Christa’s aerosol was based on ammonium chloride, a lighter than air mist which killed germs by oxidising them – ripping them apart by shoving oxygen atoms at them. Lower powered than the super-oxidiser, hydrogen peroxide, but it did the business.Handy in an aerosol too.

Not harmful, but not a good idea to breathe in either.

Twenty minutes later, the room was clear – and the other teachers were complaining about the noise in the passage. Christa went first and opened all the windows wide.

“Oooh!” They all stood there sniffing.

Christa was in tears again. Because the smell was gone. No stink, no germs, her kids were safe.

Which made the waterworks start Big Time. Difficult to resist when a bunch of eight-year-olds suddenly burst out clapping.

Miss Holmfirth, their heroine. The most popular Year Four teacher in UK.

Originally posted 2014-09-04 13:01:27.

You can tell from the smell

Splash
Looks bad, smells worse, full of germs

The worst is spilt milk.

One of those cardboard cartons, crushed open in the boot by the sharp edge of other shopping. Dripping everywhere. Soaking into the carpet, the boot lining, right through to the NVH material underneath because you got stuck two hours in a jam.

Ew. Not just the mess, the smell. Especially in summer. You’ll never get rid of it, even if you scrub with carbolic.

And it’s not just the smell either. Mould, bacteria, nasties growing in there that could make you very ill. You wouldn’t be the first to trade in your car for it.

It’s not all that unusual either. Imagine how often it happens with delivery trucks and courtesy vans  – the supermarket drop-off that delivers to your door.

A bit more difficult there. Time is money, so those vehicles are on the road all the time. And if you’ve ever poked your nose in one delivering next door, some of them really pong!

You can’t see the germs that make the smell, but your nose tells you they’re there.

But don’t forget about the others you can’t see – the ones with no smell. Like, how would you recognise norovirus, or salmonella, or campylobacter without a microscope?

OK, you might try a deodoriser – spray it up good with a pleasant smell. Not really a good idea because it just masks what’s underneath. You’re still exposed, you could still get ill.

Unless of course, you actually sterilise.

You can do that you know. Mist up your car with a germ-killing oxidiser.  A bit pricey at around  a tenner, but easy and effortless in an aerosol.

It’ll stop the smell and nail the bacteria too. Though you’ll have to keep doing it. It kills the germs in the air and on all the surfaces – but not the yucky stuff that impregnated deep down. Only replacing the fabric can fix that.

So what about the delivery vehicles?

It’s not good. Most of the time they just get hosed out. Which leaves damp, dark interiors – exactly what viruses and bacteria like to breed.

Though that too can be fixed by sterilising. It takes around twenty minutes for a mist-spray of hydrogen peroxide to work. Bye-bye smells and the inside is completely sterile.

Exactly the sort of thing you’d expect an upmarket supermarket to do. To their local drop-off vehicles and their hulking great pantechnicons too.

If they’re not, maybe you should insist. They already spend money making them look clean on the road – upholding the corporate image, you know.

So what’s a few pence and a couple of minutes on top. Especially when the driver’s sleeping – they’re not delivering then, are they?

And they’re already charging premium prices, so you’re pretty well paying for it.

Not to get rid of the pong either, though that helps. But to be sure there’s never any germs in anything you buy and eat.

That’s work a little extra, isn’t it?

Originally posted 2014-08-05 17:35:29.

Yes, total room sterilising can always be safe

Positive doctors
No germs, no smells, no headaches, no problem!

Yes, be safe.

Because this is one of those “not any more” stories.

Not any more the nasties, not any more the miseries.

Because not so long ago, getting rid of germs was more like getting rid of you.

No more schlep

It took hard scrubbing to get the place clean. With stuff so strong it took the top of your head off. Your eyes ran. You coughed and sneezed. Plus your back ached, your fingers were rubbed raw, exactly as if the germs had got you.

Yeah, well that’s what slaving away with bleach will do. And the place always smells terrible afterwards. Headaches, itchy skin – we’ve all been there.

OK, so the wise guys decided to fog the place up. You still had to scrub, but the germ-killer was spread through the air, hopefully reaching everywhere – especially all those hidey-holes no-one could reach.

Trouble was, that stuff was potent too. Toxic de luxe.

Doing your head in

Have you ever smelt aerosolised formaldehyde? Or those quaternary ammonium compounds? Which is why the CDC recommend not to use them.

Not just yuck. You’d die too, if you were a germ.

Except they don’t, do they? Germs, that is. Not in serious enough numbers at least. The place just stinks and there’s still the risk of infection. But that was back then.

Next thing they tried was ethylene oxide – EtO to the initiated. It killed germs better but was way too potent. A bit too toxic too. Still made you think your head was going to burst.

Hi, hydrogen peroxide

Then somebody had a brainwave and chose hydrogen peroxide – high powered, a known oxidiser, decomposed to just oxygen and water afterwards – what was not to like?

Too watery was the first part. It needed special dryers to get rid of the damp. Which made it dodgy with electrical stuff and computers. Short circuits and things. Risky.

Still too strong was the second part. Sure you can buy hydrogen peroxide at the chemist in a 3% solution. Safe to use at home. But way too weak to spray into the air and clobber nasties like clostridium difficile or MRSA. To do that, you had to rack it way up – 32% and even higher.

Back to the watering eyes and sore throat. And a bit more than that.

Did we mention strong oxidising properties? Because at 32% it’s a bit iffy – strong enough to eat plastic and chew certain metals, a bit too enthusiastic on all kinds of surfaces – especially with repeat treatments.

Ah, but that’s vaporised hydrogen peroxide. Mixed with water and sprayed as thin as possible. That’s why the 32%. Spread out into little tiny droplets it needs all that oomph to be sure of clobbering the germs. And it certainly does that – all viruses and bacteria are oxidised to nothing.

Except 32% is way too hazardous for general use. It needs specially trained staff, work areas have to be evacuated, and everybody needs to wear protective clothing.

Hello, ionised alternative

The revolution is ionised hydrogen peroxide. A safe process that makes it way more effective. And allows it to be milder – only a 6% solution instead of 32%, same as you can buy in Boots for doing your hair. Remember peroxide blondes?

There’s two ways to ionise the stuff – heat or electricity.

Heat is preferred because it is cheaper. All them hydrogen peroxide atoms get hot under the collar until they develop a charge, usually negative – which makes them reach out and grab at pathogens, usually positively charged, like iron filings to a magnet.

Electricity is the clever alternative – and it also means low temperature operation, no risk of melting anything the stuff come in contact with.

At the sprayer nozzle a great fat electric arc charges the parting atoms, forcing them to spread apart from each other because like charges repel. This means the hydrogen peroxide actively spreads itself out and away, reaching deep into cracks and crevices trying to escape from itself. Positively forced dispersal unlike of the vaporised stuff, which just billows like steam.

This spreadability means the droplets can be smaller, finer and ride the air better – especially with the lighter load of the 6% solution. Drier too. No moisture to mess up keyboards or cabling. And of course, too mild to attack surfaces, even sensitive ones.

No compromise on performance though. Ionising physically changes the state of the hydrogen peroxide from a gaseous vapour to a plasma – a charged gas. The effect is like hitting the turbo button. Even more antimicrobials are suddenly produced – hydroxyl radicals, reactive oxygen species, reactive nitrogen species, super-oxidising ozone and ultraviolet – all of them potent germ-busters. 6% running on steroids.

Souped up performance

A word of caution though. Yes, it’s safe. But this IS hydrogen peroxide and it IS potent, unless you’re wearing protection, stay away. Hoicked up with radicals and stuff, its oxidising strength is way more than the 32% version.

OK, so ionised hydrogen peroxide spreads better, uses a weaker solution, kills germs more effectively, is drier and gentler to surfaces, and still becomes harmless after action, reverting back to just oxygen and water – so little water that it evaporates before it touches anything.

Easy, huh?

And push button simple with a Hypersteriliser. Just wheel the thing in, connect to power, press the button, and get out of Dodge. Allow forty odd minutes for the average-sized room  and the place is totally sterile – Log 6 kill to be precise, 99.9999% of germs utterly gone.

So now you’re safe. From germs, from nasty smells, from carry-over effects.

Totally sterile, yeah!

Picture Copyright: justmeyo / 123RF Stock Photo