2017 VDTA Convention


Clean Like a Pro:
How to Conquer Bad Odors Permanently

By Dale Silbaugh, KLEENCO

Humans are remarkably sensitive to odors. Smell the scent of some chalk, and instantly you’re transported back to that old school classroom. Just a whiff of charcoal and suddenly the whole neighborhood knows about your barbecue. Odors descend upon us, and we can’t help but be carried along.

Our sensitive noses are always at work. According to a German study presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Otolaryngology, odors affect us even while we’re sleeping. Participants in the study reported more pleasant dreams when exposed to a good smell (that of roses), but when a foul smell was introduced (rotten eggs), they reported more displeasing ones. So in addition to being highly sensitive to odors, we also can’t get away from them.

People like to keep their homes clean. They take out the trash, they vacuum regularly, they buy chemicals to clean their bathrooms and kitchens, and periodically they shampoo their carpets. But when it comes to odors, most homes have one Achilles heel... PETS

Yes, they’re certainly cute, but our cats and dogs are also a primary source of unpleasant odors. After all, animals don’t always abide by our rules for cleanliness. If they get sick, they don’t think to rush to the bath-room. Some pets will also use odors strategically to mark their territory.

And, as the table above shows, whether you’re a cat or a dog person, you’ve most likely got at least one in your home. That means most people have a potential source of very problematic odors.

And just as pets don’t abide by human preferences for cleanliness, they also don’t abide by our timetables. Company coming over? Your pet does not have its calendar marked. Party on Friday? Just another day to your cat. Tired after a long day at work? Your dog might have missed you, but it might have also missed that pee pad.

Questions of how to eliminate pet urine odors are ranked in the top ten questions asked by pet owners to veterinarians. People need to get rid of unpleasant odors, they want to get rid of them now and they want to be sure that they’re gone. So what’s a pet owner to do?

Perhaps a desperate pet owner, plagued by the odors caused by their otherwise loveable companion, makes a bee-line to the pet store. Reasonable enough. There, they may be directed to an enzyme-based deodorizer. Ah, salvation at last. Or is it? Actually, enzyme-based deodorizers have a variety of drawbacks that can lead to unpleasant surprises.

But first, in order to effectively combat unpleasant odors (technically called “malodors”), we need to know what they are, how they function, and most important, how they can be eliminated permanently.

As we’ve already mentioned, the human nose is always at work, and the process is called olfaction. Olfaction is the course whereby molecules AKA odorants enter the nasal cavity and bind to one of the hundreds of different types of olfactory receptors. Most odorants are large molecules (greater than 20 atoms). They have a wide variety of molecular conformations, and each receptor binds only to certain chemical features of the odor molecule.

Once the molecule has been captured by an olfactory receptor(s), information on that molecule can be processed and interpreted. It is this interpretation that we perceive as an odor.

For an odor to be perceived, a few things are required.

  • It must be sufficiently volatile to get into a gas phase.
  • It must reach the olfactory receptor in the nasal cavity.
  • The molecule must have a hydrophilic as well as a hydrophobic character.

Some odors are more strongly perceived than others. For example, lilacs and gardenias are noted for their strong, unique scent, but other flowers like sunflowers and dahlias hardly have any scent at all. The relative strength of an odor can be quantified and the resulting measurement is called its nasal impact factor, or N.I.F. NIFs range from a low of zero to a high of one hundred.

There are thousands of different odor molecules. Some are pleasant, some benign, and some malodorous. This article will concentrate on those odors associated with pets, because pet odors are especially tenacious and many people struggle to eliminate them.

When it comes to pet odors, there’s one that has an especially stinky reputation: urine. More specifically, cat urine. According to the ASPCA, the most common behavior problem reported by owners of cats is inappropriate elimination. One reason cat urine is more malodours than other pets is that cats typically produce more highly concentrated urine. And with cats fed a dry food diet, the odor is even stronger.

Urine is chemically complex, involving many different types of molecules. Some of the components are nitrogenous waste compounds…or trace amounts of enzymes, hormones, fatty acids, pigments, or inorganic ions such as: sodium (Na+), potassium (K+), chloride (Cl-), magnesium (Mg2+), calcium (Ca2+), ammonium (NH4+), sulfates (SO42-), and phosphates (e.g., PO43-).

The nitrogenous waste of urea is odorless, but can quickly be broken down into other nitrogen-containing compounds, such as ammonia and trimethylamine. Ammonia has a pungent smell. Trimethylamine is most notably the molecule responsible for the smell of decaying fish. These compounds are continuously created as urea breaks down. That is why stale urine smells so much worse than fresh urine. When a cat urinates, enzymes in the urine immediately start the process of creating odors.

In short, the uniquely feline-urine odors – Cat Ketone, MMB, ammonia and trimethylamine – are the result of the decomposing activity of enzymes.

Look for Part 2 of Clean Like a Pro: How to Conquer Bad Odors Permanently in next month’s issue of Floorcare-Central Vac Professional. In the follow-up, Dale will go into detail about the enzymes of pet malodors, explain why common solutions don’t work, and talk more about a great solution: Kitty-Scram. For now, here’s what you need to know about KLEENCO’s Kitty-Scram and how it can starting helping your customers today!

Perfect for Pet Owners for Immediate, Permanent Odor Elimination

When it comes to eliminating odors, especially pet odors, you don’t want to wait. And you don’t want it to return. Every home that has a pet must also have Kitty-Scram.

Kitty-Scram is a proven odor eliminator. It works instantly to chemically alter the structure of malodor molecules, immediately changing putrid odors into inoffensive non-odorous molecules. Formulated with the power of chemical sieves (molecular odor traps), Kitty-Scram can tackle the toughest, concentrated odors. Despite its name, Kitty-Scram is by no means limited to the elimination of pet odors. Due to its novel formulation, Kitty-Scram can combat a wide variety of odor issues.

And once the immediate odor has been destroyed, special denaturing ingredients work to quickly and permanently break the bonds of odor-causing enzymes. The odor is gone and it will not return.

This three-pronged, synergistic approach is unique to Kitty-Scram. It is what makes it superior to enzymes but also to other malodor counteractants.

Kitty-Scram is formulated as a concentrate. It can be diluted. It can be used in carpet extractors or shampoo machines. And when needed, it can be used at full strength.

How to Use: Simply spray on the source of the odor! That’s all!

But sometimes sources are hard to find. In that case, a few methods are available.

The first is a thorough carpet cleaning with Kitty-Scram added. Or Kitty-Scram, diluted or full-strength, can be applied to a wide area.

When dealing with old deposits, first identify the location of the odor using a black light. Once identified, topically spray the area with a concentrated solution using a trigger sprayer. If the urine spot is near a wall, pull the carpet away from the tack strip and treat the carpet backing as well as the pad, tack strip and subfloor. If not located near a wall, a large hypodermic needle can be used.

When kept in a tightly sealed bottle, Kitty-Scram has an indefinite shelf life. You can rest assured that when an odor emergency happens, you will be ready to fully and permanently eliminate it.

Tell your customers about
Kitty-Scram, and their
cat-urine odors – along with
their other malodorous issues will be solved!

Reprinted from Floor Care & Central Vac Professional, August 2017