Our sense of smell is a little bit of a joke. It’s probably most people’s least favourite sense, because we usually only think about it when something stinks. And compared to the animal world, the human sense of smell is practically non-existent – your nose isn’t anywhere near as good as a dog’s (and although dogs get all the credit when it comes to nose power, they’re completely put to shame by bears, sharks and elephants).

But for all of its comparative weakness (and grossness!), our sense of smell is far from useless. In fact, it’s one of the most powerful senses we possess.

Throughout the ages, smell has kept us alive as a species – by silently telling us what’s safe to eat, where danger might be lurking, and helping us recognise familiar spaces and events.

Smell has a really profound impact on our emotions and memory – like how the smell of disinfectant can transport you back in time to your first day of school, or the memory of a hospital corridor. Or how the smell of freshly cut grass can trigger an old memory, long lost in the back of your mind.

Every place – from your home to your office – has a smell. And usually, we become blind to those smells as we get used to them. But when something stinks, we really notice it.

At home, it’s usually really easy to figure out what smells:

  • Overflowing bins
  • Pets (and people!)
  • Toilets

And sometimes, the same goes in the office. But often, the origins of office smells can be harder to track down. Let’s help you find out what’s making your office smell – and see if we can tackle it.

Tracking down and fixing office smells

1. Food

Fish in the microwave? Abandoned lunches, left in the fridge for months on end? A forgotten, mouldy desk drawer sandwich? These are all real experiences – and can sometimes cause a little office conflict!

In addition, almost a third (31%) of employees admit they usually eat at their desk. That’s a keyboard, desk, office chair and phone-crusting nightmare in the making. And the process of warming up lunch is a whole smell-producing affair in itself (usually only fixed by opening some windows).

Read more – How to Keep Your Workplace Smelling Nice

Greasy, sticky foods eaten at desks can permeate into woodwork or fabric, and leave long-lingering odours. It’s best to eat in a canteen, break room or outside – but if you’ve really got to work through lunch and you’re prone to spilling, our good old friend vinegar is great at cleaning up and tackling soaked-in odours.

As for forgotten sandwiches and abandoned fridge items, it’s important to encourage good cleaning practices and get everyone on board with binning out-of-date food – it could make people ill or trigger allergies, so when it comes to foods, office cleaning needs to be taken seriously.

2. Sinks

The office kitchen sink gets absolutely everything chucked at it. It’s probably one of the busiest sinks you’ve ever used, and it’s no wonder that they can get smelly; food, teabags, packaging – we’ve seen all sorts left in there!

Blocked and slow-running office sinks are almost always a cause of office smells, too. The best cure for a smelly office sink is prevention: clearing dishes, food and debris out as soon as possible (teabags go in the bin, folks!). But if you’ve passed the point of no return and your office kitchen sink has slowed to a trickle, you can try this:

  1. Pour a full kettle of boiling water down the drain.
  2. Pour in about 50g of bicarbonate of soda. Leave it to work for a few minutes.
  3. Mix up 250ml vinegar and 250ml hot water. Pour into the drain and let sit for 10 minutes.
  4. Flush the sink through with water.

This should speed up and freshen your sink nicely!

3. Carpets

If your nose has searched all around and brought up nothing, try aiming it down – below your feet!

Office carpets are often the most difficult to pinpoint when it comes to office smells. But years of wet weather, trodden in muck and long forgotten spillages all add up, and can contribute to some pretty nasty odours. Musty, mouldy smells are quite common, and can be awakened by increased footfall and wet weather.

Your humble office vacuum cleaner probably won’t be able to make that go away on its own – but you can try treating the carpet with bicarbonate of soda. Baking soda is a mild alkali, so test it on an inconspicuous patch of carpet first.

Dust the carpet in baking soda and let it sit for as long as possible, so it can absorb and break down smell-causing components more effectively (alkalis absorb oils and break down dirt, making even stubborn stains and odours easier to remove).

Then, just hoover it all up.

Sometimes, even the might of baking soda falls short of the mark, and carpets can still cause unwanted office smells. Try our office carpet cleaning service, which uses powerful, professional grade equipment to restore office carpets and get rid of lingering odours.

Clean your way to a better-smelling office

The Abbey Cleaning Service is a seasoned team of office cleaning professionals, with a keen nose for detail. Call 029 2067 9323 today – and find out how we can help make office cleaning a breath of fresh air, with minimal disruption to your business.