Smell, the most powerful of the senses

Since ancient times, humans have associated foul smells with disease and poisons across large parts of Europe, India and China. For centuries, people believed that a presence in the air of bad smells was caused by rotting organic matter and could be the cause of epidemics such as cholera and malaria (which literally translates to “bad air”).

While this theory, known as Miasma Theory, proved to be somewhat incorrect, the widely held belief did ultimately help to reduce the instance of death by disease by encouraging better hygiene standards that controlled malodour. Eventually, of course, the germ theory of disease was discovered. The innate distrust and disgust experienced by humans towards foul smells has remained, however, and persists as a strong warning sign of potential risk to our health.

The negative impact of malodour on cognition, human physiology and behaviour has been studied and established as universal. In addition to human health, malodour has implications on commerce and economy also. Cleanliness and malodour levels are crucial factors that influence customer preference, perception and brand reputation. Therefore, identifying and eliminating malodours, and maintaining an acceptable washroom is key, as consumer perceptions of facilities can impact businesses.

Spiraling population densities and an increase in shared facilities makes the need to create pleasant and clean smelling internal environments even more salient. Given the necessary bodily functions taking place on a regular basis in washrooms, these areas are often the biggest culprits when it comes to generating a poor impression of your business’ hygiene levels through foul odours.


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