If you have an animal companion, odors of one kind or another will become an issue at some point. It’s just the nature of the beast, so to speak. Pet MD’s article on animal odor will show scientifically what causes these odors, shedding some light on the not so pleasant smells that may be enveloping your home.
First, it’s important to understand what odor is and where it comes from. It seems simple, but the science of odor is actually very complex. Once you understand something about this science, it becomes clear why so many so-called odor eliminators fail to live up to their names.
Bacterial-based odors are the most prevalent in our environment and can be the most difficult and frustrating to eliminate. What your nose identifies as the odor is actually a very small gas molecule. It’s the natural by-product of bacteria eating and digesting a food source such as biological refuse (urine, feces, vomit or spoiled food). So scientifically speaking, there are three components to odor: refuse, bacteria eating the refuse, and what you smell as odor, the bacteria’s waste gas. These bacterial-based odors should not be confused with fungi odor (mold and mildew).
So now that you know what causes odor, and its components thereof, what can you do to eliminate it? Cleaning up the mess might seem like the obvious answer, but it’s impossible to remove every tiny trace of urine, feces, etc. using conventional methods. Think about dried cat urine, for example – no matter how much you scrub, the smell still seems to linger.
You could use air fresheners, candles or aerosols, but this kind of treatment either masks the odor with fragrances and perfumes, or attacks the waste gas molecule. Unfortunately, this only temporarily eliminates the gas produced by the bacteria. As the bacteria continue eating the traces of refuse still present, the odor will return rather quickly.
You could use bleach or a similar product, which attempts to kill the bacteria. This should theoretically eliminate the source of the odor, but unfortunately, it is impossible to eliminate all bacteria from the environment. When traces of refuse are still present, more bacteria will find it, happily eat it, and produce more waste gas. Consequently, before long, you will again smell the odor.
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