Did you know?...
Some odors can trigger strong memories and emotions. The olfactory system, responsible for our sense of smell, is linked to the brain's limbic system, which processes emotions and memories. This connection explains why certain smells can instantly transport us back to specific moments in our past. Things like the smell of popcorn reminding you of a first date at a movie theater or the smell of an engine can remind you of your first car.
Humans can detect around 1 Trillion different smells due to the amount of odor receptors located in our nasal cavity and certain odors can even impact our emotions. For example, the smell of lavender is known for its calming and relaxing effects, while citrus scents promote alertness and energy. Between having an effect on our emotions and triggering past memories, odor is one of our most powerful senses.
After a fire damage, our technicians are tasked with cleaning up debris, drying out the water left over from fire-fighting efforts and eventually deodorization of soot/smoke odors. This can be accomplished differently depending on the type of materials burned. (Grease and cooking fires are treated differently than wood or organic materials). We have a pretty good success rate with completely irradicating these odors. With that said, no matter how hard we try, we are unable to remove or neutralize "phantom" odors.
Phantom Odors - "Spooooky"
So what are phantom odors? Well, there is something called "Phantosmia" which is a condition that causes humans to smell odors that are no longer there. Nobody knows why or what causes Phantosmia however, it is thought to be tied to traumatic events or even damage to the olfactory system. Hopefully, you never experience fire damage, however, if you do, it is most definitely a traumatic experience. Between potentially damaging your olfactory system by breathing in smoke during exiting the building to odors being linked to emotions and memories - phantom smells are very real and can be a frustrating part of the odor neutralization process in your property.
How we handle Odor Neutralization
Our team of experienced fire damage technicians, prepare our customers prior to starting work by setting expectations and educating them on the many aspects of the project - including odors and odor neutralization. By understanding the power your olfactory holds over emotion and memory, it can help you set realistic expectations of the neutralization project - and even "scare off" Phantosmia.
Every odor neutralization project starts by the identification of affected materials -or in othe words- the source of the odor. Once the source is identified, we work towards removal of non-salvageable materials, treatment and cleaning of items that are salvageable and filtration/changing of the air to remove particulates contributing the smell. Once the source is removed, the area is detailed and cleaned, the air filtered and changed and then we move towards the final step - which is encapsulation and/or sealing the area.
The final step of encapsulation and/or sealing the area is not always needed but instances in which the source can not be completely removed, this step will trap the odor inside the materials, preventing it from escaping and essentially neutralizing the odor. I know this sounds easy to do, however, each step is meticulously carried out and can be difficult to execute -especially on larger projects. This is why Bulldog Cleaning & Restoration technicians are trained to pay close attention to detail and even then, their work is double checked to meet our standards of care.
Bulldog Cleaning & Restoration strives to spread our knowledge of disaster mitigation and restoration to better serve our customers and community.