Getting Strategic With Air Freshener





Second only to empty soap and paper dispensers, malodors in public restrooms are a major source of dissatisfaction among building occupants, according to a 2017 Contracting Profits survey on restroom complaints. Even in clean restrooms, bad smells can elicit a negative response from users and undermine the custodial staff’s work.
Fortunately there are a host of odor-control products that address malodors and fragrance restrooms to make them more appealing. There is also a science to proper placement of these products inside the restroom — one that should take into account factors such as restroom size, airflow, fragrance medium and the potential for vandalism.
One of the first places to consider installing air freshening products is at the restroom entrance. This not only sets the tone for people coming into the room, but also takes advantage of natural air movement when opening or closing the door.
“We tell people, especially in schools, to put dispensers above a doorway,” says Todd Sauser, director of marketing for Nilodor, Bolivar, and Ohio. “You don’t want kids to knock it off the wall. Also, if it’s above the entranceway some of that fragrance carries into the room as they walk in, or carries out when they leave.”

Likewise, Sylvia Kim, senior field sales manager at Fresh Wave IAQ, Long Grove, Illinois, encourages customers to place an odor control dispenser near the restroom entrance, adjacent to the door and at least six inches from the ceiling. 

“Restrooms have stagnant air, so placing one near the entry assists with more air movement,” she says. “We want it high, but we want staff to be able to reach it to change it out. At the same time we want some airflow to be able to pass over the top.”

In addition to placing odor control dispensers near or above entrances, manufacturers recommend placing them close to the source of restroom odors.

“The most critical element is making sure you place the dispenser near the most odorous areas in restrooms, which are typically by the toilets and urinals,” says Kim. “The key is using solutions strong enough to fight odors while also being out of reach of potential vandals. We recommend placing dispensers high on the wall between bathroom stalls because it’s an area most people would not look.”
Active vs. Passive Odor Control
Placing odor control dispensers near entryways can aid in dispersing fragrance, but customers also need to consider whether their system is active or passive when determining the best place to install it.

Passive dispensers do not require batteries, fans or propellants, and rely on 
natural air movement to deliver fragrance. Active dispensers, which include metered aerosol dispensers, rely on a mechanical or gaseous propellant to deliver scent.
“Metered air dispensers should be placed five to 10 feet from the entrance of the restroom, approximately 10 feet from the floor, and directly across from the sink and vanity area,” says Tony Chiefari, vice president business development, Claire Manufacturing Co., Addison, Illinois. “As a general rule, this location will be central to the most common area.”

For safety reasons, aerosols should never be placed in areas where they could potentially spray into someone’s face or create a slip-and-fall hazard, says Sauser. 
Another reason aerosol dispensers should be placed high on the wall is to prolong the time that the fragrance remains in the air. 
Additionally, passive systems, unlike active systems, rely solely on natural airflow to disperse the product, making air movement a priority when considering placement.
“They need to be mounted reasonably high for security reasons,” says Wonnacott, “but they would be well-suited for areas where you have an opening or closing door, or where you have people passing regularly, creating a natural draft.”
Active odor-control systems are beneficial for large restrooms or restrooms with serious malodor issues, while passive systems work well in smaller restrooms or stalls, says Ward. Some restrooms benefit from a combination of both systems, depending on the type and size of facility, and its individual needs.
Strategically placing odor control dispensers in restrooms can maximize their effectiveness, but if the systems are not well maintained all bets are off. Units need to be easily accessible so that custodians can change batteries and/or cartridges when needed.
As with fragrances, figuring out the best place to install odor control dispensers is part science, part personal preference.
Odor Control Outside The Restroom
Odor-control products are no longer being confined to the restroom. Customers are installing dispensers in other areas of their facilities, including hallways, stairwells and lobbies, to address odors and impart signature scents.
Inside or outside the restroom, the same rules apply regarding placement — dispensers should be placed 10 feet from the floor and centered within common areas.