how to reduce the smell?

Nurses General Nursing


Prior to posting this question l have tried doing a search in the various forums that l beleive may cover this topic - I basically want to know what you as nurses do to reduce the urine and other smells that are associated with living long term in a facility - and or in an acute setting

I would be interested in your management of the linen, carpet or other continence aids etc.

Where l currently work we have a system of reducing the associated smells of urine and feaces that can be common in aged care settings and nursing homes.

We would like to research and evaulate other systems that people use to reduce any smells

I was wondering if any of you in this forum have any site you can recommend to read about methods of reducing the smells associated with this problem.

Thanking you in advance



1,091 Posts

Specializes in ER, PACU, OR.

in the acute setting? like with the gib's and all? all that spray stuff that they have doesn't really work very well. we drape the room with iodiform, which absorbs the smell some, and has it's own odor. that's about as good as it gets.

me :)

canoehead, BSN, RN

6,856 Posts

Specializes in ER.

After each bedpan use I use the OB spray bottles with soapy water to minimize odor. We also have a foamy soap that gets whatever is dried on. ugh.


312 Posts

I've heard (but haven't tried it) that putting mouthwash in the bath water cuts the urine smell. :confused:


992 Posts

I would be willing to try anything but the spray stuff. I have asthma and allergies, and when they go spraying that stuff I almost gag.:eek: I have also heard about the mouthwash in the bath water cutting down on smell, but I wonder if the alcohol in the mouthwash would be irritating to the pt's skin. :confused: If you find any other suggestions, could you share them with us? I would be interested in knowing about other alternatives. :)


109 Posts

The NA's at my hospital swear by using shaving cream in the bathwater of incontinent patients. And so far, I've not seen any skin irritation because of it.

Other than that, we bag up the soiled paper pads and depends and get them to the soiled utility room (rather then leaving them in the pt room trash can), and keep the dirty linen hoppers to a minimum in the hallways. Bedpans and urinals get hosed out with the handy-dandy sprayer on the back of the toilet, and they get tossed when even the spray won't clean them off.

Housekeeping comes around every week or so and cleans the carpeting (how well, I'm not sure, and I'm not about to eat off it to find out!:p ).

We had this great orange smelling air frehener. All natural. We'd spray a ton in the trash cans, commodes, on washclothes and place them in baggies and set them in really bad smelling rooms.

Peppermint Oil! Our phramacy recently started stocking pure peppermint oil. I openned one and put a 4x4 on the top w/ some hanging worked wonders!


3,932 Posts

Specializes in LTC, ER, ICU,.
originally posted by dawngloves

we had this great orange smelling air frehener. all natural. we'd spray a ton in the trash cans, commodes, on washclothes and place them in baggies and set them in really bad smelling rooms.

i buy the orange citrius spray for my home and it smells delicious. i wish i could take it to work, but that's a no, no.

adrienurse, LPN

1,275 Posts

We use some kind of super deodorant spray. Sorry, but I'm blanking on the name -- just got off work -- brain sleeping now. It works really well, but If someone goes nuts with it, I feel like I'm gonna have an asthma attack.


469 Posts

Thank you for the replies so far - l will at a later date document our system - it is a complete system that looks at changing methods of manageing linen and contince aids

So l guess not only what do you spray etc - but how do you manage your linen also

night owl

1,134 Posts

Soiled undergarments are bagged individually along with any chux bed pads and taken to soiled utility room as soon as we're finished changing the resident. If the resident has soiled, smelly clothes, they are thrown into the washer right away. If there are urine soaked slings that the res. sits on during the day in their w/c, they are washed as soon as possible, usually at night. The res. themselves are washed with this incontinence foam no rinse cleaning solution called "Aloe Vesta" that cuts down on the urine smell. It's also available in a liquid form. We use all of their products. Aloe Vesta also has a barrier protection cream that every incontinent individual receives after every undergarment change. All urinary drainage bags are changed every week and dated and all urinals must have caps on them and are also changed every week and dated. Housekeeping takes care of the residents bathrooms and are (supposedly) washed out every day. When we run out of Aloe vesta foam cleaner, the CNA's use shaving cream which also cuts down on the urine smell. I was told along time ago that it wasn't permitted, but I figured if it's good enough for their faces, it's definately good enough for their butts! One must remember that along with all of these cleaners, sometimes the bed and or chair/ w/c must be washed also if they smell really bad. I always wipe the mattress down before I put on clean sheets, and try to throw the chair or w/c into the shower room for a good hosing down. The urine smell is very minimal if at all on my unit.

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