The Perception of Clean

There’s clean, and then there’s clean. A clean indoor environment is tidy and visually pleasing, giving occupants and visitors a positive impression of a facility. One factor can particularly elevate a space from subtly clean to truly clean. That factor is fresh indoor air, free of foul and mysterious odors. Focusing on the air that customers breathe and ensuring it stays free of odors can make a big difference in how a brand is perceived and ultimately benefit its bottom line.

  • Equating Scent with Cleanliness

Many times, guests and occupants of a facility are more likely to take notice of cleanliness when it’s lacking, such as in a restroom with paper products strewn across the floor or an entrance area with dirty floors. While a fresh-smelling space may stand out to some people, there’s a greater chance that a foul smell will be more memorable – and not in a good way.

Our sense of smell often acts as a strong signal, telling us whether an environment is pleasant or unpleasant. For many people, they then associate the presence of fragranced air or air lacking odors as evidence that the area is clean. Meanwhile, malodors signal that a room is unsanitary. While a restroom may look clean, strong odors can give the perception that it is not. Thus, it’s especially important for businesses to install odor control solutions to eliminate odors and prevent visitors from making incorrect assumptions about cleanliness.

If customers perceive a facility as unclean, it can affect their perception of the business as a whole. For example, a survey found 71% of Americans say a clogged public restroom toilet – a surefire source of malodors – would negatively impact their perception of a business. A negative experience can decrease the likelihood that a customer returns

  • Being Seen as Clean

The right air freshening products can provide the frosting on the cleanliness cake. Facility managers should consider following best practices to help project the right brand image.

  • • Opt for innovative air care: Many air freshening products have a reputation for masking, or covering up, odors – not eliminating them. New technologies allow certain products on the market today to eliminate malodors by using agents that lock in malodor molecules, neutralize them and release a pure, fresh scent into the air. In addition, numerous air freshening dispensers are designed to last for 30 days on one cartridge of fragrance, often emitting fragrance periodically, not steadily. However, other recent innovations give users new cartridge options that last 30, 60 or 90 days while continuously emitting a fresh aroma at the same intensity over the entire period.
  • Finally, concerns exist about the safety and eco-friendliness of a variety of different air care products, including some aerosol sprays that release chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) that can damage stratospheric ozone and accelerate the Earth’s warming. Some products also contain compounds that can cause respiratory difficulties and other health issues. Managers should consider state-of-the-art products that not only deliver malodor elimination and reliable, long-lasting freshness, but also account for safety and environmental concerns. Look for products without any added solvents, CFCs or alcohols.
  • • Choose the right scents for the right rooms: Though opinions vary, certain scents are better-suited for specific areas within a facility. For example, fruity, layered scents are a good option for heavy-traffic restrooms because their scent is often strong enough to counteract malodors effectively. Just as flowers can spruce up about any room visually, a floral scent is a great all-purpose fragrance option in any space, from hotel lobbies to airport restrooms and beyond.
  • Regardless of a building’s layout, facility managers should have a deep understanding of where people congregate and where unwanted odors may arise. From there, they can decide which fragrances to purchase for specific areas as well as how intense each one should be. Facility managers should look for high-quality, designer fragrances created from 100% fragrance oil.


  • • Replace cartridges as they expire: When dealing with multiple different air care dispensers around a facility, it’s possible to lose track of when to replace each one. Don’t wait to receive a complaint of a foul odor before replacing a cartridge or purchasing more products. Use a product that alerts you when it’s time to change the cartridge or the battery with both audio and visual reminders.


  • Clean Perception, Improved Reputation
  • By spending some time and resources selecting air care products that deliver safe, effective and environmentally friendly results, business can set themselves up for a refreshing and inviting indoor atmosphere. Facility managers should use their intimate knowledge of the building they oversee to make informed judgments about which scents to use and where to use them. Finally, they should select products with audio and visual alerts that help them keep track of their air care program – a fresh step toward improving the way a business is perceived.