Odor Removal – Steam Cleaning Up Elderly Odors
As anyone who has elderly parents knows, there may come a time when one gently has to tell them that their house does not smell so good. The deteriorating sense of smell with the elderly and the effort required to implement maintain a hygiene routine, all contribute to the problem. On the whole men seem to do less well than women, but in my own family, the source of the problems has been gender wide.
Before a recent trip to London, my sister warned me that staying in my Dad’s condo was going to require me to hold my nose.
My sister was pretty accurate in her predictions when I walked into my Dad’s place, but by the end of my stay she was amazed that both my Dad and his condo smelled perfectly normal.
Much of what I did was common sense, low cost or free. Other clean-up strategies involved a Ladybug steam cleaner and a Blueair air purifier with smoke stop filters.
Here is a quick summary of what I did. I hope it might give some of you some ideas. The whole purpose behind what I did was to attack the source not just try and cure the symptoms.
1. First and most obvious, open the windows for at least half an hour per day. I opened them for several hours at the beginning of my stay.
2. I took sackfuls of soiled clothing along to the dry cleaners and washed all bathroom mats and sheets and bedding. On my next trip, I will take some home kit dry cleaning kits “DRYEL” which I can get at my local pharmacy – they work in the drier – not too well, but a cheap way of keeping my Dad’s clothes clean on an ongoing basis.
3. I installed a shower caddy in the shower stall complete with shower gel and shampoo, and fixed the water mixer so my Dad would not scald himself. We instituted a reward program for taking a shower on Sundays as my sister said she would take him to church and Sunday brunch every week, provided he took a shower.
4. We put deodorizers in the toilets.
5. I threw away all the mothballs, and replaced them with herbal moth repellent sachets.
6. I introduced him to joys of clumping cat litter with a quick scooper for daily upkeep of cat deposits.
7. I brought over some spray deodorizer called Oxyfresh from the US, which I have used for years. I like it because it works and it is fragrance free.
8. Since his vacuum cleaner had been broken for six months, it clearly was on the “replace immediately” list. If he had been in the USA I would have bought him a Sebo X1 upright as the whole of his condo is carpeted.
9. I used the Ladybug steam cleaner with great ease and amazing speed on bathroom odors which clung to floor tiles, and I used the steel brush to clean dirty tile grout (tiles are always porous) and kitchen floor tiles. A small amount of Formula 212 Spot Cleaner for places on the carpets where there had been “accidents,” followed by steam cleaning did the trick. I then steamed all the remaining clothing in the closet, so everything got a fresh smell. I steam cleaned the lambs wool mattress pad I had given my Dad of Christmas a year ago, which was stained in one area. All in all, the Ladybug steam cleaner did incredible work and left everything it touched with a sweet fresh smell.
10. Finally, we installed a Blueair air purifier with smoke stop filters to take the final edge off things. I like this air purifier for the elderly as it is very quiet, and the filters take a couple of seconds to change and with no effort or heavy lifting.
The result? I am happy and relieved to say that both my father and his condo smelled just fine by the time I left. Do I need to go and make a check up visit to see how things are going? For sure – Rome was not built in a day but at least I put things back on track for a while.