November 28, 2009

Sucking Up Bad Smells

Bet you thought nothing could smell worse than burnt microwave popcorn. You know, so did I . . . until last week when one of our therapists set a paper towel on fire.

It was unbelievably nasty. And that was on top of all the industrial fire alarms in our strip going off, the fire trucks coming, and having to cancel immediate appointments due to faint clouds of vile smoke wafting through the front door. At the time, I think I might have almost preferred a nice blackened bag of burnt popcorn.

By the next day, most of the clinic was fine, with the exception of the kitchen (ground zero) and the microwave (ground-ground zero). These areas just . . . stank. We needed to get rid of the smell, but we didn't want to go too far the other way and overwhelm our clients, a lot of whom have odor sensitivities, with fake lavendar-vanilla air fresheners.

The answer? An enormous bottle of white vinegar. I had used it in the past for smoke smells, and it seemed a safe choice. So we wiped down the entire kitchen with vinegar, sprinkled the rug with vinegar, and put a bowl of it in the microwave to suck up the smell. When I took the bowl out an hour later, the vinegar smelled like burnt paper towel. So I emptied it and started all over again. It took another day and a tiny measure of lavendar-vanilla to boot, but we got the smell licked.

So if you ever accidently scorch your massage space and need a safe, unoffensive-smelling cleaner, give vinegar a try. And avoid setting the microwave on five-minute express for a two-minute pepperoni hotpocket wrapped in paper towel!

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