How to Deal with Office Smells

A good working environment is vital in empowering your employees and keeping them motivated to work. Giving your employees the space that would contribute to their performance would surely make them put their best foot forward–this means to get the best output, the least you can do is maintain the cleanliness and aesthetics of the workplace. 

When thinking of a clean area, we often think of a visually appealing space. But what happens when you’re triggering other senses? Unfortunately, it’s not something you can easily turn your back to and ignore as the smell doesn’t really go away.

Getting rid of office smells is as important as keeping the workspace aesthetically appealing. Workplace odors are serious issues. Allergy to certain smells could cause serious troubles not just to the employee affected but as well as the company. Aside from allergies, strong odors such as bleach, when inhaled could cause headaches and eye irritations which will surely affect the productivity and efficiency of your team.   

Here we collated some of the ways on how you can deal with office smells. 

Food Smell

Food is one of the biggest contributors to office smells. It may be from your employee’s lunch box or the feast you prepared for your company’s event. Having food is indeed a mood booster, but there are times that it could also be the source of the problem. 

  • Potlucks

A variety of food would please anyone, especially during an event. But food aroma locked in a room full of people? Probably not the best idea. 

Being in a room with food aroma for a long time would not only leave food smell on your clothes but also distract you in case you are having a presentation.  

Solution: The simplest solution to this would be opening the doors and windows of the room. This would allow air to flow in the area and address the issue of the smell. 

If that solution won’t make you look good to your clients, another solution would be installing an exhaust fan system. A high-velocity exhaust fan will surely solve the food smell problem without leaving your doors open. 

  • Leftovers

Leftovers are a staple for hungry workers. An increase in the food supply, may it be either from a potluck or home kitchens may increase the cases of leftover food and overstuffed refrigerators that are often overlooked and left to rot. Rotten food would not only leave a foul smell but also ill causing bacteria leaving you and your employees prone to certain types of diseases. 

Solution: Post an announcement or impose a rule that would avoid having leftovers for over a week inside the refrigerator.  

  • Trash

Having too much food would not only leave you leftovers but also trash. Luckily, the solution for food trash is pretty simple. 

Solution: Maintain a regular schedule of emptying trash. Getting rid of your trash on a regular basis would not only remove the physical trash but also the smell that accompanies it, leaving your workplace food odor-free. 

Body Odor

Body odor is another source of office smell. May it be “meat sweats”, gym body odor, or just a regular one, addressing the problem would need a more sensitive solution in comparison to removing food odor. 

Solution: Maintaining the right temperature in your workplace could prevent excessive sweating that causes body odor. You could turn down the thermostat during the cold season. Leaving your workplace odor-free and saving you your monthly heating bill. 

Another solution is through addressing the issue of body odor. Body odor issues must be addressed directly and in a one-on-one discussion as this may cause workplace bullying. Have a conversation with the said employee and make them feel that you care for them. Be respectful and give them time to respond. Body odors may be a cause of an underlying medical condition and if proven, they should be accommodated in a way that would help solve the problem. 

Having a clear dress code with reference to personal hygiene on your employee handbook would also help solve the problem of body odor issue in the workplace. 

Artificial Odors

Perfumes and other chemicals that produce scent is a preference – some love it and some don’t. Since offices are composed of different people, different preferences may become an issue and should be mitigated. 

Solution: Compartmentalization is one of the possible solutions for artificial odors. Allot spaces wherein people are allowed to have their potpourri or scent diffusers. Having these places will permit people to have the scent they like (increasing their motivation) without offending other people who don’t like it. 

Like for body odor, artificial odor issues could also be resolved through one-on-talk or direct confrontation. Present the possibility that one of their coworkers suffers a condition called fragrance sensitivity and products like colognes and scented lotions cause allergy symptoms or worse asthma attacks. 


Workplace odor can be a serious issue with serious consequences if not taken seriously. As stated above, exhausting, imposing rules, compartmentalization are only a few solutions that could help resolve the problem. 

Generally, issues on office smells would be prevented if the place is well kept and well maintained. Nuances such as food trash smell could easily be removed if you hire a reliable office cleaning service that will make sure your place is a safe and healthy workplace. 

To prevent unhappy employees and possible lawsuits, look for professional cleaners that are trained and well equipped with the right tools to keep your workplace in a pristine condition not just visually but also stench-free. 

Have any questions about office smells and how to remove them? Contact us. Our trained personnel are ready to answer your queries and give you tips to help you with your cleaning needs.