My office smells disgusting. This is how I fixed it


My office smells. It’s not the same thing every day, either. One day someone’s heating up their leftover salmon smells-a-lot. The next day, Joe bikes to work, and it’s overwhelming. Tim’s new to the office, but he must bathe in Axe Body Spray every morning. Yuck. 

Unless you work at home, you’ve had to deal with disgusting office smells. We all have. I’ve come up with a few ways to fix it without calling up HR.

Cheese rotting smell ew

Clean Up A Bit

It’s easy to glare over at Tony’s desk and plot your revenge, but the smell might just be some old trash. If you’re close to the break room, maybe there’s some gunk left in the microwave.

Cleaning the office by adding some dustbins or a place of disposal.

I know, it shouldn’t be your job to clean up after other people, but they all think the same thing. That’s the problem with public spaces. Everyone thinks it’s someone else’s job to clean. 

It might just be easiest to take matters into your own hands. 

De-scent The Furniture

Desks, chairs, and carpets can soak up a lot of scent. And, let’s face it, no one cleans their chairs. Even offices with regular cleaning crews can’t get all the smell out of the carpets all the time. They can be like little sponges.

Sponge scent on the chairs and tables.

Spray some Febreeze on the chairs or carpets near your desk (don’t forget yours, though). Just a little spray can help clear up nasty odors. 

Here’s another tip, if you know the office cleaning schedule. Before the crew comes to vacuum, sprinkle some baking soda into the carpet. It doesn’t have to be much. The baking soda will soak up some of the smell, and the cleaners will vacuum it up that night. Suddenly, fresh carpet!

Add Some Subtle Scents

You could cover up bad smells with good ones. Defend your office with a fortress of scent. There are lots of products you can try, but make sure you don’t get something that’s too smelly. You don’t want to be the office offender. 

A bottle of essential oil with some herbs.

So, stay away from scented sprays or air fresheners. They’re meant to be overpowering, and you’ll just smoke out your coworkers. 

Try a good smelling tea. There are a ton of options that aren’t the standard Lipton Tea bags. Spend just a little more money, and you can find some great, classic tea. If you don’t like caffeinated teas, herbal teas smell amazing with varieties for every scent preference.

Try an essential oil infuser bracelet. These nifty bracelets take just a drop or two of essential oils, and they give off a subtle scent. They last all day, and you can customize your scent to what you like. Even better, essential oils have scents that can help you focus or de-stress. Win-win. 

Get An Office Plant

Office plants can help cover up nasty scents. Think that’s silly? Just ask NASA. Their clean air study discovered that some common house plants filter out toxic chemicals and make the air smell better.

Office plants

Here’s a few suggestions:

  • Dwarf Date Palm
  • Boston Fern
  • Kimberly Queen Fern
  • Chinese Evergreen
  • Bamboo Palm
  • Broadleaf Lady Palm
  • Peace Lily

Most of these plants are pretty small, and they can make a big difference. Even the smell of soil can help. Don’t be like me, though. I’m the great plant killer, so office plants don’t last long.

Talk To The Offender

This is the most effective idea, but it is also the one people want to do least. Most of us want to avoid conflict so much that we’d rather just suffer. But if you really want a long-lasting solution, you need to go to the source.

If someone is offending the office rules, be the first to have a talk and make them understand their mistake.

You might be helping that person out. Maybe Jane doesn’t know that her perfume is overwhelming. Tom doesn’t get that fish and microwaves don’t mix.

Whatever you say, stay away from blame. If you say, “Your food smells disgusting!” you’ll only get in a fight. Try something like, “Would you mind not eating limburger cheese at your desk. The smell gets to me.”

So, if your office smells disgusting, try out these tips. You can get rid of the smell without disrupting the office too much. 

Try to solve the problem without getting HR involved. It’s always best to work out conflict on your own, if you can. No one likes to get a talking to by the powers that be.






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