When is an air freshener not just an air freshener? When there is science behind that scent you have just picked. The science behind scents and their impact on us is fascinating.
Scents and the human brain
Our sense of smell is closely linked to the limbic system in the brain, which plays a vital role in emotions, memory, and behaviour. This is a primitive part of the brain that has also been found in early mammals. In fact, smell is more closely linked with memory than any of the other senses. Researchers from the University of California found a specific type of neuron in the memory centre that is trigger by items such as odour.
Scent in washrooms
When it comes to air fresheners in washrooms, scents can significantly influence people’s perceptions and experiences. Air fresheners work by releasing aromatic compounds into the air, which can either mask unpleasant odours or introduce pleasant ones. The brain processes these scents, and depending on the individual’s previous experiences and associations, they can evoke positive or negative emotions. For example, lavender or citrus scents are often associated with cleanliness and relaxation, creating a positive atmosphere in the washroom.
Overcoming unpleasant smells
The easiest way to remove an unpleasant odour is to hide it under a much stronger, more pleasing smell. This scent has to consist of top notes, which are fresh smelling fragrances like lemon or grass, middle notes that are more heady smelling flowers like irises or orchids, and base notes which are typically ‘animalistic’ such as musk.
Furthermore, the psychological phenomenon known as the “Proustian effect” suggests that scents have a unique ability to trigger vivid memories and emotions. When a person encounters a familiar scent, it can remind them of past experiences and environments, shaping their perception of the current situation. This means that if a pleasant scent is consistently used in a washroom, people may come to associate that fragrance with cleanliness, leading them to perceive the washroom as cleaner and more pleasant, even if it’s not visually impeccable.
Too much scent?
However, it’s crucial to note that excessive use of air fresheners can be overwhelming and cause adverse reactions in some individuals, like headaches or breathing irritation. Finding a balanced and suitable scent for a washroom that appeals to most people is essential.
Use the experts
At Hygiene Solutions, we can advise the best areas to install your air fresheners, the type that will work best in your business, and fragrances that will invoke memories of hygiene and cleanliness in its users.