Dealing with Room Odor from Soiled Incontinence Supplies
Lingering odor from soiled incontinence supplies is no joke and not something a scented candle can fix. This can be a problem for seniors who live independently but use incontinence supplies as well as for seniors who no longer live on their own and need a caregiver. And what can make it worse is that as the body ages it often loses its sense of smell so seniors may have no idea there is an issue at all because they don’t smell a thing. For seniors living by them selves they should find someone they trust and just ask-even though this can be a delicate subject.
Certainly, no one wants their patient or loved one’s family and friends visiting less because the room smells of used incontinence supplies. This is a serious issue that can result in a loss of dignity as well as loneliness. Fortunately, there are solutions to this problem.
1. Find an air freshener that will neutralize the odors from the used incontinence supplies not just one that will cover them up with strong perfumes. The chemicals in the perfumes are not good for the patient and perfume over incontinence odors is not pleasant and is really not the effect you are looking for.
2. A good quality stainless steel pedal or step trash bin for immediate disposal of any incontinence supplies is a necessity. The best place for this trash can is right in the bathroom. A number of models can be easily found at places like Walmart or Target. Buy one that has a tight fitting lid to discourage escaping odors and make sure to line the removable inner bin with a plastic trash bag before use. If you are willing to spend a little more money you can buy a “diaper pail” that is specifically designed to control the odor from used incontinence supplies.
The Diaper Genie II is a popular and trusted brand. Stay away from the original Diaper Genie as it is made for smaller, baby diapers. The new and improved Diaper Genie II does well with medium sized adult diapers and other incontinence supplies. However, keep in mind that with the Diaper Genie II you will have the ongoing expense and trouble of purchasing the specific refill baggies that go with it.
3. Organize the bathroom making old plastic grocery bags or large ziplock baggies handy. Tightly seal the soiled incontinence supplies in one of these before tossing it into the trash. This is the most effective step for controlling odor.
4. Be sure to wash any incontinence supplies for urine collection, like bags, thoroughly. You can use commercial cleansers or even a solution of one part white vinegar to two parts water to clean, disinfect and deodorize. Be aware that bleach, a common choice, is unnecessarily harsh and does not dissolve urine crystals as well as vinegar.
5. Wash everything regularly, especially bedsheets and clothing. Use either white vinegar or baking soda as a laundry detergent booster, as both products are effective in getting odor out of fabric. However, don’t use both at the same time. When using white vinegar, you may want to put your clothes through an extra cold water rinse or two. Wash soiled clothes and sheets as soon as possible, and be sure to store them in an airtight container or plastic bag in the meantime. Just know that when you open the container you will have a powerful smell and that mold forms quickly in this environment. It’s better if you can get any soiled fabrics right into the wash.
6. Finally, you can use a black light to find any hidden areas behind toilets and beds that you think may be contributing to your odor issues. Urine will glow under the black light nd once you can see it you can clean it with a water and vinegar solution or natural enzymes. (You can find natural enzymes at the pet store).
Remember that you are not the only one dealing with this less than pleasant challenge. Estimates are that 25 million people in the United States are dealing with incontinence issues.