Losing Your Appetite at School: Controlling Lunch Room Odors

By August 29, 2013November 30th, 2018Education

No matter our age, the distinct odor of the elementary, high school, or even college school lunchrooms is still ingrained in most of our memories. After all, it is one of the first things you notice when entering the vicinity of a school at any level; it’s a very common odor that is rather hard to describe.

It’s that combination of fried food (french fries, taco salad shells) and pizza mixed with heavy cleaning products and the smell of students, whether post-recess or post-defense of a thesis.

Whether in elementary schools or universities, lunch is an extremely important part of any student’s day, and thusly it should not be a time when students experience discomfort due to foul odors. As we’ve discussed here, it has been proven on several occasions that foul odors can even negatively impact learning. And in terms of higher education, odors from food service areas can damage to the reputation of a college or university.

Here’s a recent example: Seventy-five students at a Houston high school were sent home after a foul odor from the cafeteria infiltrated the school. You can almost forget about what that did to their midday nutrition refuel, because it also meant they lost half a day of learning.

Despite multiple daily scrubbings and washings, it remains hard to control odors. Many schools and universities turn to scented cleaners and odor management systems that use toxic chemicals to mask smells, which is absolutely the wrong approach.

School and university cafeterias ought to use eco-friendly odor management products like those manufactured by Fresh Wave IAQ, which are 100 percent toxin-free, and get the job done safely and effectively.

Thankfully, we are not the only ones advocating for the use of green cleaning products in schools: States like Maine, Kentucky, and Connecticut are adopting new “green janitorial supplies contract,” which directs public agencies to purchase supplies that reduce the use of toxic chemicals.

We look forward to seeing more schools and universities take more progressive approaches to cleaning and odor management, because eliminating odors should always be a major priority. When done properly with the right eco-friendly solutions, it is possible to create a healthy and productive learning environment.