The best choice for combating the odor of smelly kids or a dirty classroom is to focus on removing the bad odors, not adding a new scent.
The biggest reason to avoid adding a new scent to a classroom is that all of your students have to deal with it regardless of how it affects them.
You may love the new scent, but the students may not. Some of your students may even be allergic to the chemicals that you use to add the scent to the room.
Other students may be asthmatic or hyper sensitive to strong odors, which could cause big problems for them and for you. The last thing you want is a student having an asthma attack because you sprayed too much Lysol in the classroom right before they arrived.
Cleaning Up A “Musty” Classroom
If your classroom has a “musty” smell that lingers even after the kids are gone, that’s a sign that you need to do a deep clean of all the surfaces where the odor could be lingering. This means cleaning the walls with an odor-removing solution such as a spray bottle filled with a mix of white vinegar and water. You should also do an odor cleanse of any carpet in the room by shaking baking soda onto it, letting it sit for a few hours, then vacuuming it up. Also wash out the trash can if it has an odor.
Another trick for removing odors that are deeply ingrained in your classroom surfaces is to use an air freshener bomb. These “bombs” are designed for use in a vehicle, but most people don’t realize that you can use them in a room as well. When used, the canister will release a massive amount of odor-neutralizing vapor that spreads out and gets into all the cracks and crevices of your room, effectively doing a “deep cleanse” of the room for you.
An air freshener bomb is a one-time use canister that can produces a very strong after smell, so you definitely don’t want to use it right before anyone is going to be in the classroom. Try using it at the end of the day instead.
But what if the odor in your classroom is primarily coming from the the kids while they’re present in the room? Well, you can’t spray them with cleaning product (unfortunately), so you’ll have to use a solution that can get rid of the odors that they are giving off while in your classroom.
Fortunately, there are a few deodorizing options to choose from.
How To Deodorize Your Class While The Kids Are Still In It
The easiest way to get your classroom smelling fresher is to actually get some fresh air into it. But what if you can’t open any windows or leave the door open while teaching? Well, you can create your own fresh air with an odor-removing air purifier that doubles as a fan.
Although the very high end air purifiers can cost hundreds of dollars and come with fancy features that most people don’t really need, you can also find cheap ones with more basic options that will do just fine at freshening up your classroom.
The key when using an air purifier to get rid of odors is that you must use what’s called an activated carbon filter. A standard air filter traps dust and dander but does not capture odor-causing particles, because they are too small. But an activated carbon filter is made of a type of carbon molecule that is capable of “grabbing” odor-causing particles when they pass by, sucking them out of the air and trapping them in the filter.
There are all sorts of affordable air purifiers available to choose from. Here’s a very affordable one that will get the job done just fine, and it also doubles as a fan that can give you a nice breeze if the classroom is feeling too warm.
- Our recommended low-cost air purifier – Click here to view.
- Odor-trapping carbon filters (sold separately) – Click here to view.
Other Deodorizer Options
If an air purifier isn’t for you, there are a few other odor-trapping items that you can place on your desk or around your classroom.
The first is a bag of activated carbon. Just like the activated carbon filter in the air purifier, the activated carbon in this bag will grab odor particles that come into contact with it as they float around the room. To get the most deodorizing effect, you’ll want to leave it on top of your desk or in an open space in the classroom where the air will circulate around it. Just throwing it in your desk drawer isn’t the best option. A single bag can absorb odors for months.
The next option is to use an odor-neutralizing gel canister. These canisters contain chemicals in the gel that aerate throughout the room and neutralize odor particles. Although they are a deodorizer, they do produce some scent. People who use this type of product have very mixed reactions to the scent that it produces – some people hate it, others barely notice it at all.
When using it in a large open space such as a typical classroom, the “fresh cleaning product” scent shouldn’t be too strong. I recommend trying these out first when students are not around, to see how strong the fragrance is in your classroom. Be aware that some students may have the aforementioned allergic reactions or simply not like it. A single gel canister can remove odors from a room for several weeks.
A more immediate solution is an odor-neutralizing ozone spray. This spray is not going to remove your long-term odor problems, it’s more of an emergency measure for when you really want to get rid of a lingering odor. Ozone is not healthy to breathe in large quantities, so you’ll want to spray this after your kids have left the classroom. Lunch time would probably work best. The spray will leave a lingering scent that many people describe as the smell of “fresh rain”.
Adding Scents To Your Classroom
If you are set on adding a new fragrance to your classroom, the best way to do it is with all-natural, 100% organic essential oils. When adding a new scent to your class, be sure to get your students’ feedback and tell them that if they have a problem with it, that they can let you know.
There are many great essential oil diffusers that will spread a fragrance of your choice throughout the room. It’s important to note that some scented oil mixtures are not 100% natural and could contain chemicals that are more likely to set off allergies or asthma in your students, so you have to be sure you’re buying the right one.
I’ve picked a great essential oil diffuser and a starter set of all-natural oils for you here. It will freshen up your room while also making a nice decoration for your desk or book shelf.