Friday, April 2, 2010

This place is perfect....but it smells reallllly bad!

Have you ever walked into a venue such as a banquet room or a rural community hall and had your nasal passages assaulted by an “odour”…..nothing that you can put your finger on and identify really, other than it doesn’t smell very good.

Imagine you are a bride to be and you have your heart set on returning to your home town and holding your wedding reception in the community hall a mile from your family farm. The hall is perfect! It will hold 250 guests, has a large commercial kitchen, has a large parking lot and holds many pleasant memories for you. The downside kinda smells.

Seldom used rooms and buildings can often smell musty and stale. The doors are locked after each event and are not reopened until the next one, which could be weeks away. You want your guests to remember the food, the music, the speeches……not the smell.

The challenge for a green event planner is how can you remove the odour without using harmful or toxic products?

  • Do a walk through of the venue and identify the trouble areas
  • Make a plan and let the venue manager know what you intend to do to combat the odour.

Once you get approval from the manager:

  • Open the doors! In the days preceeding your event, open the doors and windows. You can also set up a fan in a doorway with the fan facing out. This will help remove some of the stale air.
  • Leave bowls of vinegar in closed off areas such as the bathrooms and coatrooms. Remove the bowls the day before the event. The vinegar will neutralize the odours. Baking soda will do the same thing.
  • Spray undiluted vinegar into the air. You can also try diluted Vodka in a spray bottle. Theatre costume managers spray diluted vodka on the costumes before putting them away between shows.
  • For small carpets, you can sprinkle baking soda, leave overnight and vacuum. You can even sprinkle course salt on the carpets with the baking soda. The action of the vacuum on the salted carpet can make the area appear brighter, cleaner.
  • Make your own potpourri. Slice fruit such as oranges, apples and lemons and place them on a cookie sheet. Put them in the oven set on the lowest setting. Turn the slices over every hour until they are completely dried. Place the fruit in a jar and add things like cinnamon sticks and cloves. Leave the jar closed until the day of the event and at that time pour into a decorate container and leave in the washrooms or entry-way.
  • Coffee beans are a great way to “disguise” unwanted smells. Pour the beans into a clear, square vase and insert a single large flower with a water tube into the beans until the tube is completely buried. Make a few of these and set them in the washrooms.
  • Bucket List – Make sure that the floors have been thoroughly washed since the previous event. Spills from beer and pop can leave the floors sticky and smelly. Using a clean mop and bucket, wash the linoleum floors with a mixture of one cup of white vinegar for each gallon of water.

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