What is a deodorizer?

   A deodorizer is a substance that eliminates, changes, or masks unpleasant odors. Deodorizers are used in the home to overcome household smells, such as those caused by cooking and smoking. They are also used in industry to overcome the odors caused by certain manufacturing processes. Deodorizers for personal use are called deodorants. Deodorizers are often supplied in aerosol cans.

   Antiseptics and Disinfectants. Some deodorizers are antiseptics and disinfectants that eliminate odors by destroying the microorganisms that cause them. Some of the best-known antiseptics and disinfectants are chlorine, hydrogen peroxide, and iodine.

   Masking Deodorizers. Some masking deodorizers cover bad odors with strong pleasant odors. Perfumes and incense are examples of such deodorizers. Other masking deodorizers neutralize or change the unpleasant odors, and they can be used only when the molecular composition of the unpleasant odor is known.

   Adsorbent Deodorizers. An adsorbent deodorizer is a porous solid that removes odorous molecules from air that passes over it by gathering the molecules on its surface. The best-known adsorbent deodorizer is activated charcoal. Other adsorbent deodorizers are silica gel and fuller's earth, a claylike material.

   Solvent Deodorizers. Solvent deodorizers are liquids that dissolve or emulsify odor-causing molecules. Many solvent deodorizers are sprayed into the air to remove odorus molecules in this way. In the industrial deodorizing process called washing, or scrubbing, odorous air is passed through a spray or is bubbled through a con-tainer of water, oil, or some other solvent deodorizer.