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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

How Febreze Works

The other day I got frozen tiny shrimp to feed the jellyfish and pipefish in my aquarium. I used my fingers to drop a pinchful of shrimp into the water, which worked great except I smelled like I just got off a shrimp boat. Soap didn't touch the stink. Neither did stainless steel. So, I decided to Febreze myself. It worked great. Initially I smelled like flowers instead of shrimp, but the floral smell washed off, leaving my hands unscented.
Have you wondered whether Febreze actually removes odors or whether it just covers them with a perfume? Have you wondered how it works? Here's the lowdown on Febreze. It's a product that was invented by Procter & Gamble and introduced in 1996. The active ingredient in Febreze is beta-cyclodextrin, a carbohydrate. Beta-cyclodextrin is an 8-sugar ringed molecule that is formed via an enzymatic conversion of starch. The cyclodextrin molecule sort of resembles a donut. When you spray Febreze, the water in the product partially dissolves the odor, allowing it to form a complex inside the 'hole' of the cyclodextrin donut shape. The stink molecule is still there, but it can't bind to your odor receptors, so you can't smell it. Depending on the type of Febreze you're using, the odor might simply be deactivated or it might be replaced with something nice-smelling, like a fruity or floral fragrance. As Febreze dries, more and more of the odor molecules bind to the cyclodextrin, lowering the concentration of the molecules in air and eliminating the odor. If water is added once again, the odor molecules are released, allowing them to be washed away and truly removed.

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