The Nose Knows: The Good, The Bad, and The Unstinkable
This might sound like common scents (el oh el) but the aroma of breakfast is a man’s favourite smell while for women it is a newborn baby, according to the latest research. Scents are being used for everything from relaxation in aromatherapy, to tiggering buying behaviour in cinemas with the scent of popcorn. Cleaning Hub looks at the science behind the sniff...
1. A new nose
You can smell as fresh as a daisy every month and your scent cells are renewed every 28 days, so every four weeks you get a new “nose”.
2. Nostalgic noses
Smell is the most sensitive of the senses - we can remember smells with 65% accuracy after a year, while visual recall is about 50% after three months. Research has shown that smell is the sense most linked to our emotional recollection. So, when linked to a product, that can reap dividends.
Studies show that 75% of emotions are triggered by smell which is linked to pleasure, well-being, emotion and memory – handy when you want people to buy your products: for example, one of the most evocative smells from childhood is crayons… A survey found that 85% of all people remembered their childhood when they caught the smell of Crayola crayons and the newer crayon-scented coloured pens!
3. Your nose gets bored
The sense of smell gets bored easily. When entering a bakery or florist you are very aware of the aroma but by the time you reach the check-out you will no longer be able to smell the different aromas around you. Good if you work in a sewage plant!
4. Early developer
The sense of smell is the first of all our senses to develop. Even before we are born, our sense of smell is fully formed and functioning.
5. Women win
A woman’s sense of smell is much stronger than a man’s. It is heightened even more in the first half of the menstrual cycle and reaches its peak when she is most fertile.
6. Peaks and sniffs
The sense of smell peaks when we are in our late teens and begins a gradual decline. People who have an impaired ability to smell, and therefore taste, tend to follow diets that are less healthy in an effort to excite their senses.
7. Tis the season
You can smell things better in the spring and summer, due to the additional moisture in the air. For the same reason, it is also stronger after exercise, which also increases the moisture in the nasal passage.
8. Animals rule
Humans have five to six million odour detecting cells but that is nothing compared to the animal kingdom. Rabbits have 100 million and a dog 220 million. Polar bears can smell a seal under three feet of ice, and black bears can detect a food source from 18 miles away!
9. Don’t sweat it
Forget fingerprints and DNA, perspiration could be the big thing for crime busting in the future. Chemists say that the food we eat, drugs we take, gender and even state of mind, all combine to make each person’s sweat unique.
Tel Aviv University’s School of Chemistry are breaking down the components of human sweat as a new kind of ID, saying each person has his or her own chemical fingerprint.
10. Best smell
While humans each have a favourite smell, so too do animals. Cats like the smell of valerian, lions a mint smell and camels like the smell of tobacco.
Q: Do you know why men like it when women wear leather?
A: Because they smell like a new bakkie.
11. A whiff of history
It is not enough now to go to museums to see the past come to life, you can smell it, too. At the Jorvik Viking Centre, a stench is pumped inside to give visitors a true simulation of what the Viking era would have smelled like. The museum attracts more than 14 million visitors a year who visit to experience smells such as a Viking toilet and village. Er… okay.
12. The nose knows
The human brain can process roughly 10,000 smells in an area the size of a postage stamp, each triggering a neural response. It’s worth looking after that fine-tuned sniffer though, because there are career paths in that:
13. New car smell
An artificial “new car smell” is sprayed inside cars that lasts for six weeks, and while not everyone can own a Rolls-Royce, at least you could get the smell: the car manufacturer reproduced the scent of the 1965 Silver Cloud and sprays it under the seats to recreate the smell of a classic Roller!
The same goes for flying. Singapore Airlines recreated a scent of the Orient for its flights. The aroma of lotus flowers and bamboo forests is put on hot towels for passengers.
14. Can you smell in your sleep?
The answer to the question if you share the bed with a farty partner is quite simply, no. As it turns out, the phrase wake up and smell the coffee is more true than you would imagine. When you are asleep, your sense of smell shuts down. You can only smell the coffee after you have woken up.
15. Smell means taste
Your sense of smell accounts for 75-95% of the impact a flavour has. Without being able to smell the difference between onion and potato, it’d be difficult to tell them apart.
16. No nose
People who cannot smell have a condition called anosmia.
17. The smell attraction
The way we smell plays a large part in who we are attracted to. In one study, a selection of women sniffed men’s shirts and were more attracted to the bodily scents of men who had a different type of gene section.
18. Bad smells
Spare a thought for the poor people who suffer from cacosmia: even a bunch of fresh flowers is horrible as they perceive all smells as something revolting, such as putrid or vomit.
We care about your sense of smell, which is why our Habitat “Winds of Change” air fresheners are actually air sanitisers - they don’t just mask odours, they eliminate them! Buy now and grab a R50 discount off your next shop.
- Georgina Roberts