The Simple Science of Eliminating Bad Odors

Some of my fondest childhood memories have the name of my sixth-grade teacher written all over them. Mr. Migaki loved science and that made me love it too with his amazing experiments, formulas and scientific method. He made school so much fun.

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I kinda’ feel the same way about my friends Lou and Ted, owners of Nok-Out. Every time I call on them with yet another challenging odor problem, I learn more about the how and why of Nok-Out Odor Eliminator. It really does eliminate (not cover up) odors—even the most challenging.

Dear Mary: Help! I recently bought a pair of garden Bogs (waterproof footwear that feels like it’s made of rubber) at a rummage sale for a just few dollars. I was so excited to find them that I  purchased them without realizing they wreaked of chemical lawn fertilizer. Once I got them home, I realized my mistake. I tried to remove the odor using full strength Nok-Out, then with vinegar and even submerged them into a bucket of salty water.  Unfortunately, none of my attempts did anything to eliminate the odor. Any suggestion that would help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks! Jill

Dear Jill: This is a tough one, so I sent your dilemma off to our friend Ted at Nok-Out who went right to work. First, he needed to find out the content of your footwear, which the Bogs folks do not reveal, so he is assuming some kind of a rubber and plastic compound that is quite porous. 

Bear in mind that it is not unusual for something stinky to actually smell worse after the first application of Nok-Out, especially while still wet or in the presence of high humidity because of the science involved with odor elimination.

I have readers who stop at this point of spraying down their stinky mess with Nok-Out, don’t follow Nok-Out protocol and fire off an angry email to me insisting that Nok-Out doesn’t work for them. Please do not assume this. Instead, read on to learn how to use it properly so that it will knock out even the most difficult odors—like whatever got soaked into these garden Bogs.

And now for a little science lesson:

Nok-Out has a relatively high PH making it alkaline, as are most soaps and detergents. Vinegar is an acid and if you apply Nok-Out after having applied vinegar, then the result is a fight between an acid and a base. This is to be avoided and can be easily remedied by applying a solution of one-pint water to 1 teaspoon baking soda wherever vinegar has been applied. Allow a bit of time for the acid to be neutralized and then Nok-Out can perform most efficiently and effectively

If, as Ted believes, the source of the odor is deep within the pores of the plastic compound, you have to understand that Nok-Out is an oxidizer and needs to have direct contact with the source of the odor and dry thoroughly—even if that source is embedded within the boot material itself. This is a challenge, but Ted is quite certain that Nok-Out didn’t get odor the first time because it couldn’t make direct contact with every bit of the stink. You may have even washed the Nok-Out away before it oxidized the stinky stuff it was able to come into direct contact with. For sure, applying vinegar, salt and other attempts stopped the process of oxidization. But it’s not too late to start over with Nok-Out.

You can also rely on a chemical process that will come to your aid if you are diligent. If you have thoroughly cleaned the outer part of the boot with Nok-Out and allowed it to dry completely, the concentration of odor deep within the pores will begin to rise to the surface over a period of time, through a chemical process called “diffusion” where there is a movement from a place of high concentration towards lower concentration—just like what happens when you open your oven door while baking.

As you eliminate the stink from the surface, more of the stinky stuff will literally rise to the surface, whereupon another application of Nok-Out can deal with what has risen to the surface. Usually, a single second application is enough but it’s possible that in this case, it will require repeated applications to get it all. I would advise a slow steady approach and a ton of patience, knowing that every time you apply Nok-Out, you will get a little more of that stuff until it is all gone and your beautiful boots will be like new. It will work—just hang in there and don’t give up!

Updated 4-12-18