Let us spray, or not as the case may be…

How many of you use air fresheners? And if you do, which brands do you prefer? Roars team of expert testers give us their feedback – by Roar! editor Christopher Browne.

Please note – the Red Lion group does not endorse any product mentioned in this article.

To spray or not to spray – that is the question. Do you use an air freshener after going to the loo? And if you do, which one do you find works best for you?

For the first few months after I had my pouch fitted, I was not too concerned about its after effects or smell. I lived on my own and the only person who had to face the odours from the lavatory was me. However, it was when I went back to work and started going to social functions again that I sought ways to cope with the pungent after effects.

First, I studied the small print on the main high-street air fresheners and tried a succession of sprays without too much success. Though I found the odours from Neutradol and Febreze were slightly less acrid and medicinal than their rivals. Then I read about a spray that not only counteracts bad smells but also eliminates them. It had the neat-sounding sobriquet –odour-eater. How could I refuse? It was an apparently revolutionary concept in the mid-1990s

The brand name of the product was Airoma, aptly enough. After ordering one from the internet, I found I could order batches of three or more from eBay. They ranged from citrus and herbal fern fragrances to mango and cool –which didn’t really smell of anything and probably wasn’t meant to! After a few weeks I found the mango freshener gave off the most subtle and soothing fragrance. I continued to use it for work and play for several years and found the once murmured reactions of my friends and colleagues ceased.

I still use it, although very occasionally. As a catheter user I find I have less frequency and rarely leave more than a faint whiff in the corridors of power! If you’re a catheter user, please let me know if this applies to you too!

But enough of me for now, here are the Thoughts of Chairman Davies. “It wasn’t until I started to think about an answer to the question whether to use a spray or not that I realised how much this issue pervades my sub-conscious and drives my behaviours,”David says. “Sprays have never worked for me. If I’m in a busy public toilet then I’ll sometimes apologise with a smile to the person using the cubicle after me. They always say ‘that’s ok’or similar with a smile back and I wonder what they really think when they get inside!

“At my partner’s house we tried a few products, but they masked the bad smells with very powerful, nauseatingly sweet and synthetic smells. There are odour-free deodorisers on the market, but they didn’t do much of a job. So, we ended up with scented candles that I light (if I remember) when I’m using the toilet. The candles preferentially burn the volatiles in the air and let off a more subtle smell than the sprays,”says David.

Chairman Davies has another anti-odour technique. He has his own personal cubicle at home. “I have a convenient out-of-the-way en suite, which is my toilet of choice and is private,”he says. An eminently good idea for a family man or woman, I would have thought.But what do you do when visiting friends or going to parties?  “At other people’s houses I’ll try and locate a remote toilet rather than using the one the rest of the dinner party guests are using,”says David.

Recently a group of leading manufacturers have been endorsing products called ‘essential oil sprays’. RLG’s membership secretary Susan Burrows and several other members of the Red Lion Group use a brand called Poo-Pourri.

“I bought it on the internet at I don’t know why it works but it does. They market it as ’This before-you-go blend of natural essential oils creates a barrier to embarrassing bathroom odour.’ And the manufacturer has quite jokey instructions: ‘Spritz the bowl before you go and no one else will ever know.’,” says Susan, adding: “The spray comes from the US and this one is only available online but there are others on sale over here.

Sense of humour warning – Only watch video if you have a twisted sense of humour like me! (Ed.)

Another RLG committee member commented: “At home I don’t tend to use a spray but if we have guests, I use Poo-Pourri before I go. It is so much more effective than standard air fresheners and leaves the bathroom with a lovely lemon grass smell.”

Essential oils don’t necessarily appeal to everyone, however. Chairman Davies slightly poo-pooed the idea when he said: “They supposedly work by creating a film on the toilet water that prevents smells being released. That makes no scientific sense to me and nor does it cure the problem if you pebbledash the bowl.”

“At the end of the day all my friends and family know about my op, so I expect them to get on with it and generally they do. There is the usual mickey-taking when it comes to who is going to room with me on cycling weekends away with the lads,”he adds. I know what he means. I’ve had the same experience on a couple of overseas trips too!

Others find there is no substitute for good, old-fashioned common-sense. RLG committee member Peter White relies on fresh air to help clear away any lingering odours. “At home I tend to leave the window ajar for a few minutes with the door to the rest of the house closed. Many modern fittings allow ‘closed’windows to be slightly ajar, so allowing them to operate like a supersized trickle vent,”adds Peter.

If you found this article interesting, why not consider attending our Information day to be held at St. Mark’s hospital on Saturday 27th April 2019, where you will have the opportunity to listen to experts in the field of pouch surgery, pouch research and development and pouch care, and share your experiences with other pouchees.

Here is the Information day agenda (updated 20.03.2019)

You can download the agenda below.

Information Day Agenda 2019

If you would like to attend please download the registration form below. Note that the cost is only £8.00 for members and member’s guests and £10.00 for non-members (cost includes lunch and refreshments). Please complete the form and remit payment as soon as possible to guarantee your place as spaces are limited. If you have pre-registered, please send form and remit payment by 1 April to guarantee your place.

Information Day Registration 2019

If you are not already a member, why not join now and take advantage of the discounted rate and other member benefits. You can join here.

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We look forward to seeing you there. Come celebrate our 25th anniversary with us!