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The airplane bathroom is an engineering feat we tend to take for granted. Think about it: Nonstop transcontinental travel would be exceedingly uncomfortable — if not impossible — without that toilet.
Of course, the unearthly relief provided by airplane bathrooms makes them heavily trafficked. The stall locks are among the most germ-ridden parts of an airplane, after all.
And then there’s the repulsiveness that sometimes lurks inside the bathroom — that stench left behind by another passenger.
If you’ve never experienced that odious odor, you can thank flight crews. Flight attendants have a handy hack to neutralize nasty odors. It’s one you can use at home, too: harnessing the aroma of coffee.
As The Sun reported last year:
“If a traveller has let loose a particularly pungent stink, the flight attendant will brew a strong pot of coffee to bring with them while clean(ing) the loo.”
On some airlines, flight attendants simply pour a strong cup of black coffee down the toilet.
There is science behind this hack. For example, a 2012 study out of the City College of New York found that caffeinated coffee can wipe out hydrogen sulfide gas — the chemical responsible for the stink of raw sewage. The caffeine in coffee contains nitrogen, which the researchers said was key to coffee’s odor-neutralizing ability.
So the next time someone leaves a stench behind in your own bathroom, brew some coffee instead of spending money on store-bought air fresheners.
If you don’t drink coffee, a bag of coffee will do, too.
Several years ago, the Los Angeles Times reported that some flight attendants neutralize nasty odors by hanging a bag of coffee on a coat hanger in the bathroom. On one flight, the crew even gave bags of coffee to some travelers who were plagued by the “horrendous” body odor of a particular passenger seated nearby.
Have you ever used coffee as a scent neutralizer? Tell us how it worked — comment below or on our Facebook page.