What You Should Know If You Can't Smell

Living with anosmia requires you to take some extra precautions. The following are some of my favorite smell tips I have gathered throughout my experience that I am more than happy to share with you.

Anosmia Tip # 1 Laundry

Laundry is one of my least favorite chores, especially whenever my clean and dirty clothes gets mixed together. Either I forget which pile is which, or my pets are running amock and make a mess (tbh, it’s happened more than once). This works for those times you are taking clothes out from the dryer, (it’s clean) but are too lazy or busy to fold them right away. This first tip is super simple and most importantly, effective.

  1.  Make sure you purchase two laundry hampers. Label one of them “Clean Clothes” and the other one “Dirty Clothes.” Place the “Clean” hamper in your room and the “dirty” hamper next to your laundry machine. Store away your nicely clean and dry clothes in the “Clean” hamper and don’t worry about folding it until later. Tada! 

Anosmia Tip # 2 Cooking

  1. Always pay attention if you are using a stove, oven or microwave. Do not leave any food items unattended while they’re cooking. Fires can happen in a split second! Remember, we can’t smell if there is smoke, so paying attention is key!
  2. IF you are easily distracted and baking, make sure you put a timer on your phone and on your stove (if it has one).

Anosmia Tip # 3 Food

Unfortunately, for me, food poisoning is such a common issue if you can’t smell. I’ve had my fair share of stomach aches all because I wasn’t able to tell if my food was still okay to consume. 

  1. If you keep any leftover food, invest in sturdy food containers. Make sure you label each container with the day’s date. Bonus: Keep a set of markers and a roll of labels in a kitchen drawer handy for quick access. Double Bonus: Always double check your food container’s lids snap into place so you avoid any air from seeping in (which can cause your food to spoil faster.) Caution: Leftover food should not be kept more than two days in the fridge. As the saying goes, “When in doubt, throw it out.”
  2. Also, make sure to ask someone with a working nose if they can smell your food and confirm it doesn’t smell spoiled.
Anosmia Tip # 4 Safety

1.       When renting or purchasing a new place, make an effort to ensure you have access to electrical appliances versus any powered by gas. Gas leaks are easily identifiable for the general population, but they are not for us.

2.       Invest in high quality smoke detectors. I recommend having at least one in each of your rooms (it is not recommended to have one in the restroom though).

Anosmia Tip # 5 For The Workplace

Being anosmic and working in a professional setting can cause anxiety overload. We are mostly unaware of any bad smells and this can create a mountain of embarrassing situations. I like to be prepared and avoid these all together. Some of my favorite tips for any nosmie in the workplace are as follows:

  1. Keep a list of stinky foods on your phone, so you know exactly which foods to avoid eating before any important work meetings. Bonus: This list can also come in handy before a date.
  2. Keep a spare toothbrush and toothpaste at your desk. Bonus: Make sure you also include a bottle of mouthwash. Having these items handy can ensure you have ironclad protection against bad breath.
  3. Office environments usually have shared restrooms. Make sure you courtesy flush LOL.
Anosmia Tip # 6 Footwear

If you have even the slightest suspicion you may have smelly feet. This super simple tip will help you (I know I’m guilty of this, remember this story?).

  1. Make sure you place smell absorbing foot pads (or if you don’t mind messy powders), and/or sprays inside your sneakers, regular shoes and flats. Bonus: After a workout, place your sneakers outside so you air out any bad smells.
Anosmia Tip # 7 Gym
  1. Keep a spare deodorant in your locker or gym bag. That way, you can always reapply when necessary. Bonus: Include a set of babywipes. This helps lessen any sweaty smells in case you are running late and can’t shower after your workout.
Anosmia Tip # 8 Washing Dishes
  1. Remove excess food from your dishes before you use a sponge to clean them. This helps cut down on any food articles from getting stuck on your sponges and avoids bacteria from stinking them up.
  2. Make sure you wash your drinking glasses first. Using the same sponge you previously used to wash the rest of your pile of dishes, can make your glasses smell bad.
Anosmia Tip # 9 Pets
  1. Check with your vet for any recommendations as to how often you should wash your pet. Some breeds may require more upkeep (especially if they have long hair.)
  2. Secure the corners of each room in your place with doggie pads. These may look silly, but will protect any wood finishings/trims and prevent stains from building up and stinking up your place. Bonus: Some sneaky pets like to do their business under beds or even in closets. Check for any surprises in these areas at least once a week.
Anosmia Tip # 10 Ask Friends and Family For Help
  1. This is my most important tip. Don’t ever be afraid to ask others if they can smell for you. I like to use the term “Designated Nose” when appointing a friend, coworker or loved one to this task. Designated noses can help smell an item of clothing for you to check if it’s clean, or to confirm if you or your breath smells ok. They more than likely don’t mind doing this simple task for you.

Helpful Anosmia Tips Series

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The information contained in my blog posts, stories, memes, webcomics, science articles, drawings and future content, is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, it is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only.

By accessing this site, you assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information. My website, www.girlwhocantsmell.com’s purpose is to share my OWN personal experience growing up with congenital anosmia. Not as a guide as to how anosmics in general, live their own lives.

Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider before starting any new treatment or discontinuing an existing treatment. Talk with your healthcare provider about any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Nothing contained in these topics is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment.