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Stainless Steel odour-removal bar

  1. Nov 28, 2009 #1


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    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 28, 2009 #2


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    Can I sell you a rock that would work just as well? I have lots of rocks.
  4. Nov 29, 2009 #3


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    OK, so one vote for 'no' then?
  5. Nov 29, 2009 #4


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    I'm not voting "no" but I have an equally-viable alternative. Shipping charges will be added to each order.
  6. Nov 29, 2009 #5
    1. I haven't looked up the scientific side of the product.
    2. But I do know that it does help clense the skin from odors.

    How do I know this? I own one :) and it helps relieve my hands from remnants of food that usually would harm my hands after or while I am preparing it.

    P.S. If your wondering about how food harms my hands, well I have severe eczema on my hands which can be irritated by certain foods.
  7. Nov 29, 2009 #6


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    As far as I know they do work.
    My guess is that the metal surface simply works as a catalyst and breaks up "smelly" molecules (such as sulfur compounds). Metal catalysts are often used for this purpose so it is at least a plausible explanation.
    Note, however, that ANY piece of stainless steel (with the usual elements: Fe, Cr etc) should work equally well. Although washing your hand with a fork might be a bit awkward.
  8. Nov 29, 2009 #7


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    Yeah, I think we can all agree with this.
  9. Nov 29, 2009 #8
    That's pretty much what Wikipedia says (and I realise we don't recognise them as an authority around here, but there doesn't appear to be anything even remotely like an authority that knows anything about this -- that's talking on the Interweb, anyway) that the soap shape is pure aesthetic. It also says there are no "plausible....experiments using controls" to reference. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stainless_steel_soap

    I suppose that next time I or anyone else here slices an onion or chops some garlic tries rubbing a stainless steel spoon on their hands while running them under cold water and see. And/or maybe try running one hand under cold water and the other cold water and a spoon and see if the odour is gone from either?
  10. Nov 29, 2009 #9


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    Good post! Any abrasive (even mild) hand rubbing under running water ought to reduce odors from food-preparation, which is why I offered to send Dave a rock (shipping extra) instead of a relatively chemically-neutral SS hunk of metal.
  11. Nov 30, 2009 #10


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    So I could just rub my hands on the stainless steel sink? I think I'll have to give it a try.

    Though, honestly, I don't think I'd be able to tell. I never had any kitchen odors cling to my hands that I couldn't rinse off with plain water in the first place (or at least, none strong enough that my sense of smell could notice them). Perhaps I should give this a try after working in the anatomy labs with odors that even penetrate gloves. Somehow I doubt it's going to be up to that challenge.
  12. Nov 30, 2009 #11
    Yes, Moonbear, you can just rub your hands on the kitchen sink.

    1. finely chop some garlic. Make sure to get some on your hands.
    2. Smell hands. Confirm garlic.
    3. Wash hands with regular soap. Make sure not to rub the stainless steel.
    4. Repeat step 2.
    5. Rub hands on stainless steel. Then repeat step 3 and 4 -- garlic gone!
  13. Dec 1, 2009 #12
    Hrm, okay, I'm going to question one of the steps of your proposed experiment. Why the hand washing with soap prior to using the steel on the offending, odoured hands? The instructions for the steel bar shaped like soap are "run under cold water while rubbing with bar". One would think, then, that the measure is the bar plus water or water alone. Would not the introduction of soap change the parametres of what we're trying to figure out and possibly tamper with the results?

    And, further, what if the repetition of Step 2 didn't render the result of confirming garlic odour? What if the soap I used neutralised that odour?
  14. Dec 1, 2009 #13


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    You'd definitely need the experiment to be more elaborate than this.
    1] Smell is too subjective and subtle and too prone to suggestion to test yourself.
    2] Step 3 in your process will corrupt the results of Step 5.

    1] You'd need an independent sniffer, testing blind.
    2] You'd need multiple subjects, enough to ensure you can get a first-time-around test for both soap and SS, one each.
    3] You'd need a control, who does neither.

    So: 6 tests:
    Subject 1: soap, test, SS, test
    Subject 2: SS, test, soap, test
    Subject 3: nothing, test, nothing, test

    Simply randomize which subject gets sniffed at each stage, record the results.
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2009
  15. Dec 1, 2009 #14
    The handwashing was intended to demonstrate that the effect was the SS, not just soap and water. Garlic is a strong enough smell to be confirmative for this test.

    "I have yet to see any problem, however complicated, which
    when looked at in just the right way, did not become still more complicated."
    - Poul Anderson

    :rolleyes: :rofl:
  16. Dec 1, 2009 #15
    Well if you're going to get all that fussy about it, then we ought to properly document the whole thing, and make sure we can duplicate our results, and then we can submit it to Wikipedia so they'll finally have an information source for this.

    But, no, really. Why the soap? Why are we dragging soap into this? Is the product claim that it's superior to soap? Or simply that the hunk of stainless steel removes odours from skin? If the hunk of metal isn't comparing itself to anything, then why should we?

    Also, why would we have someone do nothing? I understand the need for a control, but would not water on its own be that control, given that that's the only other component that the stainless steel bar admits to requiring? We know that if you rub an onion on your hand and do nothing that your hand will smell of onion. (I'm assuming we know that. We know that, yes?)

    But, yes, yes, yes, we must try. I'll have to remind myself to purchase an onion tomorrow and line up my geriatric neighbours as test subjects. Okay, maybe not tomorrow. I'm going to see a children's theatre group production of Willy Wonka. So, okay, Thursday, then.
  17. Dec 2, 2009 #16


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    I listed what I thought were the minimum requirements to get a good result.

    Good point. But it is not the product making any claims. It is me asking whether it works. I would consider it relevant to know that soap can remove a particular odour.

    What if soap does not remove the odour? Then our results are incomplete. Who is to say anything can remove the odour? The soap serves as a way to "bracket" reasonably-expected results.

    Doing nothing ensures the nose works at all. (For example, if the sniffer got this wrong, then we'd have to toss out the results and get a new sniffer.)

    But you're right, you would have to do more than nothing, you'd have to get the hands wet, otherwise the sniffer would be able to identify that as the control (unless they were blindfolded...)
  18. Dec 2, 2009 #17
    I smell a paper..."Odor ablative effects of metal cleansing agents in patients with Garlicus Oderificus" :wink:

    To soap or not to soap: That is the question:
    Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
    new methods against outrageous 'standards' of the past,
    or to take hands and just evaluate them against nothing,...

    I take back the need to repeat step 3 in my step 5 writeup. This is irrelevant.
  19. Dec 2, 2009 #18
    Baking soda is already excellent at removing odors and cleaning. Unless you have a particular scientific interest in stainless steel just use that.
  20. Dec 2, 2009 #19


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    How does the stainless steel bar clean in between your fingers?
  21. Dec 3, 2009 #20
    Turn it on its side? From what I gather from the pictures of it, it's shaped like a bar of soap. Now, how do you manage to get a stainless steel sink between your fingers?
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