De Odor Works product review – can a slab of stainless steel eliminate body odor?

De Odor Works is a stainless steel … object, for lack of a better word, which claims to be able to eliminate all bodily odors with nothing more than running water. I have trouble believing this could be true, but hey — I’m still totally interested. If it works, it could be really helpful on trips to regions where toiletries are hard to come by, and possibly replace some of the everyday de-odorizing potions like foot odor spray or even anti-perspirant. Right? Well, let’s give it a whirl!

From the manual:

“Body odor comes from bacteria growing on the body. These bacteria multiply rapidly in the presence of sweat (which is odorless). Body odor may be present in your under arm, feet, groin, anus, genitals and public area. What one smells is the bacteria multiplying on the skin in the presence of sweat. Washing with soap and water does not eliminate these odor-causing bacteria but using De Odor Works with tap water will remove the odor.”


Scientific test time. As directed, I took a shower and rubbed this stainless steel thingamajig under my underarms for thirty seconds at a time, as well as on the soles of my feet. Now, all I have to do is wait.

…Two Hours Later…

After some regular activity (washing the dishes, running across the street for beer, playing with the cat), I checked the status of my underarms and feet. Normally, I use Tom’s antiperspirant/deodorant, and after using De Odor Works, I went au naturel. Did this work? Unfortunately … not really. Also, I took off my socks and shoes and gave my feet a good sniff. The verdict: a little stinky. Not overwhelming, but it was only two hours. I’d achieved enough activity to make my socks a little damp and the smell was definitely in the “no rewearing these” family.

One could argue that it’s the bacteria in my sweater and my socks that caused the stench. To this, I say “fine,” but then what’s the point of the De Odor Works? Bacteria is everywhere. And, bacteria is normal and sometimes even healthy.

My husband brought a phenomenon I didn’t know about to my attention: stainless steel “soap”. Basically, certain companies claim that stainless steel neutralizes the odor of fish, garlic and onions from your hands while you’re cooking. De Odor Works seems to be based on the same principle; that somehow the chemical makeup of stainless steel neutralizes the chemical makeup of the odor. Here’s what they told me:

“Its secret is the unique reaction that occurs when ordinary running tap water and stainless steel combine to neutralize odor. Using stainless steel with running water is a recognized method of eliminating the volatile sulfur compounds (VSC) that cause odor. Stainless steel is biocompatible to human tissue, so you can use De Odor Works anywhere on your body without any adverse effects.”

All in all, I have to cry “bunk” on this. It seems like it didn’t work, and it doesn’t seem all that plausible to me in the first place. I’m sitting here wondering if I did it wrong when the truth of the matter is that this is probably ridiculous. Sorry, De Odor Works. I just don’t buy it.

Photo by Annie Scott.

Suite Arrival delivers travel size products directly to your hotel

Suite Arrival is a new company in the travel world. The firm operates an online store that specializes in travel size products.

The idea behind Suite Arrival is that you pre-order any travel products you need, and have them delivered directly to your hotel. The assortment of products offered by Suite Arrival includes everything from candy to condoms, shampoo, oral care and more.

Now, the concept seemed rather odd at first, but then I thought back to the times I had to scramble to visit a drugstore just to buy the few products I needed on an upcoming trip. Obviously, paying someone else to pack and ship your toiletries is not going to be an economic option for everyone, but if saving a trip to the drugstore is worth $30, you may appreciate the service.

The process of ordering is very simple – you can completely customize your order, with the brands and products you need, or you can use the Suite Arrivals assistant to pick products, and assemble your own “arrivals kit”. In the “His Arrival” kit, you can select shampoo, shaving products, a toothbrush and toothpaste, snacks, deodorant and more. The Price for a well stocked mens kit is around $25 plus shipping.

Now, this is obviously about $5 more (including shipping) than what you’d pay for the products at your local Walgreens, but with Suite Arrival, you don’t waste time shopping, and you don’t need to worry about packing the products to clear the security checkpoint. Since the TSA only allows a single ziploc bag of toiletries, shipping them to your hotel is a great way to reduce the hassle of the checkpoint. Best of all, the lineup lets you pick from budget products and upscale brands, so if you know in advance that the shampoo at your hotel sucks, you can deliver something much better.

I assembled a kit with a variety of products, and received it two days later, exactly as ordered, with a couple of bonus products – a bottle of 5-hour energy and a Boingo 15 minute WiFi access card.

As I mentioned earlier, there is no way a once-a-year traveler can justify the luxury of ordering travel products online, but if you are the kind of traveler that heads to the airport every Monday morning, and regularly forgets where the flight is heading, you may be able to make life on the road a bit easier with Suite Arrival. Of course, having access to an expense account could make things even easier to justify. Orders can be placed at or through their 24 hour customer service line at (801) 784-8399.

After thinking more about the target audience, I really like the concept, and I love the massive assortment of travel products. Suite Arrival carries so much more than the local drugstore, and may even have products you’d want to have delivered to your home, for an upcoming trip.

Searching for travel-size sunscreen

It really shouldn’t be that hard, but finding the right travel-size sunscreen is one of my least favorite things to do before a trip. Though it’s often more cost-effective to go for the larger bottle, sometimes all I need is a small tube for a quick beach trip or weekend getaway.

Unfortunately, my local drugstore never seems to have the size I need in the brand that I prefer. Yes, you can easily find a 1 oz. tube of Banana Boat SPF 30 on for 90 cents, but shipping is $4.67. No, thanks.

So I find it refreshing to learn that last month, Neutrogena rolled out a men’s line with 1.7 oz. sizes. (See the black tube in the center of the photo). I’m told there are plans to add even more travel-size versions of its skincare products by the fall. Small innovations, but a surprisingly big help when it comes to last-minute packing. Since a 1 oz. tube doesn’t last long enough and a 3 oz. bottle hogs all the space in a Ziploc bag (how can anything else fit?), I welcome the happy medium of 2 oz. or 2.5 oz tubes. And if these travel-size sunscreen tubes become easier to find at the drugstore, perhaps I can finally stop my hoarding.

Other travel-size sunscreen solutions

Find reliable D.I.Y. containers
I usually end up filling up a travel-size container with sunscreen (lately I’ve been using these squishy GoToob bottles). But I know it’s just a matter of time until the contents explode in my carry-on bag.

Consider sunscreen sticks or sunblock wipes
I’m not a huge fan of sunscreen sticks or sunblock wipes (so far), but I’ve resorted to packing them in a pinch. To be fair, I think I could grow to appreciate these travel-friendly products, especially whenever I end up with a spilled bottle of sunblock all over my stuff.

Buy your sunscreen on arrival
After running out of sunblock, who hasn’t shelled out for an overpriced bottle? Save yourself the trouble of packing a travel-size tube and just plan to pick up a bottle at the drugstore once you get off the plane. Just don’t be surprised if the $8 bottle at home now costs double. Justify it this way: Is buying some toiletries at your destination still cheaper than paying the checked luggage fee?

Mooch off someone.
You’re either the ultimate cheapskate, or you’ve cleverly worked out an arrangement with your travel partner(s). “You bring the sunblock; I’ve got the toothpaste.” Personally, I don’t mind sharing my sunblock, but I’ve noticed that some people can be very picky about the SPF (30 or 100?) or sunscreen formula (sport, waterproof, sweat-proof, scentless, no-grease, etc…). Ok, so maybe I’m one of those people.

Got any other sunscreen tricks?
I’m all ears.

[Image Credit: Amy Chen]

Ten creative things to do with hotel bathroom amenities

When your travels regularly take you to hotels, you’ll no doubt have a collection of small amenities. I’m pretty weird, because I’ll take whatever I can get. Of course, with the TSA liquid rules, the amount you can take back home is limited, but if you are traveling by car, or checking bags, there is almost limit to what you can collect.

Here are ten fun things you can do with hotel toiletries – from helping others, to being super cheap…

Donate them
This is my favorite thing to do with hotel toiletries.Check out the Yellow Pages or Google, and find local shelters. From experience, I know that Womens shelters always appreciate good quality amenities. In some cases they’ll ask for them to be dropped off at a public location, but they’ll always go to a good home.

Gifts bags/ Souvenirs

Got someone you’d like to treat to a little something nice? Buy a gift basket or bag at the local craft store and create a fragrant gift set. With the right brands, they’ll think you spent a fortune on them.
Stocking stuffers
Christmas is still 5 months away, but it doesn’t hurt to put some products aside as stocking stuffers. Good brands are perfect gifts for teachers or anyone else that deserves a little holiday cheer.

Sell them
If you snag some really good amenities, or something exotic, check Ebay or Craigslist for prices and list your own stuff for sale. Some hotels provide really upscale brands which can easily sell for $10 each. You’d be amazed how much you can get for a weeks supply of L’occitane products from the Four Seasons.

Use on other trips

At home, I’ve always got a couple of spare TSA approved 3-1-1 baggies filled with basic amenities. This way, if I have a last minute trip, i just grab a baggie and head to the airport. Since all the bottles are already within the TSA approved size, you won’t need to worry about being shot for violating the liquid rules.

Use in guest bathroom at home
Don’t waste money on toiletries for guests, simply give them a couple of good hotel products.

Use in your own bathroom (cheap!)
What’s good enough for your guests should be good enough for you. Pick the best brands, and use them yourself.

Refill larger bottles
This takes being cheap to a whole new level, but you can empty hotel toiletries back home and refill your own larger bottles.

Drawer liners
Peel a corner off the hotel soap bar and use it as a drawer liner. Just be sure to pick good scents, or all your stuff will smell like industrial strength hotel soap.

Corporate bathroom or desk (Toothpaste, mending kit)

Stock up on mending kits, toothpaste and other toiletries at the office, and you’ll be the hero of your cubicle. The Pepcid was indeed an amenity – on a cruise ship of course.

Got any of your own ideas? Leave them in the comments section below!

Use contact lens cases to transport gels and lotions – Packing tip

Contact lens cases with screw-on lids make great travel accessories. When you want to take small quantities of hair gel, sculpting wax, eye make-up remover, an essential oil, Aloe Vera, or under-eye cream, you can’t beat contact lens cases. They’re small. They don’t leak. They can hold one week’s worth of lotion or gel in each little section.

If you don’t already own spare contact lens cases, you can buy them at most stores for less than a few dollars.

Related: Use a pill box for jewelry

[Photo: Flickr | Lee J Haywood]