Odor Absorbent Dressings

Wound odor is caused by bacteria residing in necrotic wound tissue and it can be an embarrassing problem for both patients and caregivers. Odor from certain types of wounds cannot be avoided. But controlling it is possible with odor absorbent dressings so that the odor does not become overpowering and escape into the environment. These dressings are designed to control or neutralize the odor emanating from malodorous wounds such as surgical, traumatic, cancerous or gangrenous wounds, leg ulcers and pressure sores.

How odor absorbent dressings work

Odor control wound dressings contain ingredients that absorb the volatile molecules released from the malodorous wound. Odor absorbent dressings are multi-layered and usually have an activated charcoal cloth layer targeting odor absorption.The activated charcoal layer neutralizes offensive odors from fungating or infected wounds. It absorbs the bacteria and toxins. Combining it with an antimicrobial enhances the odor-control nature of the dressing.

Odor control dressings are also developed with other elements like cyclodextrin technology which absorbs and traps odor-producing molecules.

Features of odor control dressings

Odor absorbent dressings are highly conformable and absorbent. These dressings soak up exudate leaving a moist wound surface optimal for fast recovery. Odor-producing wounds are:

  • Pressure ulcers
  • Venous ulcers/foot/leg ulcers
  • Donor sites
  • Partial/full thickness wounds
  • Laceration/abrasions
  • Low-to-moderate exuding wounds
  • Partial thickness burn/second degree burn
  • Superficial burn/first degree burn
  • Moderate-to-high exuding wounds
  • Surgical/post-operative wounds

Types of odor absorbent dressings

CarboFlex charcoal dressing from ConvaTec has five layers of odor-adsorbent material and creates a gel in the presence of drainage. CarboFlex odor control dressing is non-adherent and permits pain-free dressing change. Medline Exuderm OdorShield sacral hydrocolloid dressing uses cyclodextrin technology to absorb wound malodor.

The Biomedical Sorbian dressing from Alliqua is an odor control dressing. It works on hydration response technology that manages exudates and readies the wound bed for healing. This dressing effectively locks in bacteria and reduces odor.


There are odor absorbent hydrocolloid dressings and non-adherent odor control dressings. Choose from sterile odor control dressings, latex-free odor absorbent dressings and waterproof odor control dressings from top brands like Exuderm and CarboFlex.

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