The human nose can distinguish thousands of different smells. People who can distinguish and compare smells successfully may be able to find work as odor judges. This is a highly specialized field, and it contains specialized sub-categories. Because odor judges often test the effectiveness of odor-reducing products, the smells involved with this line of work may be unpleasant.
People with sensitive noses can make a living as odor judges. Possible employers include manufacturers of products designed to reduce, mask or eliminate odors. Mouthwash companies, for example, employ odor judges to detect halitosis. Judges also have evaluated animal breath as part of scientific research or to test pet-related products. Businesses may call on judges to determine the effectiveness of cat litter or shoe insoles at controlling unpleasant smells. The salary in this field ranges from $19,000 to $52,000 a year, varying with experience and seniority.
Armpit sniffers work for deodorant companies. They may spend their days in a hot room sniffing up to 60 armpits an hour to determine the effectiveness of deodorant in controlling sweaty smells. Armpit sniffers write up the effectiveness of the different deodorants involved. The work requires both a good sense of smell and a willingness to smell someone else's sweaty body. Procter and Gamble, which markets several deodorant brands, treats salaries for all employees, including sniffers, as confidential information.
Paper Towel Sniffer
Paper towel companies want their towels to be odorless. That means not only manufacturing them to be scent-free but also ensuring that they don't develop scents as a reaction to the mess that's being wiped up. The human nose can determine if there are any smells coming from the towel before, during or after its use. Job opportunities are limited, and there's little information available about salary averages.
A halitosis judge uses her nose to determine the extent of an individual's bad breath, such as detecting the sulfides that develop in a patient's breath if there's decay or other dental problems involving the teeth or gums. Mouthwash companies employ odor judges to evaluate the effectiveness of different mouthwash formulas. Gas chromatography tests are more accurate but also more expensive. Like Procter and Gamble, the makers of Listerine mouthwash declined to provide breath-sniffer salaries.