What’s That Smell? Getting Rid of Common Household Odours

We’ve all been there before: You walk into your home and immediately smell something funky. Your mind starts to race as you wonder what could be causing such a stink. You might even walk around your house, nose in the air, thinking you can sniff it out.

They’re usually found in areas that don’t get a regular cleaning: in the crevasses of cupboards and cabinets, inside the kitchen or bathroom trash can, even near the lost leftovers abandoned at the back of the refrigerator.

To help you on your hunt, and possibly save you from embarrassment when a roommate walks in on you sniffing your trash can, learn from Debra Johnson, a home cleaning expert at Merry Maids, to learn about finding and eliminating household odours:

Find the Source of the Odour

If your home is producing an odd smell, it’s probably a sign that you need to clean. Whether it’s the dishes, the laundry or the refrigerator is up for you to discover.

“Household odours can come from all sorts of places around the home”. “Some of the most common are mildew from damp laundry, garbage disposals or trash cans that haven’t been cleaned or deodorized, or lingering smells from cooking. Unbathed pets and their bedding and litter may also be another source.”

This is by no means a comprehensive list of possibly putrid places in your home, but it’s a start. So now that we know where to look, how do we eliminate the odour? Continue reading.

Get Rid of The Odour

You could light a candle, open a window or even spray down the affected areas, but at the end of the day, you’re covering the odour, not getting rid of it. Treat the cause, not the symptoms.

One common mistake many people make is masking the odour. A candle or room spray may smell nice but won’t prevent the smell from returning.

Instead of suggesting temporary fixes, here are ten common odours you may be experiencing in your home, along with ways to eliminate them: -

  1. Cooking

When you’re cooking a particularly pungent meal, like fish, it is advisable you combat the odour before it even has a chance to settle by using two different kinds of vinegar.

Before cooking, place a few bowls of regular vinegar around the kitchen. The vinegar will help prevent stenches from lingering after cooking. You can also simmer distilled white vinegar on your stovetop after your meal for the same effect.

  1. Trash Can

Baking soda also has your back when it comes to odours. If your trash can is giving you grief, give it a good wash and wipe down, replace the bag with a fresh new bag and sprinkle baking soda inside of it. The baking soda will act as a neutralizer and prevent stinks in your kitchen. Try this in your bathroom trash can as well.

Your dirty dishes might not be the only cause of odours in your kitchen. Kitchen cleaning supplies, like your sponges, towels and scrubbing tools, might have collected bits of food and are now starting to rot and give off a smell. Wash and replace these cleaning supplies as needed. You can also soak dishcloths in bleach water once a week to kill off any bacteria or odours.

  1. Refrigerator

You can also place a jar of baking soda in your fridge to combat any odours from rotting produce, old meat or spoiled dairy. We recommend you first clean out your refrigerator by throwing away unrefrigerated produce or other foods before they spoil, and then filling a mason jar with baking soda, poking a hole in the lid and setting it in the fridge to absorb odours.

  1. Laundry

The best way to avoid mildew odours in your laundry room is by staying on top of dirty laundry (especially damp towels). However, if you’re finding that your clothes aren’t the problem, you might want to give your washing machine a good scrub with hot water and baking soda.

Clean the rubber seal around the machine drum with baking soda, removing any mildew or debris, then pour one cup of baking soda into the washing machine, running it on hot water (without clothes). Fill the fabric softener dispenser with white vinegar and run through a regular cycle.

  1. Bathroom

Other than the obvious odours that might be coming from your bathroom toilet, shower and tub, make sure that every time you take a hot shower you leave your bathroom door open to allow proper ventilation into the room. Lack of ventilation can cause condensation build-up, leaving water on your walls and floors that could cause a mildew odour.

  1. Living Room, Family Room Or Bedroom

When it comes to smelly furniture, carpet and other fabric-based materials in your home, sprinkle baking soda where it smells before vacuuming the area. If you have pets, keep them out of the room until you’ve finished vacuuming.

Regularly dust and vacuum the floors in your home, your furniture and your curtains at least every week so you can remove any dirt or soil that has built up.

  1. Pets

If you have one or more pets in your home, they could be causing the smell. We advise you to regularly wash your pets and keep their bedding and litter boxes clean can help you stay on top of the stench.

  1. Other Odours

Other areas to check around your home are the high-traffic spots where your family spends the most time. Make sure no one in the family is leaving food, dirty dishes or piles of dirty laundry in their room.

Additionally, stay on top of their shoes and sneakers, leaving any outdoor shoes outside or in the garage.

Prevent Future Odours from Occurring

More important than getting rid of the odour is eliminating the chance of the odour coming back. While you can never fully prevent stinks and smells from entering your home, we suggest creating a regular cleaning routine and sticking with it.

Preventing household odours can be much easier than getting rid of them – and a little effort here and there can go a long way.

No matter how much or how often you clean your home, the odour will still find its way in. Just remember to tackle household odours before they get out of hand.

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