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How to Eliminate Odors in Your Home

Updated on April 15, 2013
Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannie has been writing for HubPages for over 5 years. She covers a wide variety of topics—anything from hamsters to office work.

A Not So Nice Odor

Sometimes your home smells a little stinky. It happens to everyone! Don't be ashamed and don't blame yourself. Sometimes things happen that are not within our power to change. However, there are times when we do contribute to the foul odor. Many different circumstances can lead to some strange and stinky smells in the home. Of course, the biggest question is how do you eliminate foul odors in your home?

Since you obviously can't just ditch your messy kids or get rid of a smelly, yet beloved dog, you have to consider some other solutions. Surely, there are ways to get rid of bad odors without getting rid of some of the pets or people in your life that may be causing the stinkiness.

One Source of My Household Odors:

One Solution to the Odor Issue:

Kaytee Soft Granule Blend Lavender Bedding for Pet Cages, 27.5 Liter
Kaytee Soft Granule Blend Lavender Bedding for Pet Cages, 27.5 Liter

I used to only use wood chips for the hamster cage, but did not find that absorbent enough. I now mix this pleasant lavender scented litter with the wood chips and everything is much better.


What is the Cause?

A good way to tackle the unwanted scent is to determine what is causing it. This is probably the easiest solution if the smell is coming from an obvious source and that source can be removed. I would recommend sniffing around and checking to see if it is coming from one of these common sources:

  • Trash cans
  • Hamper or dirty clothing in laundry baskets
  • Sink or any other plumbing backup
  • Dishwasher not draining
  • Kitty litter box
  • Pet cages
  • Rotten food anywhere in home
  • Dead rodent
  • Old athletic shoes
  • Wet towels thrown in corner of bathroom or bedroom
  • Mold in the bathroom
  • Full ashtrays

If any of this applies to you, get rid of the what is creating the odor or try fixing the plumbing issue. Sometimes just doing the laundry will do the trick. Sometimes just simply taking out the trash or throwing out some rotten food will solve your problem. There is no point in covering up the odor with Febreze when the smell is simply going to continue until you resolve it.

Start Cleaning

If you cannot find the source of the smell or the home in general has a rather nasty smell, it is a good idea to start cleaning. If you have pets, you never know if one of them had an "accident" on the carpet. If you have children, who knows if they had an accident or a spill of some type on the carpet. Furthermore, perhaps this spill occurred on the bedspread or the couch. There are cleaning products that can help.

Febreze is a great product for spraying furniture that is not smelling its best. Lysol is the perfect product for cleaning and disinfecting a home. There are a number of carpet cleaners or even just carpet fresheners you can use on rugs, carpets, etc. Don't forget to use Comet or Scrubbing Bubbles to give the entire bathroom a good clean scent. If you really can't tell where an odor is coming from, a good cleaning from top to bottom in every room might be in order.

If you have pets, try to determine if they need a nice bath. Perhaps Fido needs to stay outdoors in a fenced in yard while you are out. Who knows what he is doing while you are gone? Maybe you need to clean the kitty litter box more often. Have you tried any other brands for litter? That could also be a solution if that is the issue. Also, if you have rodents or rabbits, you can consider adding more absorbent pet bedding or litter to cut down on foul odors. Do you have a fish tank? Maybe you need to clean that out. Perhaps you also need to inspect it and make sure there are no dead fish in the tank. That can cause a pretty horrific odor in a very short time period.

If you are a smoker, obviously, you don't need me to tell you why you should quit. You already know you shouldn't continue smoking. For now, if that is the cause of odors in your home, but you just can't seem to quit, start smoking outside. I know it is a pain, but maybe that will give you an incentive to stop smoking. After all, guests can smell the stench of the cigarette smoke the second they walk in your home even if you can no longer smell it. You can start smoking outside, regularly airing the house out, using Febreze and carpet cleaner in the home, and eventually, the odor will fade away.

When All Else Fails

If you've tried everything to eliminate the odor, but you are still smelling it, you might have to resort to other techniques. Do you have a basement? Is there a leak somewhere? Perhaps there is mold in a spot where you cannot see it. If there is a damp odor, you might want to contact a plumber. If it smells like something died, but you cannot find it, this is a tough one. Attempt to figure out where the smell originates. Is there a dead mouse behind furniture or is it in the wall? You might have to call an exterminator. You could also be forced to do some remodeling or "home repair" on your own to get to the odor.

If none of this sounds like a good option for you, attempting to neutralize the mystery smell is an option. One product I would highly recommend is the Bad Air Sponge. The Bad Air Sponge is non-toxic and completely safe. Believe it or not, the sponge really absorbs odors as opposed to just masking them. I live in an apartment building and there have been situations beyond my control with neighbors. When you share a ventilation system with others, sometimes unpleasant odors are a part of life. The Bad Air Sponge is perfect to sit beside a vent you may share with neighbors and it absorbs odors like smoke, mildew, foul food smells, and stinky pets. Yes, it is expensive, but it makes a huge difference. The Bad Air Sponge also usually lasts for a few months, which is better than the average air freshener.

If you are not interested in the Bad Air Sponge, or your odor issue is not that severe, you might just want to light a candle. Also, an alternative to lighting a candle is buying a tart burner or tart warmer. Yankee Candle has a wonder assortment of tart warmers and many scented tarts for the warmer. It is much safer than burning an actual candle since an electric tart warmer requires no flame. No flame means you do not have to deal with smoke. In general, it is safer and actually healthier for your lungs.

Hopefully, you are now on the road to a healther, stink-free home. Just remember, ventilation is a big help with any odor situation. Sometimes just opening a window and cleaning your home is all that is necessary. Furthermore, if you haven't been running your air conditioner or heat in a while, the air probably is not circulating very well. Simply running the AC or the heat for a bit can also help depending on the system in your home. Good luck to you and good luck deodorizing your home! Never forget, a little Febreze or Lysol can go a long way, too!

What a Stinky Poll!

Does your house ever get a little stinky?

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Submit a Comment

  • Jeannieinabottle profile image

    Jeannie InABottle 4 years ago from Baltimore, MD

    Thanks so much! I am glad you liked it.

  • claudedog1234 profile image

    Jason Smith 4 years ago from Bastrop, Texas

    Great article, full of useful information and voted up !

  • Jeannieinabottle profile image

    Jeannie InABottle 6 years ago from Baltimore, MD

    I know exactly the smell you are talking about. It is so weird. Maybe that is at every apartment building. Hahaha... it seems everyone has a neighbor that cooks something totally digusting. At any rate, the Bad Air Sponge really helps. Thanks for the comment.

  • Jamie Brock profile image

    Jamie Brock 6 years ago from Texas

    Great tips here.. I live in an apt and occasionally smells come up from the drains (it seems)in our bathroom when the guy cooks below and I don't know what he's cooking but it usually smells really BAD.. like something rotting. Anyway, I've never heard of the Bad Air Sponge but it sounds awesome! Thanks for sharing.

  • Jeannieinabottle profile image

    Jeannie InABottle 6 years ago from Baltimore, MD

    I am glad you liked it. Thanks for reading and thanks for the comment!

  • angelaglancy profile image

    angelaglancy 6 years ago from Seattle

    Thanks for the great hub, and the useful tips.

  • Jeannieinabottle profile image

    Jeannie InABottle 6 years ago from Baltimore, MD

    I am glad you liked the hub. Thanks for reading and for the comment.

  • nowickchilly profile image

    nowickchilly 6 years ago

    Great information - love all the ideas. I too like the wickless safe candle solution!