A foul odor wafting throughout your home can send you running for your favorite air freshener. Yet, even the strongest fragrances are no match for certain home odors. Bad smells happen in even the cleanest of homes, and it is essential to find what is causing it once one has been discovered. If you find your nose wrinkling when you step through your front door, then use this step-by-step guide to do a little detective work combined with some simple home maintenance that will make sure you destroy the odor at its source.
Follow the Scent Trail
As unpleasant as it may sound, you are going to have to rely upon your nose to sniff out the culprit. Begin by trying to determine if the odor is strongest in one room. Bathrooms and kitchens tend to be the most common source of an odor, but you may also find stinky messes in kids’ rooms, the garage and even your closet. As you go from room-to-room, smell the walls, vents, drawers and floor to see where the odor may be hiding. In some instances, you may need to rely upon a professional to find the source of an odor. For example, water damage from a leak could cause mold to emanate a smell in hidden areas of your home such as beneath the floor.
Start with the Drains
The combination of moisture, soap scum, grease, decaying food particles and other debris can create a noxious odor that travels up through your pipes and into your home. Fortunately, stinky sinks are fairly simple to fix. Begin by removing your p-trap, which is the little s-curved pipe located beneath your sink. Here, debris gets trapped, and the stench can travel throughout the entire house once it begins to rot. If you are dealing with a bathroom sink, then you may also need to use a special tool to remove any hair that may have fallen into the drain. Finish up by scouring the sink bowl with your favorite cleaning solution, and your drains should now be odor-free.
Tackle the Garbage Disposal
It’s a no-brainer that any place you stuff food particles might eventually begin to stink. Yet, many people are unaware that following a few simple rules will keep garbage disposal odors at bay. First, avoid pouring grease down the disposal since this tends to clog and turn rank. Second, freshen your disposal regularly by tossing a few orange or lemon peels in and turning it on. If you still have an odor despite these methods, then try adding a cup of baking soda followed by a cup of vinegar down the drain. Let it sit until the fizzing stops. Then, run hot water through the disposal
Eliminate Pet Urine Odors
A home should never smell like a pet store, and the best way to avoid these odors is to make sure your pet is properly housetrained. Still, accidents happen, and you may discover that your home odor is due to urine on the carpets or walls. If the damage is extensive, you may need to replace the flooring, furniture or any other home goods that may have been tainted. However, small pet accidents can be handled by using commercial pet odor removal sprays, or you can try making yours at home. Simply fill a spray bottle with a liter of water, several Tablespoons of brown sugar and some citrus peels. Then, spray the area thoroughly. Let it sit, and blot the excess moisture up with a paper towel. This homemade enzymatic cleaner breaks the odor down at its source, and the citrus can serve as a natural deterrent for future pet accidents.
Clean Smelly Clothes
Whether your teenager leaves their workout clothes in their gym bag for a week or your partner comes home from work smelling foul, a stinky laundry hamper can destroy the scent of a freshly cleaned house. While most clothing odors will be removed with regular washing, there are some times when the long cycle is not enough. For these times, try a prewash soak with vinegar and water. Let the clothes sit for 15 minutes, and wash as normal. This can also help to brighten colors so your clothing will look as fresh as it smells.
Dishwashers, refrigerators and other appliances are subjected to many of the same materials as sinks. Spilled food and other debris can quickly accumulate and cause an odor. Begin by removing any expired food from the refrigerator, and check your appliances for any debris that must be removed. Next, wipe the inside and outside of the appliances down with soap and water. If an odor is particularly strong, then a paste of baking soda and water can be applied to the source. Let this sit, and then rinse carefully so that you do not scratch any surfaces. Leaving a box of baking soda in the refrigerator can help to prevent odors from developing.
Deep Clean Toilets
Sometimes, a daily swish of the toilet with cleaner is just not enough. If you notice your toilet still smells, then it may be time to get down and dirty. Start by tossing any floor mats and seat covers in the washing machine. Then, carefully scrub the seat, lid and inside of the toilet with bleach diluted with water. Once that is done, move to the outside of the toilet where urine may have dribbled down the front and sides. Finish up by scrubbing around the base of the toilet, and allow a cup of bleach to sit in the bowl for an hour. Flush, and enjoy the scent of a freshly cleaned bathroom.
Stopping the smell, before it stops you
When a foul odor persists in your home, it can feel as though no amount of cleaning is enough. Making sure your home has adequate ventilation can help prevent some odors, and responding quickly at the first sign of a stench will keep it from getting worse. With a little effort, you can identify the source of the most common home odors so that you can be confident your home smells company fresh all the time.