What’s That Smell?

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Hi guys! This week, let me take you through this hypothetical situation. You’ve made some changes and implemented a cleaning schedule into your daily routine. You’re feeling good, the house is looking great, but something is off. It looks clean, but for some reason, it has a stale smell. But it’s weird because if the house has been cleaned, then it should smell clean, right? Well…

There are actually a few reasons why a cleaned house may not smell so fresh and few telltale places that are the usual culprits.

1) Carpet and Area Rugs

Regularly vacuuming your carpet and rugs get the dirt out and help keep allergens at bay, but it is a soft surface that can harbor odors. An easy and affordable way to deodorize your carpet is to use a little baking soda. Sprinkle a little on your carpet and let it sit for about 15 minutes before you vacuum. The baking soda will absorb the odor and leave behind a fresher scent. If you’re able to spring for a little more, consider getting your carpets professionally cleaned once or twice a year.

2) Upholstered Furniture

It’s the same idea here for your upholstered furniture. Again, soft surfaces can harbor odors. If you aren’t already vacuuming your furniture, make it a part of your regular routine. Dirt and crumbs that accumulate on or under cushions need to be cleaned out. Now, I haven’t tried the baking soda method of deodorizing on my couches, but it would be worth a shot. Also, consider fabric refresher sprays after vacuuming to help control odor. And again, get a professional cleaning when needed.

3) Drywall

Believe it or not, drywall is porous and can hold odors as well. If you or someone else smokes indoors or if you keep your pets inside, over time that odor can soak into your walls and the smell will be obvious even if the smoking has stopped or the pets are no longer there. I’ve seen a few different remedies for drywall odor depending on the issue you are dealing with. They range from bleach, ammonia, or vinegar dilutions to commercial odor eliminator solutions. I’ve also seen recommendations for a good quality paint to ‘seal’ the odor since some dilution concentrations or commercial products can damage walls. Do a little research to decide what will work best for your situation, then do a patch test on a small area before putting any product on your entire wall.

Image by ErikaWittlieb from Pixabay

4) Kitchen or Bathroom Trash

Most of us keep a small trash bin in our bathrooms, and I’m sure everyone has a trash bin in their kitchens as well. Let’s face it – trash smells. And that smell can permeate throughout your entire house. Make sure that you’re regularly emptying your trash bins and not leaving them to overflow. If you have food waste to throw out, consider putting it inside of a small disposable bag and freezing it until trash day. Then, it’s not left to rot (and smell) in the trash bin while you wait on trash day to roll around. Put it in your large trash can the morning of pickup. That will also help keep flies from accumulating near your large trash can outside or in your garage, wherever you store it. A few other things that I recommend are to: 1) Use small bags in your bathroom trash. Don’t simply toss things into the bin. It will help keep the bin clean and help reduce the chance of odors lingering after the trash itself is gone. 2) Spray your trash bins with Lysol or an odor-eliminating spray before putting a new bag inside. 3) Place a few scent beads or a cotton ball with a few drops of essential oil inside an empty bin or inside of new empty trash bags to help keep the area smelling fresh. And don’t forget to periodically wash your trash bins and cans themselves.

5) Air Filters

Lastly, don’t forget to regularly change your return air filters inside your home. The filters are designed to help clean the air inside your house by catching and filtering out small particles. Depending on the MERV rating of your filter, it could also be filtering out some bacteria, and remember, some bacteria cause odors. Make sure that you’re using a good quality filter and changing it regularly.

I hope you find these tips helpful! I promise you, they’ll go a long way with helping your living space smell clean and fresh.