My Home Stinks. What Should I Do?

stinkWhen you are aware of the source of the worst smells in your house, deep cleaning will get rif of them. Usually, the easiest way is to focus on one feature at a time (like carpet or upholstery) and on one room at a time. Thus, your cleaning time will be more thorough and efficient. Unfortunately, most odors will probably spread through the whole house, because of the air ducts and heating systems. So, if you want to know more about some common smell traps and how to tackle them, keep reading.

Area Rugs and Carpeting

You can try DIY steam cleaning, but hiring a pro carpet cleaning service is usually more effective. The reason-industrial machines can heat up the water much higher and suck up more water. Also, the cleaners will definitely have more experience with your particular stains and smells, and can give you experienced advice as to what their equipment will remove or not. For example, serious pet urine may have been soaking into the carpet pad and sub-flooring and this smell source will be impossible to remove in the carpet layer. Sometimes you may have to replace particular sections of your carpeting to ensure a clean underlayment.

Furniture and Upholstery

Food smells and cigarette smoke easily adhere to textile and fabrics. Drapery can be sent to the dry cleaners or you may look for a company that will remove the drapery, clean it and hang it up again. Most carpet cleaning companies will offer to clean the upholstery too (like dining chairs and sofas). Like your carpeting, you’ll always want to assess how deep the smell is-is it in the top layer of the upholstery or within the cushion?

Drawers and Closets

Closets, wood and plastic furniture can generally be disinfected and cleaned, but first you’ll want to empty the contents. Sort through your closets and drawers to remove the objects that might be causing the bad smells and clean them separately. Even when the source of the smell was from one item, it may have affected your other belongings. Once the drawers or closet are empty, start at the top and clean down to the bottom. While doing that, inspect the storage area for water damage, mildew, mold and other potential smell sources. You may have to make repairs, replace or repaint to ensure you’re starting clean.

Cedar planks can be added to drawers and closets as they absorb moisture, can protect your valuables and smell amazing. To remove mothball and musty smells from wood storage pieces, you can place a bowl of baking soda or vinegar inside each drawer, which will absorb the smells. Often you can do a light cleaning using a mixture of diluted water and vinegar to gently wipe down interior surfaces. But first test out an area, as water may damage your wood surfaces.

Attics and Basements

Entire rooms like the attic or the basement should be treated like all other rooms in your home. If any of these rooms have become major storage area, this might take you a while to empty them out and find the source of the smell. The main reason these two places are extra important is that bad smells could be an indicator of a more serious issues (leaking foundation, roof, plumbing or a pest infestation). These problems will not only ruin your items, but they can ruin the structural integrity of your house.

Appliances, Sinks, Toilets

Fixtures and appliances can quickly turn smelly if not regularly cleaned or properly maintained. Fortunately, most can be cleaned pretty easily and the smell will disperse. Kitchen sinks with in-sink garbage disposals can give off bad food smells. You can eliminate food odors by sprinkling baking soda down the drain and flushing it with water. A few small orange or lemon peels thrown in the disposal can also give a fresh scent. When using the garbage disposal be sure you always run the water and don’t use your disposal as a garbage can.

Appliances that use a lot of water (washing machines, dishwashers) can have odors due to food or mold. After using these machines, try wiping them clean with all-purpose spray or plain vinegar.

Toilets can become smelly for obvious reasons. Regular cleaning will help a lot, so will using it properly and keeping it maintained.

Garbage Cans

The best way to keep the smell of garbage from filling up your home is to use a garbage can liner and empty it on a regular basis. When you remove the smelly items, the smell should go away. If garbage has leaked inside the can, you’ll want to clean it out thoroughly with water and soap. Compost bins inside your home can also smell, so be sure to empty them regularly and keep them clean.

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