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Causes of Bad Smells at Home

Common Causes of Bad Smells at Home

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“I smell the smelly smell of something that smells smelly” 


I’m sure at some point you’ve come across an unpleasant odor in your home, no matter how clean your house looks. Homes, especially older ones can harbor all sorts of unpleasant smells. Some are easy to take care of. Others, not so much. Sometimes, it’s really hard to figure out where the nasty odor is coming from.


Here we give you common sources of bad smells and our tips on how you can get rid of them.

Common Causes of Bad Smells at Home - The Trash Can

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The trash can is the most obvious culprit of bad smells and usually the first place we all check.  Garbage is garbage and it will stink. Bad odors can linger in the can due to crumbs or spills that can build up over time even if you take out the trash bag regularly. 


Odor Busting Tip: 

It’s important to clean the can properly using diluted bleach at regular intervals. After letting it sit for several hours, rinse the can with water and use soap to wash it out. Allow it to air dry before using.


In between cleaning, spray the trash can with a disinfectant spray that eliminates rather than covers up unpleasant odors.

Common Causes of Bad Smells at Home - The Garbage Disposal

Leftover food particles and grease can stick on blades or get trapped underneath the drain. The best solution to this is prevention - make sure that the inside of the garbage disposal is clean, without food remnants. 


Odor Busting Tip: 

Remove bad odors that have built up in your garbage disposal by using garbage disposal deodorants. 


Our DIY tip? Send about a cup of ice down your unit with a half cup of table salt. Turn on the water and turn on the disposal.  


Add some fresh, citrusy scent by grinding a few strips of peel of any citrus - orange, lime or lemon. This not only helps clean the drain but citrus peels are effective deodorizers that leave your kitchen smelling nice.

Common Causes of Bad Smells at Home - The Dishwasher

The warm, damp interior of a dishwasher is a perfect breeding ground for mold and mildew, especially if there are food particles left behind from a previous dishwashing cycle. 

One preventive habit - periodically wipe down the interior.


Odor Busting Tip: 

Place a small bowl with vinegar on the lower rack of an empty dishwasher. Run a normal cycle, selecting extra rinse and hot rinse (if this is an available setting for your appliance unit). Do not add detergent.


Another tip you can try is to regularly run an empty dishwasher using a dry-heat setting to flush out the interior of your washer, including the filter, panels, the door gasket, and the silverware basket. Let the silverware basket soak for 30 minutes in warm water with some diluted bleach if it gets moldy. Rinse well before placing back in the washer.

Common Causes of Bad Smells at Home - The Refrigerator

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Another culprit for funky smells is the refrigerator. Cleaning up any spills immediately prevents odors from developing. It’s also good practice to regularly check the contents of your refrigerator. Throw out any spoiled food and wipe down the interior periodically. 


Odor Busting Tip: 

Activated charcoal or loosely crumbled balls of newspapers placed in the refrigerator and the freezer can absorb any stubborn smells.

Common Causes of Bad Smells at Home - The Carpet

Given the amount of traffic your carpet gets, it’s no mystery that over time it can acquire a funky odor. Carpeting is notorious when it comes to absorbing bad smells - smoke, pet urine, and food and beverage spills among others.


If you have carpet installed in your home, we recommend having a professional carpet cleaner come in at least once a year for deep cleaning. This will ensure that any deep seated dirt and stains, as well as odors, are taken care of. 


Odor Busting Tip: 

To freshen up carpet in between deep cleaning, baking soda is an effective odor absorber. Sprinkle this over your carpet and allow it to sit for a few hours to do its magic. Vacuum your carpet carefully until all baking soda is removed.

Common Causes of Bad Smells at Home - Pets

Pets can smell, and this can give your home that characteristic pet smell. When pet hair falls out, bacteria multiplies and odors soon follow. Regularly bathing your pets will ensure that they don’t develop unpleasant odors.


Odor Busting Tip: 

To prevent pet smells from getting too overwhelming, make sure to clean the spots where they sleep and eat at least once a week. Use soap and water. Avoid harsh chemicals to keep them safe. 


Vacuum under beds, sofas and any other areas they frequent to avoid hair and odor buildup.

Common Causes of Bad Smells at Home - Bedding

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Another odor offender is our very own bedding. What is bad is that we may not even be conscious anymore of the smell because, well, it smells like our bodies. Bed sheets and pillows absorb our body oils, sweat and dirt. It’s important to change your beddings at least once a week. 


We recommend changing your bedding weekly if you shower in the morning. You can extend this to every two weeks if you also shower at night. 


Odor Busting Tip: 

Use hot water (above 140° F) when washing your bedding to kill any odor causing bacteria. 


Make your own linen spray which you can use to freshen the smell of your sheets between washings. In a spray bottle, combine ⅓ cup of water with 2 tablespoons of witch hazel and 10 drops of your preferred essential oil. Shake to combine and use this to spray your bed periodically. 

Common Causes of Bad Smells at Home - Dirty Clothing

Dirty laundry, especially dirty wet clothes can stink up your room. We recommend keeping your laundry hamper away from your bathroom where the damp environment can encourage odor causing bacteria to multiply. 


If you are going to store your dirty clothes hamper inside your closet, keep doors open to let out moisture.


Odor Busting Tip: 

Making sure to wash your laundry regularly will ensure that your home will not develop bad smells due to dirty clothes.

Common Causes of Bad Smells at Home - Washing Machine

Front load washing machines, in particular, can also be a cause of bad smells. Moisture can build up in the door seal and detergent drawer. This can cause mildew and mold to develop. 


Odor Busting Tip: 

It’s important to maintain your washing machine correctly to prevent odor. Leave the door, as well as, the detergent drawer slightly open to dry everything completely. 


You may use a mixture of bleach and warm water (¾ cup to every gallon of water) to wipe the washer drum and door seal to remove any bad smell that may have developed.

Common Causes of Bad Smells at Home - New Furniture

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Getting new furniture is exciting. But the new furniture smell can be overwhelming and toxic, as well. 


New furniture releases volatile organic compounds into the air that can cause health problems including headaches, eye, nose and throat irritation. For vulnerable individuals, they can even cause liver and kidney damage.  


Odor Busting Tip:

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) cause indoor air pollution. To remove the bad smell, as well as reduce any health risks associated with VOCs, make sure that the room where the new furniture is placed is well ventilated. Turn on the fan until the smell fades. A HEPA filter air purifier is a worthwhile investment.

Common Causes of Bad Smells at Home - Shoes and Wet Outerwear

Smelly shoes, wet coats and any sports equipment you stash in your home can cause bad smells. If you have a mudroom, the smell can hit you as soon as you step inside the door. It’s important to keep your mudroom, or foyer, tidy to keep it from becoming stinky. Wash coats regularly, as well.


Odor Busting Tip:

Baking soda is a useful household item that can keep many unpleasant odors at bay. Sprinkling baking soda inside shoes, allowing it to sit overnight, and dumping it out to the trash the next morning can remove offending shoe smells. Dryer sheets stuck inside shoes can also do the trick.

Common Causes of Bad Smells at Home - Dead Animals

The smell of the decomposing carcass of a dead animal is a smell that can take over your entire home. You can identify the source because it will definitely smell strongest where the carcass is. If it’s located in a place where it cannot be reached, like inside a wall (which is common) better to call in the professionals to handle it.

Common Causes of Bad Smells at Home - Hidden Mold

One of the most common causes of lingering and musty smell in your home (especially if it’s an older home) is mold, usually hidden in the walls.


If the mold growth is under 10 square feet, you can safely clean it on your own.  But there are certain types of mold that are toxic. It’s important to know what you are dealing with so you can proceed cautiously. 


The common causes of molds:


  • Poor ventilation in the kitchen and bathrooms


  • Leaky plumbing or appliances


  • Problems with the gutter


  • Condensation build up in the windows


Odor Busting Tip:

For small, non-toxic mold problems, you can remove the odor by removing the source. Clean the mold with a soap and water solution. You can also use a vinegar or diluted bleach solution. These can be added to water in a spray bottle and directly applied to the mold when you’re doing a clean up.


Read here for household mold prevention tips

We strongly recommend calling in the pros for larger mold problems. 

Five Star Restoration Can Help

Five Star Restoration specializes in water damage restoration and mold control, removal, and remediation. If you suspect a hidden mold problem in your home, be safe and let our trained experts handle it for you.


We have technicians on standby, ready to respond to your call 24/7.


Call us at (951) 368-2227 today. 

Tags: causes of bad smells at home, causes of home odors, bad odor at home, get rid of bad smells at home

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causes of bad smells at home, causes of home odors, bad odor at home, get rid of bad smells at home