Every home has a particular smell. Sometimes it’s the pleasant scent of citrus, flowers, and candles. Other times it’s a strong whiff of pets, sweaty sneakers, and a dirty garbage disposal. And while you may think your house smells just dandy, there’s a chance you’ve become accustomed to your home’s unique potpourri.
And there’s a term for that: nose blindness, which simply means you’re so used to a smell that you’re no longer aware of it.
“Many times, people will go nose blind to the smell of their own house because they live and breathe there each day,” saysLeanne Stapf, chief operating officer of The Cleaning Authority. “So you always want to make sure you are cleaning thoroughly and eliminating any odors that might plague your home.”
Every real estate agent knows the trick of baking cookies before an open house. But if a home’s emanating an odor, freshly baked snickerdoodles can’t cover it up. So here’s where sneaky smells come from and how to keep your home clean and stench-free.
Sweat-soaked workout equipmentPhoto by Boyce Design and Contracting
You go hard on that elliptical, and your sweat-drenched mat underneath smells as a result.
“For metal items, wipe them down with an antibacterial wipe,” says Stapf. “For other articles, such as mats, pads, or gloves, follow the same approach as with your workout clothes.”
Stapf recommends soaking gear for 15 to 20 minutes in a white vinegar and cold water mix, followed by a washing with a gentle detergent.
“Just be sure to check the cleaning and washing instructions for the item so as not to damage it,” adds Stapf.
Putrid air-conditioning ventsPhoto by Ernesto Santalla PLLC
With the summers bringing scorching temps, you couldn’t (easily) survive without air conditioning. But long-term use could trigger some massive stink.
“There are three common air-conditioner smells that should never be ignored,” saysMark Dawson, who serves as chief operating officer at both One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning and Benjamin Franklin Plumbing. “They include a burning metal or plastic smell, a scent of sulfur or rotten eggs, and finally the odor of moldy, stinky socks.”
Each smell signifies potential danger to you and your central air system.
“It’s either mold and mildew, bacterial build-up, mechanical issues, or a natural gas leak,” says Dawson.
For a stink-free home, be sure to replace air filters every two to three months, depending on the number of people and pets in the household. And have a licensed technician clean your air ducts every three to five years.
Musty bedroom smellPhoto by Schwartz and Architecture – Discover bedroom design ideas
We all dream of bedrooms that smell like fresh linens. But sometimes, we encounter a nightmare in the form of an old, decaying smell that’s coming from the mattress.
“Deodorize your mattress by sprinkling baking soda over the entire surface, and let it sit for a few hours,” says Stapf. “If the weather is nice, open your windows and let it air-dry while the baking soda seeps in. Once complete, vacuum it well to ensure all remaining debris is gone.”
Dusty old curtains
Claim your home to stay up-to-date of your home‘s value and equity.Photo by Kim Nichols
Curtains can beautify a home, but the fabric can capture and harbor lingering smells.
“Curtains can hold quite an odor, but there’s a simple and effective fix,” says Stapf. “Run them through a cycle in the washing machine every season or so. Then, for stronger scents, you can opt to send them to the dry cleaners for additional cleaning.”
Sewerlike sink drainsPhoto by Westheimer Plumbing & Hardware
Do you have a sink that reeks no matter how much you clean it?
It could be bacteria in drains that cause something known as a biofilm buildup. Deep cleaning and maintenance can help. Wipe out mildew and stains, and use an old toothbrush to clean areas that are difficult to reach.
“A sign there is a much deeper problem in the sewer system is when the same smell is coming from multiple drains in the home,” says Dawson. This could be a problem deep in your pipes and warrants calling a plumber to investigate.
Funky mudroomPhoto by Board & Vellum
With the amount of foot traffic your mudroom gets, it’s no wonder it reeks of sweaty socks and stinky sneakers. Of course, you can wash socks, but shoes need a bit more work.
“Create a mixture of vinegar and water, spray the inside of any shoes that are sitting in the room, and then let dry,” says Stapf. “This will help hide any odor throughout the room.”
Stale closetsPhoto by apartmentjeanie
Sure, your color-organized closet looks neat, but clothes that have been hanging too long without being cleaned can emit odors that can cramp your style. If laundering your clothes more often doesn’t do the trick, investigate other culprits.
“Closet odors can often occur due to a buildup of dirt, especially on a carpet,” says Stapf. “To clean, sprinkle some baking soda on the floor and let it sit for a few minutes before vacuuming it up.”
You can also place scented bar soaps and dryer sheets in your closets.
Chlorine smell from your poolPhoto by Unified Real Estate Services
Does an overwhelming chlorine smell waft from your pool? It’s likely chloramines in the water, which are chemical compounds that occur when chlorine disinfectants combine with substances like sweat, oil, skin cells, and urine.
Stewart Vernon, founder and chief operating officer of America’s Swimming Pool Co., suggests regular maintenance to ensure your filtration system properly disinfects the water. And with regular care, your pool will need fewer chemicals.
“Remember, it’s best to shower before entering the pool to reduce the amount of dirt and foreign substances interacting in the water,” says Vernon.