Check These 8 Problem Areas If Your Home Smells Funny

August 4, 2019

By starting at the source of the stench, you can enjoy a home as sweet as a summer breeze.

You know that ultra-fresh citrus scent that greets you when you walk into the lobby of a luxury hotel? Have you ever wished your home smelled like this and started researching ways to make your house smell good? You may fantasize about your home having a signature scent that makes it feel like a clean, safe haven, but life (and reality) can sometimes get in the way.

Whether it’s the stinky dishwasher, mysterious shower drain smells, pets, children, or even unwanted moisture, there are many side effects of everyday life that can fill your home with less-than-pleasant smells. If you can’t figure out where that awful smell is coming from, examine these possible causes – you may find the culprit in the place you least expect it.

Your pet.
They’re a very important part of the home, but just like humans, they can get very stinky.” When their hair falls out, bacteria can grow – and it can get nasty very quickly,” says Abe Navas, general manager of Emily’s Maids House Cleaning Service in Dallas, Texas. To remedy the situation, bathe your pet often, and also clean the areas where they sleep and eat weekly with soap and water (without harsh chemicals). Also, vacuum under beds and couches to avoid hair (and odor) buildup.


Your wet clothes.
Navas says, “Don’t leave your dirty laundry basket in the bathroom. Instead, put it in your bedroom or another closet where it won’t be exposed to the steam from baths and showers.” In a humid environment, bacteria can grow, and that’s where the stench comes in,” says Navas. If you have wet, dirty clothes, do your laundry as soon as possible.

Your bedding.
“We’ve all heard that we can’t smell our own home, and that’s because it smells like our bodies,” says Jennifer Snyder, a certified professional organizer in Waco, Texas, and owner of Neat as a Pin Organizing & Cleaning. Gross, right? One particular offender in this case is your sheets, which become soaked in your own body oils and grime when you don’t wash them regularly. Snyder’s advice. Wash your sheets once a week if you shower in the morning, and once every two weeks if you shower at night.

Your trash can.
This one seems obvious – after all, trash stinks. Small spills and debris can build up over time and create bad odors that linger in your can, even when you take out your trash bag (you should empty your trash regularly, of course). To clean the can properly, spray it with diluted bleach and let it sit for a few hours, Navas says. Rinse it with plenty of water, then wash it down with soap. Another solution. Designate a bin as “dirty trash” and take it out every day, even if it’s not full, Snyder says.

Front-loading washing machines
Appliances that are in constant contact with water can harbor mold and mildew, the perfect breeding ground for smelly bacteria, says Ron Shimek, Minneapolis-based president of Neighborly’s Mr. Appliance.” Every time you open and close the washer door, moisture from each cycle gets trapped in the seal,” he says. The detergent drawer can also trap moisture and mold. To prevent this from happening, be sure to leave the door and detergent drawer open for several hours after your last load of laundry. If you find mold, use a one-to-one mixture of white vinegar and baking soda to wipe down the affected area.

Your Dishwasher
Just like your washing machine, it’s a potentially hot spot for mold and odors.” Its warm, humid environment is like a haven for mold spores, especially if there are food particles left over from your last cycle,” says Shimek. Fix it by periodically running an empty dry heat cycle to flush the interior, including the silverware baskets, filters, panels, and door gaskets. If your silverware basket is moldy, remove it and let it soak for 30 minutes in the kitchen sink with diluted bleach and warm water. Rinse it thoroughly before replacing it.

Your garbage disposal.
This is another common kitchen odor culprit. The easiest way to avoid it is to make sure the inside of your garbage disposal is wiped clean, as dirt can sometimes get trapped under the drain, says Dana Kofsky, a health expert in Los Angeles, behind the healthy style. You can buy garbage disposal deodorizer from brands like Plink, or you can DIY and grate a few thin strips of lemon, lime or orange peel into the disposal.Kofsky says this not only helps keep the drain clean, but it also acts as a deodorizer and fills your kitchen with a fresh citrus scent.

Your new furniture
You may think you like the smell of your new couch as much as you like the smell of your new car, because it smells, well, new. But that smell could be caused by volatile organic compounds (VOCs), says Bart Wolbers, founder of Nature Builds Health.” Many people don’t realize that toxin levels indoors can be up to 10 times higher than those found outdoors [and] furniture is one of the reasons for this finding,” he said.

Volatile organic compounds may have a strong odor, but they can also be harmful to your health. The EPA says they can cause headaches, eye, nose and throat irritation, and even more serious conditions like liver and kidney damage. The best way to get rid of VOCs is to buy an air purifier that contains a carbon filter. If anything in your home – from furniture to mattresses – still smells strong after a month, “you may want to get your money back,” says Wolbers.