Tuesday, 20 March 2018
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This Old House - Do-it-Yourself

Tired of Household Odours? Here’s 4 Easy Ways to Get Rid of Them

Written by Posted On Tuesday, 13 March 2018 00:42

Its 6pm. You’ve just come home from a long day’s work and cannot wait to spend time with the family. And, that’s when it suddenly hit you… the unmistakable smell of something rotten brewing inside.

Questionable household odours are enough to drive you mad. While some odours are very obvious, others can linger around discreetly and leave you questioning your own sanity, “Did I really smell something?”

The first step to dealing with household odours is to find out where the odour is most present. And search each living area carefully to narrow down the exact source of the problem.

Kitchen Smells

Food waste is a common source of odour and often comes from the garbage bin, kitchen sink, or unwashed cooking dish. Be sure to take out the rubbish and refill the bin with a fresh plastic bag. If the bin hasn’t been cleaned in a while, wash the entire bin with laundry detergent or general purpose spray, and let it dry outside.

If the smell is still around, give the drain a good whiff. Don’t laugh, household sinks are the perfect environment for mildew spores to grow. Luckily, getting rid of mildew is easy. Simply use commercial drain cleaner or pour distilled white vinegar down the drain and sprinkle some baking soda to gently scour the pipes.

Next, it’s time to inspect your fridge. With the amount of use the household fridge gets, it’s very easy to push leftover food to the back and forget about them completely. Unfortunately, expired food will greatly increase the risk of contamination and produce a nasty odour that’ll make you squirm. Check your fresh ingredients like meat, vegetables, eggs and store-bought goods; then, carefully inspect any jars or containers to identify the smell.

Of course, some kitchen odours come from things we use every day. From old kitchen sponges to tea towels and scrubbing brushes, these items get filthy after extended use and must be cleaned or replaced.


Regular maintenance of your dishwasher is important if you want the machine to properly clean your dishes and last for many years.

Over time, grime and scum will build-up in the dishwasher’s internal filter and produce a nasty odour. If the internal filter is coated with oil or grease, this can leave the dishes feeling slippery too.

Most dishwasher filters can be found on the bottom and removed by unscrewing the cap. Refer to your instruction manual if you’re unsure how to remove the filter yourself. Once the cartridge has been removed, run it under hot water, and use a dishwashing brush to scrub off the grime, scum, grease and food scraps.

Pet Stains and Odours

Pets are a great companion to have around the house. However, they’re animals and will make a mess from time to time.

Regularly wash any blankets, sheets, furniture, bedding, and pillows your pets use on a daily basis. If you want to keep away fleas but avoid the use of nasty chemicals – create a vinegar-based flea repellent made from plain vinegar diluted with water (1:3).

Another pet problem is urine stains. Not only are urine stains gross, they can permanently stain the surface if left untreated, and the smell might encourage the animal to repeat the incident in the same spot. Carpet is most susceptible to permanent damage because urine can penetrate the fibres and stain the subfloor underneath.

If you discover a fresh stain, soak up the urine with paper towels and keep removing then re-applying until the area is almost dry. Follow-up the treatment with a quality carpet cleaner and odour neutralizer to get rid of the smell. If the accident occurred on a wooden surface, it may discolour the varnish and will need to be removed then replaced.

To prevent another incident, try make the area ‘unattractive’ (or inaccessible) and encourage them to use their proper bathroom area. Plus, have your pet inspected by a veterinarian to rule out any medical problems.

Mouldy Smells

If you’ve ever lived in an older home or gone to visit an aged relative, you’re probably familiar with the stuffy or musty sensation that lingers around those places. Often caused by poor ventilation, this seemingly innocent smell is often the result of mould or mildew growing on the walls, ceilings, and other discreet areas.

Inhaling mould can have a negative effect on your health. A type of fungus that grows in damp and poorly ventilated places, mould spreads harmful airborne particles that can cause nasal congestion, coughing, wheezing, difficulty breathing, and even trigger asthmatic or allergic reactions. Common parts of the home that are prone to mould growth include the kitchen, cupboards and pantries, bathrooms, and rooms that don’t have windows.

Finding and controlling mould growth is critical if you want to avoid the associated health risks. As mould grows in moisture-rich areas, look in common living areas including the kitchens, cupboards and pantry, bathrooms and laundry rooms.

Once you’ve located the mould or mildew, apply mould killer to the surface and wipe away the solution. If the mould keeps growing, you could have water leaking into the substructure of the property (i.e. rooftop leak, damaged drainage pipe), or you might need to ventilate the area to reduce humidity and condensation levels.

Article provided by OdourPro

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