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Samir El Fakih
Selector Realty 

What to Do About an Unpleasant Odor in Your House


A bad smell in your home can indicate that your family’s health is at risk. Although air fresheners and scented candles may cover up a smell, at least temporarily, they don’t address the source of the issue. They may also contain ingredients that can cause allergic reactions or that may be toxic.

How to Deal With Offensive Smells

If the source of the smell is something that you can remove from the house, such as rotten food, get rid of it. Once you have done that, one or more of these tips may help you get rid of any lingering odor.

If the weather is relatively warm and pleasant, open the windows. Letting some fresh air circulate throughout the house can help the odor dissipate. 

Baking soda is a simple and effective way to get rid of unpleasant smells. Place an open box in the refrigerator. You can also sprinkle some baking soda in a trash can and bag to keep the smell from becoming overpowering. A mixture of baking soda and water can help you get your bathroom, sink and tile clean and smelling fresh.

To get a foul smell out of a carpet or upholstered furniture, sprinkle baking soda, give it a few hours to work, then vacuum the floor or clean the furniture. If you need to get rid of the smell of urine or vomit, blot the surface, spray a solution of one part vinegar to three parts water and blot the area, repeating as necessary until the offensive smell is gone. 

Activated charcoal can absorb unpleasant odors. Place it in an area that tends to smell bad, such as near a litter box, to keep odors at bay.

If the smell is coming from the kitchen, wiping down the cabinets and countertops with mild soap and bleach may help. Boiling a half cup of vinegar mixed with a quart of water on the stove can eliminate odors in the kitchen, including those caused by burnt food. Heating two parts water and one part vinegar in the microwave can get rid of unpleasant smells there.

If the odor is coming from the dishwasher, it may be due to bits of food and mold that have accumulated. Remove any pieces of food, then run a cycle with a dishwasher-safe cup filled with vinegar on the top rack and nothing else.

Treat an Odor at the Source

Masking an unpleasant smell with air freshener or a scented candle won’t get rid of it. You may not notice it anymore, but guests may. Identify where the smell is coming from and address the source so you can eliminate the odor, not just cover it up.

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