Everyone wants to enjoy a fresh, tidy home, but sometimes, no matter how much we clean, lingering odors won’t go away. Don’t resort to masking a bad smell with scented candles or air fresheners. Figure out the source of the problem and solve it. Here are five common causes of bad odors in the home – and how to fix them.

1. Pet Odors in the Home

Whether you have a dog, cat, reptile, or rodent as a pet, they can all contribute to foul odors in your home if they’re not properly cared for. Regular cleaning and maintenance are key to preventing pet odors, including bathing or grooming your pet and cleaning its cage, tank, or litter box. If you don’t have time to groom your animal, a professional pet groomer or pet-sitting service can help. Vacuum and mop your floors often to remove pet hair that may contribute to bad odors.

2. Musty Smells

Musty smells may be due to mold or mildew growth in your home. These fungi thrive in damp, dark places, so if you’ve had recent flooding or water leaks, that could be the source of the problem. To eliminate musty smells, thoroughly clean and disinfect the affected area. Once you’ve done that, use a dehumidifier to reduce the moisture in the air and prevent mold growth.

3. Smoke Odors

Smoke odors from cigarettes, cigars, fireplaces, and cooking can be tough to eliminate. To remove smoke smells from your home, open the windows and doors to promote air circulation as much as possible. Try using an air purifier with a HEPA filter to trap smoke particles and freshen the air. If the smoke odor is in fabrics like clothes or upholstered furniture, you may need to have them professionally cleaned or replaced entirely.

4. Odors in the Home: Sewage Smells

Clogs in your home’s plumbing system may cause sewage smells. If you suspect this is the source of an odor, call a plumber so they can locate and fix the issue before it gets worse. In some cases, sewage odors are due to dry traps – the U-shaped pipes under sinks designed to prevent sewer gas from entering your home. To fix this problem, pour a cup of water into each drain once a week, so they don’t dry up.

5. Garbage Odors

If the in-sink disposal starts to smell, there’s an easy fix: add a few ice cubes and a handful of salt, then turn on the disposal and let it run for a minute or two. You can also grind citrus peels (like lemons) in the disposal to freshen things up.

If your garbage can smells terrible even after you take out the trash regularly, try sprinkling baking soda on the bottom before adding a new bag; this will absorb odors and keep the can fresh. Clean the garbage bins regularly by washing them with soap and water every few weeks.

Foul odors in your home can come from many different sources, but you don’t have to tolerate them or mask them with artificial fragrances. Take care of your pets, clean areas prone to mold growth, and keep an eye on your plumbing system to avoid unpleasant odors.

Redtail Building Services offers inspection services to homebuyers and sellers in Southeastern Virginia. Contact us to schedule an appointment.