Check These 8 Problem Areas, If Your Home Smells Funny

When you walk into the lobby of a high-end hotel, you will smell a very fresh, citrusy scent. Do you ever wish your house smelled like that and wish you knew how to make it smell nice?You might dream that your home has a signature scent that makes it feel clean and safe, but sometimes life (and reality) gets in the way.

Whether it’s a smelly dishwasher, a strange smell coming from the shower drain, pets, kids, or even moisture you don’t want, there are many smells in everyday life that can make your home smell bad. If you can’t figure out where that awful smell is coming from, you might find the source where you least expect it.

Your Trash Can

This one seems obvious, since trash stinks. Over time, little spills and crumbs can build up and make your trash smell bad, even after you take out the trash bag (you should empty the trash regularly, of course). Use Febreze AIR, which gets rid of odors instead of just covering them up, to get rid of the smell right away. It gives your kitchen a quick burst of freshness to clear the air.

Abe Navas, general manager of the house cleaning service Emily’s Maids in Dallas, Texas, says to spray the can with bleach that has been diluted and let it sit for a few hours. This will clean the can well. Use a lot of water to rinse it, and then use soap to clean it.

Jennifer Snyder, the owner of Neat as a Pin Organizing & Cleaning in Waco, Texas, says that another solution is to set aside one trash can for “dirty trash” and take it out every day, even if it isn’t full.

Your Pets

They are a big part of the family, but they can get smelly just like people. Navas says, “When their hair falls out, bacteria grow, and things could get gross very quickly.” To fix this, give your pet frequent baths and clean their sleeping and eating areas once a week with soap and water (no harsh chemicals). Also, vacuum under beds and couches to keep hair (and smells) from building up there.

Your soaked clothes

Navas says you shouldn’t put your dirty clothes basket in your bathroom. Instead, put it in your bedroom or another closet that doesn’t get wet from showers and baths. “When it’s damp, bacteria grow, and that’s what makes the place smell,” says Navas. If your clothes are dirty and wet, do the laundry right away.

Your Bedding

Snyder says, “We’ve all heard that we can’t smell our own home because it smells like us.” Isn’t that gross? Your sheets are a big problem in this case. If you don’t wash them often, they get full of your own body oils and dirt. Snyder says to wash your sheets once a week if you shower in the morning and twice a month if you shower at night.

Your top-loading washer

Ron Shimek, the president of Mr. Appliance, a neighborly company based in Minneapolis, says that mold can grow on appliances that are always in contact with water. Mold is a great place for smelly bacteria to grow. “Every time you open and close the washer’s door, moisture from each cycle gets caught in the seal,” he says. Mold and water can also grow in the drawer that holds the detergent. To stop this from happening, you should always leave the door and detergent drawer open for a few hours after your last load. And if you find mold, wipe it off with a mixture of equal parts white vinegar and baking soda.

Your Dish-washing Machine

Like your washer, this is a common place for mold and odors to grow. “Its warm, damp environment is like heaven for mold spores, especially when there are food particles left over from your last cycle,” says Shimek. Fix it by running a dry-heat cycle with no food in it on a regular basis to clean the inside, including the silverware basket, filter, panels, and door gasket. If your silverware basket gets moldy, take it out and soak it for 30 minutes in a mixture of bleach and warm water in the kitchen sink. Rinse it well before putting it back.

Your Garbage Collection

This is another common source of odors in the kitchen. Dana Kofsky, the founder of Wellness Styled and a wellness expert in Los Angeles, says that the easiest way to avoid this is to make sure that the inside of the garbage disposal is clean. Sometimes grime can get stuck under the drain. You can buy deodorizers for your garbage disposal from companies like Plink, or you can do it yourself by grinding a few thin strips of lemon, lime, or orange peel in the disposal. Kofsky says that this not only keeps the drain clean but also gets rid of odors and gives your kitchen a fresh citrus scent.

Your new things

You might think you love the smell of your new couch, just like you love the smell of a new car, because it smells, well, new. But, says Bart Wolbers, founder of Nature Builds Health, that smell is probably caused by volatile organic compounds (VOCs). “Many people don’t know that the level of toxins inside can be 10 times higher than outside,” he says. “One reason for this is furniture.”

VOCs can smell bad, and they can also be bad for your health: The EPA says they can cause headaches, irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, and even more serious problems like damage to the liver and kidneys. The best way to get rid of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) is to buy an air purifier with a carbon filter. Wolbers says, “You may want to get your money back” if any item in your home, like furniture or mattresses, has a strong smell that doesn’t go away after a month.