What is that Smell? How to Remove Unwanted Smells in Your Home
is that Smell? How to Remove Unwanted Smells in Your Home
There are many
possible reasons why an unpleasant smell lingers in your house. Some smells
signal a possible danger, like mold growth or decomposition, which often
requires professional cleanup. Others, however, are not that serious. Learn
about what may be causing unexpected smells and get the best solutions to
eliminate them permanently below.
If your home has
suffered water damage or high humidity, the musty odor is likely the result of
mold, which thrives in damp, warm, and dark places. Mold also presents several
Mold exposure symptoms
Getting rid of mold
not only neutralizes the odor, but it also defends occupants from mold exposure
health risks. Mold-sensitive individuals may exhibit allergy symptoms, such as
sneezing, runny or stuffy nose, coughing, itchy eyes, wheezing and skin
irritation. Moreover, mold can trigger asthmatic symptoms that include
coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and chest tightness. Mold exposure can
also cause irritant reactions, in which case the symptoms are like those of an
allergic reaction: coughing, runny nose, eye irritation and more.
To properly deodorize
your house, the affected area will need to be dried and the mold properly
Tips to remove mold-related odors
Check the damp places
in your home that could support mold growth. Keep in mind that mold may be
hidden. If you can’t find traces of mold, hire a restoration company — they
have non-invasive moisture meters to find mold that’s hiding behind walls, for
Once you find the
affected area, clean it by scrubbing the surface with a mixture of household
detergent and water. Don’t use bleach, as it only kills live mold, but not mold
spores, leading to faster mold growth. Then, dry the area using ventilation and
dehumidifiers. Make sure the area is dry before doing any repainting or reconstruction.
If the odor comes from
carpet, first fix the humidity issue that causes the musty odor. To deodorize
your carpet, spray it with a mixture of 1 cup of white vinegar and 2 cups of
warm water. Then, pour baking soda on the carpet and wait a few hours. If the
odor persists, repeat the process.
For any mold removal
task, we recommend contacting a professional mold remediation company, such as
Purofirst. Our technicians provide industrial-strength machines and have
extensive mold removal experience. They use dehumidifiers, air-moving machines,
and fans to dry the area, ensuring that mold will not return.
2. My house smells like tobacco smoke
How tobacco smoke affects your home
releases odorous substances that stick to every surface of the area in which
smoking occurs. Cigarette smoke also penetrates more odor-absorbing objects,
such as carpets, upholstery, bedding, clothes, and many more. Additionally, the
HVAC system of a building carries the smoke odor and chemicals throughout the structure.
Tobacco residue is
extremely hard to remove and requires professional equipment and services. But,
if you want to DIY, here are a few tips for cigarette smoke odor removal.
Long-term cigarette odor removal solutions
To eliminate cigarette
smoke odor, you must thoroughly clean the tobacco smoke residue from every
surface and corner in the home:
First, open all
windows and doors to let as much fresh air inside as possible.
Clean or replace the
air filters, furnace filters, and AC filters.
Clean walls and
ceilings using products with ammonia and glycol — two ingredients that
neutralize bad odors. Let the walls dry and check if the odor persists.
If you can still smell
cigarette odor after cleaning, repaint the walls and ceilings with latex paint.
Use a sealant designed to lock in odors before painting.
Clean everything in
the home: floors, windows, carpets, furniture, upholstery, draperies, blinds,
and other household surfaces, fixtures, and items. Hire a professional cleaning
company if the tobacco smoke is too difficult to remove.
Short-term cigarette odor removal solutions
If you want
inexpensive short-term solutions, try these tips:
Use an air purifier in
Sprinkle baking soda
on the carpets, leave it overnight to absorb bad smells, and vacuum it the next
Place saucers of white
vinegar around the house and leave them overnight to neutralize the smell.*
Get indoor plants that
can absorb up to 87% of indoor pollutants.
Place small bowls of
coffee throughout the home.*
Use scented or
Leave orange peels
around the home.*
Place pineapple slices
around the room with all doors and windows closed for 24 hours.*
Place bowls of
activated charcoal around the home.*
*Please be mindful of
where you place these items throughout your home as they may be harmful to
children and pets if ingested.
cigarette smoke odor from a home is a very time-consuming and complicated
process. If the situation is severe, call a professional smoke remediation
specialist, such as Purofirst, to remove the odor.
How professionals remove smoke odor from a
As tobacco residue is
present throughout the entire affected area, removing it is often very
difficult. There is no magic formula that just whisks away residues and smells.
The only effective way
to remove tobacco residue and smell is through very thorough cleaning and then
sealing all structural surfaces. Restoration specialists start tobacco smoke
removal by cleaning all surfaces. The cleanup always includes deodorizing
agents to help eliminate the very tiny particles of tobacco smoke.
Once the technicians
finish cleaning the visible surfaces, using specialized equipment is often
necessary to remove the very last of the odors that are not accessible (such as
inside walls or joints). This will often involve hydroxyl generators or ozone
generators — professional equipment that effectively destroys the smelly
The next step consists
of sealing the surfaces with a product designed to seal smoke residues. These
can lock in the very last of the stains and odors. Finally, the surfaces will
be ready to paint, refinish or apply new coverings.
What about the soft
items? Things such as upholstery, bedding, draperies, and clothes absorb odors
very well and are often easily damaged. Because of this, they are very
difficult to successfully restore and may require specialists. In many cases
though, the decision is made to simply replace these materials and items.
For cigarette smoke
odor removal, call the pros!
To remove tobacco
smoke odors in your home effectively and in the shortest time possible, hire a
professional restoration company like Purofirst. We provide complete smoke
cleaning and sanitation, professional deodorization, as well as duct cleaning
3. My house smells like pet urine or skunk
Skunk spray and
serious pet urine odor are some of the most upsetting when they affect your
home. But although controlling those odors can be difficult, it can be achieved.
Here are tips on how to properly deodorize these odors from a house.
How to remove pet urine or skunk smell
surfaces — If pet urine or
skunk spray is on a nonporous surface, such as metal or plastic, thorough
cleaning is the first step and may be enough. Since the odorous substance
contains natural oils, which is the cause of the smell, you will want a strong
detergent. Using warm water and strong detergent should be effective and should
not take long. After washing the surface, rinse it with warm water. If the
smell is still there, repeat the process. Make sure to rinse with warm water to
clean away any residue left behind.
surfaces — If pet urine or
skunk is on a porous surface, like carpet, particleboard, or upholstery,
cleaning them is also the first step. Clean these as you would a non-porous
surface. These surfaces are more difficult to clean, so if your efforts are not
successful, or if the task is too overwhelming, call a professional restoration
company. Carpet and pad with excessive pet urine damage should usually be
removed and discarded.
surfaces — On semiporous
materials, such as wood, also clean with a solution of water and detergent as
explained above. To help neutralize the odor, the detergent should penetrate
the material. However, if the wood is heavily damaged by urine or skunk spray,
it will most likely need to be disposed of. Seek assistance from a restoration
company to improve your chances of restoring damaged semiporous material.
How to eliminate general pet odors:
Pets need regular
bathing and grooming. Washing your furry friends helps remove odors and dirt,
while frequent brushing prevents shedding hair from reaching your furnishings.
Wash your dog with a
solution of 1 quart of 3% hydrogen peroxide mixed with ¼ cup of baking soda and
1 teaspoon of mild dishwashing liquid. Avoid the eyes and ears.
Empty the cat litter
box, then clean it by pouring ½ inch of vinegar in it and adding some baking
soda. Add water, stir and let it soak for a few hours. Afterward, remove the
liquid, wash, rinse and let it dry.
Regularly clean and
vacuum your furniture and carpets. Make sure to read the instructions and use
cleaning products that don’t harm your animal companions.
A common solution to
removing general pet odors is baking soda. Just sprinkle a small amount of
fresh baking soda on carpets and fabrics in your room, leave it on for 15
minutes (or more), then vacuum it. You can also use baking soda as a substitute
for home air fresheners.
Use air filters to
recycle the air in your household. HEPA air filtration systems are recommended
and change the HVAC filters monthly in order to provide the best air
Clean the objects that
the pets use (toys, food containers, etc.) weekly. Doing so not only improves
the smell in your home, but also your pets’ health.
The odor should
disappear after applying these tips. But if the problem persists, call Purofirst.
Our biohazard cleanup professionals have specialized products and equipment,
such as ozone or hydroxyl generators, that can be very effective in completing
the deodorizing process.
4. How to Deodorize a House Affected by
One of the most severe
smells comes from the decomposition of human or animal bodies. Check out our
tips to remove these odors from your home:
body odors — If the issue
involves a deceased person, get professional assistance. After the proper
authorities have removed the body, cleaning and decontaminating the fluids come
under Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Blood and Other
Potentially Infectious Material (BOPIM) regulations. These regulations specify
the training, equipment, safety issues, and products that must be used to
safely remove and decontaminate an area damaged by BOPIM. Professional
restoration companies follow these regulations to safely decontaminate areas
where decomposition took place.
animal odors — In case the source
of decomposition is a small animal, such as a rodent, the approach is similar
to removing pet urine or skunk spray. Wear protective gear first, clean and
sanitize non-porous and semi-porous material, and discard damaged absorbent
material. Semi-porous and nonporous materials need to be thoroughly cleaned and
then sanitized with a disinfectant. Over-the-counter disinfectants are very
effective and will result in a clean and sanitary surface.
When you’re not sure
what to do when confronted with an odor problem, contact a restoration
professional right away, before the problem worsens. For any odor removal
situation, call your Purofirst.
5. How to remove other smells in your home
Bad odors also linger
in places like the kitchen, basement, and bathroom. They permeate areas such as
carpets, fabrics, and your pets’ favorite spots. Here are budget-friendly tips
for eliminating bad odors from various areas in your home:
the source of the smell. To
truly fix the odor issue, identify the problem and fix it. For instance, fixing
the plumbing could stop the bad smells from permeating your home.
hard surfaces, such as countertops,
tables, hard floors, and walls. Use either your favorite cleaner or a mixture
of half water, half white vinegar.
carpets and fabrics:
For carpets, a simple
way to eliminate odor is to use baking soda, a natural deodorizer. After the
carpet is dry, sprinkle baking soda on it, then allow the baking soda to sit
overnight. The next day, remove the baking soda with a vacuum cleaner.
On upholstery, use
white vinegar to absorb the odor. Fill a spray bottle with white vinegar and
spritz it on the upholstery. Wait until the vinegar air-dries. The strong smell
of vinegar, along with the musty odors, will be gone once it has dried.
Fridge — keep an open
box of baking soda in the fridge to absorb smells. For more efficiency, wipe
down shelves using hydrogen peroxide and a piece of cloth.
Garbage disposal —
grind some ice, then sprinkle Borax down the disposal and rinse it with water.
Fish and other food
smells – boil a cup of vinegar on the stove to release vapors that absorb
smells quickly. Wipe down the cabinets with soap and warm water.
Garbage can — if the
can itself smells, wash it with water and white vinegar. If the garbage smells,
but the can isn’t full yet, remove the odors by dropping some coffee grounds in
Toilet — add 1 cup of
white vinegar into the bowl, wait 5 minutes, then scrub and flush.
Sink drain — mix ½ cup
of bleach and ½ cup of water and pour it down the drain. Let it stand for 1
hour and then rinse with water.
If nothing works, call the odor removal
Following these tips
can help lessen the odors in your home. For professional deodorization services
in homes affected by tobacco smoke, fire, mold, or other causes, contact our
Purofirst Disaster Services is conveniently located to service Jefferson and the adjoining counties, including Southern Indiana. We provide 24/7 emergency water, fire, and mold damage restoration services with quality expertise and 100% satisfaction.