Why Does My House Smell?

Sometimes, previous owners can leave things behind. And sometimes, those things aren’t tangible items, like plates and furniture. They’re smells. Before you walk away from your dream home, use these tips to pinpoint the source of any odors and be on your way to breathing easy.

Kitchen Leftovers

You might be surprised to know that eliminating many odors is as easy as cleaning out the kitchen cabinets and refrigerator. Before your search gets underway, head to the kitchen armed with trash bags and go through the fridge and all storage areas. It’s easy to miss items in dark corners, and busy tenants or owners may have simply forgotten food during the move-out process. Once you’ve determined that the kitchen is clear, you can check other key areas.

Cigarette Smoke

Cigarette smoke is one of the most invasive, unmistakable odors, and one of the most difficult to remove. The smell from a cigarette can remain airborne months after it’s been lit, and inhaling leftover cigarette odor actually has a name–third-hand smoke. While daunting, removing cigarette odor can be done, and it’s almost always worth it.

The best way to approach stale cigarette smoke odor is to treat the entire house top to bottom, beginning by steam cleaning any carpets to remove residual smoke particles. Walls and upholstery can be chemically treated to neutralize the odors that are associated with smoke, and painting the walls can lock in stains and any remaining smell. Opening windows and doors will also help to purify the air, and there are air filtration machines available which cleanse and purge the home of toxic fumes.

Moisture and Mold

If your home smells “musty,” you probably have a larger project on your horizon. The leading cause of mold, moisture and mildew is water leaks in the roof, walls, plumbing or basement. Air conditioning units and drain lines can also be a culprit. Any of these issues will likely warrant a professional repair.

Insulation issues can also cause excess moisture. If flashings around windows are not properly sealed, condensation can collect and begin to mildew. You should also check freezer and refrigerator doors for sealing issues.

General Deodorizing

If you have decided that your home with olfactory character is right for you, there are simple steps you can take to deodorize a musty house. Zeolite, a natural mineral, absorbs odor without any perfumes or masking agents. It’s completely safe, non-toxic, and lasts up to six months. After that, it is easily rechargeable by heating in direct sunlight or a 250-degree oven for thirty minutes.

Activated charcoal is another powerful detoxifier that is used as an ingredient in many commercial odor removers. It is incredibly reasonable and lasts far longer than traditional air fresheners. Cleaning a musty home with vinegar is not only environmentally friendly, it also helps eliminate the odor from an old house. Baking soda is another miracle ingredient, that when sprinkled in an affected area, soaks up and removes residual odors. Not only does this work in refrigerators, but in any area of the home such as carpets, floors, and even clothing. Sprinkle it on the carpet at night, then simply vacuum in the morning for a fresh, clean scent.

If you’re having trouble pinpointing the source of a smell, call a National Property Inspections team near you. They can inspect your home from top to bottom and identify leaks, roof weaknesses, faulty appliances and more.

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