These Overlooked Areas are Making Your House Stink

Nobody wants to live in a stinky house, but bad odors can occur even if you have a stringent cleaning routine. Bacteria and mold (the cause of most unpleasant smells) can hide in the most inconspicuous places, making it hard to wipe them out. If you’ve recently noticed a stench when you enter your front door, it could be from one of these hidden causes.

These Overlooked Areas are Making Your House Stink

High Humidity Levels

High humidity levels are common in the summer, especially in basements. If your home has a musty smell and often feels stuffy, you may suffer from excess humidity. Optimal indoor humidity levels range from 30-50%. Humidity above 50% leads to mold and mildew on organic surfaces like drywall, which causes musty smells.

Prevent odor from excess humidity by running a dehumidifier in your home. You can also open the windows and use fans to help circulate the air.


Bacteria-Filled Sink Drains

Organic matter like food particles and hair go down kitchen and bathroom sink drains. When not properly flushed out of the drain (as with many garbage disposals), bacteria builds up, causing foul odors. You may notice these bad smells when you walk past the sink or run your dishwasher.

Use a three-step method to rid your drains of odor-causing bacteria and flush out lingering particles. Start by boiling a large pot of water and then dumping it down the drain. After a few minutes, add one cup of baking soda to the drain and then dump in one cup of white distilled vinegar. Cover the drain and let the combination fizz for ten minutes. Boil another pot of water and pour it down the drain to wash everything away.

In the future, keep your drains from producing bad smells by running the garbage disposal an extra thirty seconds longer than you usually do and running water through each sink at least once per week to prevent the release of sewer gas.


Garbage That Sits Too Long

If you throw away food scraps, diapers, or other organic matter, take your trash out every day. Trash that sits too long will produce foul odors. The only remedy is to take the garbage out more often.


Undetected Mold or Mildew Growth

Sometimes, there are no obvious signs of mold and mildew growth beyond black, brown, green, or yellow spots. Other times, there’s a distinct musty smell. You may have hidden mold or mildew if your home smells like a wet basement.

Follow your nose to help locate the problem. Also, check rooms with high humidity or moisture levels, like bathrooms and basements. You can remove small amounts of mold yourself. The CDC recommends mixing one cup of bleach with one gallon of water to clean mold. Call in a mold remediation company for large amounts of mold.


Pet Accidents and Cat Litter Boxes

While we all love our furry friends, they present many household odor challenges. Anyone who’s visited a home with a rarely cleaned litter box can attest to the distinct smell. Other pet smells come from old animal waste that’s seeped into floors or furniture and unbathed pets.

If your home smells like ammonia or wet animals, there are steps you can take to banish the odor. Start by using a black light to identify all pet stains. Then, use an enzyme-based cleaner to tackle these problem areas. The enzymes will feast on the bacteria that cause the odors, eliminating them at their source.

Bathe your dogs at least every 4-6 weeks, and switch your kitty litter at least every 2-3 weeks.


Unclean Floors

Like those in the bathroom, unclean floors contribute to a bad smell. Sweep your floors at least a couple of times per week and mop hard floors once per week to cut down on bad smells.


Old Rugs and Carpet

The fibers in rugs and carpet absorb odors. Older rugs may hold on to smells from burnt food, smoke, animals, or mold. Shampooing your carpet can help eliminate minor to moderate smells. You may have to replace old, stained carpet to rid your house of the stench.


Stinky Shoes Laying Around

Does everyone take off their shoes and place them beside the entrance? If so, that could cause the bad odor when entering your home. Consider using some odor eater powder in the shoes and placing an air freshener nearby to combat the smell.


Wet Towels Sitting in the Hamper

Leaving towels or wet clothing in the hamper for too long will produce a musty smell. Wash your towels every couple of days to keep them fresh and clean.


Unwashed Sheets and Pillowcases

Many of us sweat and drool in our sleep, which our sheets and pillowcases absorb. After a while, we may become immune to that sweat smell, but others can detect it. Keep your sheets and pillowcases from stinking up your home by washing them every one to two weeks.