Do you have a weird smell in your house that comes and goes but can’t figure out where it’s coming from?
You’re not alone – many homeowners, including me, often experience this issue.
But don’t worry; in this post, I’ll discuss some of the possible causes of bad smells in the house and how to fix them. Keep reading to learn more…
10 Possible Causes of Bad Smells in the House
There can be numerous causes of bad smells in the house. Some of them are more intense than others, but they are still dangerous in the long run.
Some of the most common ones that I face regularly:
1- Dirty Air Filters
If your home has a forced air heating or cooling system, it likely has air filters that must be regularly changed.
These filters are not changed regularly, and they can become clogged with dust and other particles, which might cause a bad smell in your home.
If your home has started to smell like a dirty gym sock, your air filters are to blame. Fortunately, there is an easy fix.
Simply replacing your air filters can dramatically improve the air quality in your home and eliminate that nasty smell. Here’s how to do it:
- Start by finding the location of your air filter. This is typically in the ductwork near the furnace or air conditioner.
- Once you’ve found the filter, remove it and discard it in the trash.
- It’s time to install the new filter. Select a filter with the proper rating for your particular system.
- Once the new filter is in place, turn on your furnace or air conditioner and enjoy the fresh, clean air.
2- Pet Odors
Pets can be great friends, but they can also source bad smells in the home.
Whether it’s your dog’s wet fur after a rainstorm or your cat’s litter box, pet odors can quickly make your house smell less than fresh.
Pets can also track dirt and other outdoor smells on their fur, which can then be transferred to your home furniture, carpets, and other surfaces. Additionally, pet urine and feces can also cause bad smells.
Luckily, you can use a few simple strategies to keep your home smelling its best.
One of the easiest ways to combat pet odors is to prevent them from happening in the first place. This means keeping your pet clean and groomed regularly.
Regular baths or brushings will help to remove any dirt, debris, or dead skin that could be causing an odor. In addition, be sure to clean up any accidents promptly and thoroughly.
Absorb as much of the urine or feces as possible, then clean the area with a pet-safe cleaner. After these preventive measures, you can help to reduce the amount of pet odor in your home.
If you have a pet odor problem, there are still several things you can do to freshen up. You can use an air purifier to filter out any odors circulating in the air.
Another option is to sprinkle baking soda on carpets or furniture where pets spend time.
Allow the baking soda to sit for a few hours before vacuuming it up; this will help to absorb any lingering odors.
Finally, open windows and doors regularly to let fresh air into your home and help ventilate any musty smells.
After following these tips, you can help keep your home smelling fresh and inviting – even if you have pets.
3- Mold or Mildew
Mold and mildew can also cause bad smells in your home.
These fungi thrive in damp, humid environments, so if you have any leaks or flooding problems, they could be the source of the problem.
Mold and mildew can also cause health problems, so it’s important to address this issue as soon as possible.
If the bad smell in your house is coming from mold or mildew, check for damp or dark areas in your home where mold is likely to grow.
Once you’ve found the source of the problem, open a window and use fans to ventilate the area. Then, clean the affected area with a solution of bleach and water.
You may also need to treat the area with an antimicrobial spray to prevent mold from regrowing. If the smell persists, contact a professional for additional assistance.
If anyone smokes cigarettes inside your home, the smoke can linger on surfaces and fabrics, causing a bad smell.
Additionally, the nicotine in cigarettes is a potent odorant, so even if you don’t smell the smoke, it could be the source of the problem.
If you’re a smoker, you’re probably used to the smell of cigarette smoke.
However, if your guests are coming over, you may want to eliminate the smell before they arrive. Fortunately, you can try things to help mask the smell of smoke.
First, open some windows to air out the house. Then, try spraying a bit of air freshener or burning scented candles.
You could also try boiling a pot of water with lemon slices or cinnamon sticks, which can help to make your whole house smell nice.
You can always ask your guests to smoke outside if all else fails.
If you have a garbage can that is not emptied regularly, it can cause bad smells in your home, especially at night when there are pests like rats around them.
The stench could be due to garbage, leftover food, or even a mold and bacteria build-up.
The garbage can also attract flies, laying eggs that hatch into larvae. As the larvae feed on the garbage, they release an unpleasant odor.
The best way to get rid of the smell is to clean the garbage can regularly. First, empty the can and wash it with soap and water.
Second, You can also add baking soda to the can to absorb bad odors. You may need to replace the garbage can if the smell persists.
Be sure to purchase the one with a lid to help prevent the problem from happening again.
6- Poor Ventilation
Poor ventilation can also cause bad smells in your apartment as it doesn’t allow fresh air to circulate. This can cause musty smells to build up over time.
First, you need to do is identify the source of the bad smell. Once you know where the odor is coming from, you can take steps to ventilate that area more effectively.
Sometimes, simply opening a window or using a fan will be enough to eliminate the bad smell.
If the odor comes from a specific item, like a piece of furniture or a rug, you have to clean it more thoroughly.
In some cases, you may need to replace the item altogether.
Once you have identified the source of the bad smell and taken steps to ventilate the area, you should see a noticeable improvement in the air quality in your home.
7- Chemical Cleaners
Over time, homes can start to smell bad due to the accumulated chemicals from cleaners.
If you use chemical cleaners in your home, the fumes from these products can linger and cause bad smells.
Unlike natural cleaners, these products don’t just mask the odors; they add to the pollution in your home.
Fortunately, there are a few simple ways to eliminate these bad odors and keep your home smelling fresh.
First, use cleaning products that are unscented or have a light scent.
This will help to prevent the smells from becoming overwhelming. Second, open the windows regularly to allow fresh air to circulate through the house.
Third, make a DIY air freshener by mixing essential oils with water in a spray bottle.
Finally, consider using natural cleaning products instead of chemical cleaners. These products often have a pleasant scent and are less likely to cause bad odors in the home.
8- Dirty Laundry
If you have dirty laundry that is not washed on a regular basis, it can cause bad smells in your home.
The dirt and sweat from your clothes will build up over time and cause an unpleasant odor.
Especially if you have kids or a toddler at home, their clothes can get really dirty and smelly with time.
The best way to prevent foul-smelling laundry is to wash it regularly. However, sometimes life gets in the way, and laundry can pile up.
If you find yourself with a backlog of dirty laundry, there are a few things you can do to minimize the odor.
First, be sure to sort your laundry so that items with similar care instructions are washed together. This will help to prevent fabric damage and color transfer.
Second, use cold water whenever possible as hot water can set stains and cause smells to linger.
Finally, don’t forget to empty the lint trap in your dryer after each use.
A build-up of lint can cause clothes to smell musty when they are being dried. After following these simple tips, you can keep your laundry smelling fresh and clean.
9- Sewer Gas Leaks
If you have a sewer gas leak, it can be very dangerous and should be fixed immediately.
Sewer gas leaks smell like sulfur, mercaptan, and ammonia, which can cause a variety of health problems. The common cause of the bad smell is a blockage in the drain system.
It can be caused by a variety of things like hair, grease, or even tree roots. Another common cause of sewer gas leaks is a cracked or broken sewer pipe.
Unfortunately, sewer gas leaks can be a common cause of bad odors in the home. However, there are some simple steps that you can take to prevent these leaks from happening.
First, make sure that all of your drains are properly sealed. If you have any cracks or gaps in your drain pipes, seal them with plumbers putty or epoxy resin.
You should also check your toilets and shower drains to make sure that they are not clogged. Clogs can create ideal conditions for sewer gas to build up and leak into your home.
Lastly, if you have a septic tank, have it pumped out every two to three years to prevent sewage backup.
10- Something is Rotting in Your Home
If you have a fishy smell in your house that comes and goes, it could be caused by something that is rotting in the kitchen. This could be food, eggs, garbage, or even a dead animal.
This might be the case, and it’s important to locate the source of the problem and remove it as soon as possible.
It can prevent the spread of the rotting odor and the potential for health hazards; it is important to take action quickly.
First, try to identify the source of the weird smell. This may be something as simple as spoiled food or a dirty diaper.
If you cannot find the source, it is possible that there is something decaying on your walls or under your floorboards. In this case, it is best to call a professional for help.
Once you have found and removed the source of the odor, be sure to clean the area thoroughly.
You may also want to use activated charcoal or an air purifier to remove any remaining odors from your home.
By taking the right action and following these simple steps, you can prevent foul odors from taking over your home.
Can the Weird Smell Go On Its Own – How Long Can I Wait?
In my humble opinion, you should not wait to take action if you think you have a rotting smell in your home.
Most of the time, if the smell is horrendous, it won’t go away on its own.
Additionally, the longer you wait, the worse the problem will become, with a greater risk of health hazards to your family.
If you think you have a problem, take action quickly to locate and remove the source of the odor. Then, be sure to clean the area thoroughly.
By taking quick action, you can prevent the problem from becoming worse and keep your home smelling fresh and clean.
How to Detect Where a Fishy Smell is Coming From in My Home?
If you have some unexplained smells in the house that come and go, it can be sometimes tricky to detect.
However, there are a few methods that you can use to try and pinpoint the source of the unpleasant odor.
The first step is to identify the general area where the smell is coming from. This can be helpful in eliminating potential sources.
These sources can include an electrical breaker box, a burnt-out lightbulb, or even a pile of dirty laundry.
After you have narrowed down the area, try using your nose to identify the specific location of the smell.
If the odor is coming from a piece of furniture, you can often tell by moving it around until you find the strongest concentration of the smell.
Another method that can be useful is to use a flashlight to scan the area for any visible signs of mold or mildew.
These growths can often be the source of bad smells in the home. If you see any mold or mildew, be sure to clean it up immediately and dry the area thoroughly to prevent further growth.
Thind and most important, if you are still having trouble identifying the source of the smell, you can call a professional.
Plumbers, HVAC technicians, electricians, and pest control professionals can often help to identify and solve problems with bad smells in the home by using more advanced bad smell detectors.
We’ve all been there. You can walk into your house after being gone for a while and are hit with an overwhelming bad smell.
And it’s not just because you forgot to take out the trash. Chances are, the dirty air filters in your HVAC system are to blame.
Hopefully, the above tips, techniques, and ideas will help you fix that bad smell and get your home smelling fresh again.
Meen Smith is a nurse by profession who loves writing online, spending time with her family and caring for the elderly. She has already worked as an associate editor on various moms, babies, home appliances, kitchen, and healthy living blogs. In her spare time, she also enjoys drawing, reading/writing kindle eBooks and improving her skills a bit.