Pee-Yew! Getting the stink out of your house

It’s Saturday morning, and you decide to make a big breakfast to celebrate the weekend. You go all out—bacon, hash browns with peppers and onions, pancakes with maple syrup. Then it’s off to run errands and attend soccer games and finally tackle that list you made after reading my post about outdoor cleaning.

Fast-forward to walking back in your front door, where your nose is assaulted by the lingering effects of what was the morning’s glory. Some of us have olfactory abilities that rival German shepherds, while others couldn’t smell a rotten egg placed directly under their noses. Chances are, you know which one you are. Either way, olfactory fatigue sets in when you are in your house for a while, which can make it difficult to detect chronic or consistent odors.

A humid basement or pet odor might be something you notice from time to time, but after a while, your sniffer simply stops smelling it. Assuming you’d rather not have guests wrinkling their noses as they enter your home, you need to assess and address your home’s primary odor offenders. Here are some tips for removing common odors and giving your home some aromatic awesomeness.


  • Use a dehumidifier when humidity spikes in your area.
  • Look for water leaks and take steps to dry out any water damaged areas.
  • Check your laundry situation. Has it been a while since you did laundry? Do you have teenaged boys? If the answer to either of these is yes, you may want to investigate whether the odor originates from wet or sweaty clothes.
  • Clean your washing machine. Mold can build up, especially in front-loaders.
Dirty Laundry

Kitchen odors

  • Baking soda. Everywhere. It’s cheap and efficient. Put it in your fridge and freezer (preferably after removing any stinky/turned food) and change boxes every three months. Hide a box in your bathroom vanity. Set a box on your laundry room shelving.
  • Last night’s salmon dinner still assaulting your senses? Boil some herbs, citrus fruits, or natural oils to help give the air a more palatable flavor. The Yummy Life has some great scent ‘recipes’ to try.
  • Clean your garbage disposal. Try running ice and salt, sliced oranges (with peel), or baking soda and vinegar through the disposal for a quick freshening.
  • Run Glisten through your dishwasher. There are lots of ways to clean a dishwasher, but this is simple and effective. Bonus: it also removes brown stains from white interiors!
  • Throw citrus peels in a funky-smelling trash can for instant odor improvement. Wipe down lids and interiors with a kitchen cleanser for longer-lasting effects.

Carpet and upholstery odors

  • Coffee. It wakes you up and absorbs odors too! For stinky smells on carpet, place a coffee filter over the area and cover with coffee grounds. Give it a day or two and remove.
  • For pet piddles, soak up as much as you can with paper towels before applying any cleaners. (For repeat offenders, the Humane Society recommends placing the wet towels in the area you’d prefer your pet to use). For small areas, try sprinkling a little baking soda over the stain and spray with a 50/50 vinegar & water mix. For larger stains, you may want to rent a steam cleaner and use a specially formulated enzymatic cleaner.
  • Covering smelly stains with Borax and then shaking or vacuuming it off can be effective, but try to remove upholstery covers before use. As with any cleaning solution, test for colorfastness and take safety precautions to prevent inhaling or exposing skin to chemicals.

Stale air

  • If your house has simply been closed up for a while, open windows and run an attic fan, or place box fans in windows facing outside. Wait a half hour or so. This will draw stinky or stale air out of the house and give you a ‘fresh palate’ to work with.

Of course, keeping your house clean is a big part of odor elimination as well. Dirty bathtubs and spilled food in the microwave can turn your house into Funkytown. Don’t have time to keep up with it all? We are here to help. Give us a call today for a no-obligation quote and let us show you the Dirt Busters difference!