Troubleshooting Bad Odors in Your Home

Wondering what that foul smell is in your home? From trash cans to pipes to pets, there are all kinds of reasons a room or home might have developed a stench.

Luckily, with your nose to guide you, you can track down the problem and take care of the issue pronto.

Below is a list of what might be causing the bad odor in your home, as well as a few helpful tips on how to get rid of it.

From lighting candles to deodorizing and repainting, we have the solutions you need to make your home smell pleasant for you, your family and guests.


When your pet brings home a funky odor, the first thing you do is give them a bath.

However, there’s only so much a bath can do. In fact, some pets, like cats, make baths impossible. Not to mention, the stink can linger on their beds, litter boxes or any accidents that might have occurred.

So what’s the next best thing? Candles are wonderful at removing pet odors. Discover natural soy based candles to keep further contaminants and carcinogens from paraffin wax.

And choose a scent that both you and your pet will enjoy, like a flower candle (see examples), avoiding citrus scents as these can be too strong for pets’ sensitive noses and acute sense of smell.

For furparents of energetic pets, opt for something like a reed diffuser (see examples), make sure to choose calming diffuser blends or something that would satisfy you and would make your home fresh-smelling all day instead.

This way, you can eliminate candle-related accidents like spilled wax.

Still, if your pet smells are hard to conceal with a candle, steam cleaning the carpet or spot cleaning with a stain remover is another good option.

The Pipes and Sewer

Pipes can cause bad odors in your home, especially if left unused for long periods of time. From bathrooms to kitchen sinks, regardless of how clean you left the space, a sewage smell can create a sulphuric stench caused essentially by undrained water residue.

Drains have a U-shaped pipe designed to hold water, which normally creates a barrier between the sewer and your sink. However, when the pipes are left too long unused, that intentionally left water eventually evaporates, lifting the barrier.

If you have a seldom-used powder room or a mud room sink, for example, the best way to combat this is to turn the tap on occasionally.

Run water down the drain on a weekly basis to ensure there’s enough of a water seal and barrier to prevent sulphuric smells from reaching the surface.


When you step into a smoker’s home, you know it. Even if the smoking is discreet and never presented, cigarette smoke can linger for quite a long time.

Health warnings aside, cigarette smoke is so potent it can creep into odor-absorbent materials around the home, from curtains and fabrics to carpets and flooring.

Smoking outdoors can keep your home from smelling bad. However, even if no one in your home is a smoker, you might find bad odors in your newly bought home from a previous owner.

This thirdhand smoke, made up of entrapped chemicals and carcinogens on surfaces, can put you and your loved ones at risk.

So, what can you do? To fully remove cigarette smoke, you need to clean the home entirely, focusing on everything from walls to ceiling. Ideally, you should use a neutralizing solution.

Another trick is to repaint the interior, from walls to trim, and to use a sealer and primer.

If the smoke was bad enough, it probably left a yellow tinge to the white trim anyway. Steam cleaning wall-to-wall carpet and rugs is another useful step.

Mold and Mildew

Does your home have a musty smell? If so, this points to possible mold and mildew. From basements to damp bathrooms and kitchens, mold can grow in many damp places in the home.

Unfortunately, mold is more than musty. It can actually be toxic and harmful to your health, releasing microscopic spores that can cause respiratory issues and allergic reactions.

Removing mold and mildew from the home is tricky and usually requires a two-step process. First, you need to locate the mold and find out where the moisture is coming from, preventing it from spreading.

Mold often feeds from moisture in the home, so it’s imperative to keep the room dry by sealing pipes, doors, windows and other areas where water or moisture can sneak in.

Once you eliminate the source, hook up a dehumidifier to get rid of excess moisture in the air.

The second step is to simply clean the visible mold, using a cleaning solution of water and bleach to kill any live spores. If it keeps returning, hit up a professional mold removal service to do it right.

Natural Gas

Smell something like rotten eggs? If your home uses natural gas for cooking or heating, there’s a good chance it’s that. Natural gas is usually an odorless, colorless gas.

However, to make it safe to use in homes, it’s given this egg-smelling additive so we can easily detect when there might be a gas leak.

So if you smell rotten eggs, quickly check gas-related items around the home, such as burner valves and pilot lights.

Regardless, open the window to flush out the smell. However, if you can’t quickly determine where the odor is coming from, call a professional immediately and get your family and pets out of the home.

If the smell is powerful, call 9-1-1. Never attempt to solve the problem yourself, as it could be more dangerous and cause a fire or even an explosion.

Focus on your safety and your family’s safety first.

Trash Cans and Composts

trash can and compost

Even if you take the trash out once a week, your trash can or compost bin can project some pretty nasty odors.

From rotting veggies to those thrown-out leftovers you forgot to eat, there are all kinds of things that can give your trash bins a foul smell. However, this can be easily solved with a deep cleaning and some proper maintenance.

One age-old trick is to sprinkle baking soda at the bottom of the bin, deodorizing and absorbing odors throughout the week. If the trash bag gets a leak, the baking soda will absorb.

Then, all you need to do is rinse it out. For more challenging smells, a bleach solution will also kill germs and bacteria.

Ultimately, regular cleaning or rinsing should prevent your trash can from stinking up the kitchen or house.

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