Stinky Home? How to Prevent and Remove Pet, Smoke, and Other Nasty Odors

Is your home an assault on your nostrils? Don’t get flooded with disgusting whiffs every time you walk through the door. Instead, learn how to remove and prevent pet, tobacco, cooking, garbage, fire, and moldy odors from your house, so it smells fresh and clean every day.

Pet Odor

We love our pets so much that we let them take over our homes. But at the end of the day, these uncivilized creatures create quite a stink. Here’s how to live in harmony—and freshness—with your furry family members.

Bathe Your Pooches

Cats groom themselves, but dogs don’t mind smelling like anything other than a rose. Yeast builds up on their skin and paws, crescendoing into that infamous dog smell. Pee-yew! Give your dogs a bath once every two to four weeks to prevent them from becoming the opposite of an air freshener.

Spot Treat Pet Urine

Cat and dog urine doesn’t smell nice—especially when your pets relieve themselves in your home. And the longer it sits, the worse it gets. Spot treat any pet stain with a mix of baking soda and water or with a commercial product like Rocco & Roxie professional pet stain and odor eliminator. Otherwise pet urine odor will leach into your clothes, so you’ll take it with you wherever you go.

Get an Air Purifier Made for Pets

Candles only cover up the smell of pet odor and urine. To remove the stench from your home, consider an air purifier made specifically for pets. Alen makes a pet odor eliminating air filter with HEPA-OdorCell filters. This not only reduces foul smells, but removes pet dander and other allergens that might bother you too.

Pick up after Your Pet
No matter if you have a cat box or housebroken dogs, pick up waste daily to keep your home and yard smelling fresh.

Cigarette Smoke Odor

Cigarettes contain all sorts of nasty chemicals that not only stick to lungs, but cling to every surface in your home. It won’t be easy, but you can eliminate tobacco odors from your house by following four tips.

Prime and Paint
Zinsser makes an odor-sealing primer that entombs tobacco residue in a clear varnish. If you moved into a home that belonged to a smoker, you’ll have to prime every wall and ceiling to remove the smell of smoke.

Smoke Outdoors
You can curse the homeowner who lived there before you for his/her foul smoking habits, but if you’re the culprit then you only have yourself to blame. Always smoke outdoors. Close windows and turn off ventilation systems so your second-hand smoke doesn’t get sucked into your home. Otherwise, your smoking will hurt other people and animals living inside and detract from your home’s worth.

Replace or Professionally Clean Carpeting
First rent a rug doctor or call a professional service to try to clean rugs that smell like cigarette smoke. If that doesn’t work, rip out the carpeting and start over.

Cooking Odor

Each meal you make might smell like a Zagat-rated restaurant. But what happens when salmon, blueberry muffins, and garlic bread mingle? Grossness, that’s what. Here’s how to control cooking odors so they don’t overpower your home.

Clean Your Hood Vent
If your hood vent doesn’t work, oils and cooking debris will wind up on your walls—causing unsavory odors to accumulate in your home. Clean your hood vent annually to ensure it’s working properly and depositing odors outside where they belong.

Scrub Walls
If you cook three or more times per week, wash your kitchen walls with warm, soapy water twice per year. You might be surprised at how much grime comes up on the sponge.

Clean Your Oven
Most ovens have a self-cleaning mode. If not, use oven cleaner to do it yourself. That way, burnt food smells won’t waft into the air every time you cook.

Get Plants
Some house plants purify the air—taking in harmful chemicals and carbon dioxide and releasing clean oxygen. Pot air purifying plants to add beauty to your home and make it healthier and fresher.

Mold, Must, and Water Damage Odor

Fresh water doesn’t smell like anything. But when given the chance to mix with mold spores, carpeting, wood, and other debris, water can make your house smell like a swamp. If your home has mold, must, and water damage odor, here’s what to do.

Open the Windows
Fresh air and light are key to keeping must, mildew and stagnant water smells at bay.

Treat with Bleach
Remediate mold and mildew with bleach or call a professional company. As soon as your walls are clean, your home will smell much better.

Get a Dehumidifier
If you live in a humid climate, get a dehumidifier for your basement, garage, and possibly even your bathrooms. Dehumidifiers suck moisture from the air so your home doesn’t become a breeding ground for mold, mildew, and bad smells.

Inspect Pipes
Avoid water leaks which can lead to costly water damage and mold and mildew build-up by inspecting your pipes. Pay close attention to the kitchen, bathroom, and basement.

Fire Odor

Smoke damage is serious; it seeps deep into every surface which makes it really difficult to remove. While it’s not easy to get rid of, you can follow these steps to eradicate the odious smell smoke damage leaves behind.

Call a Professional Remediation Company

Servpro specializes in cleaning homes after fires, floods, and other disasters. It has the supplies to remediate smoke damage in clothing, walls, and more to restore your home to its former fresh glory.

Throw out What You Can
If it’s not bolted to the wall, throw it out. Sometimes it’s easier to buy new than attempt to remove smoke damage from belongings.

Refinish and Seal

After washing every surface in your home, seal it. That way, you won’t get whiffs of smoke on damp days. Use a primer like the Zinsser brand we recommended above.

Garbage Odor

This one is easy….
Take out the Trash!
Or, get a locking garbage can to seal in maleficent musk between trips to your curbside bin.

Use Scented Trash Bags
A lot of brands make scented, heavy-duty trash bags to lock in odor. Consider shopping for some to prevent your home from smelling like a garbage dump.

Bleach Your Bin
Trash odors can seep into plastic garbage cans. Either buy metal or bleach your bin once a month, so it doesn’t become a receptacle for permanent stench.

If olfaction has become painful in your home, don’t buy nose plugs. Instead, follow these tips to remediate and prevent odors from accumulating in your house. That way you can save on air fresheners and avoid being known as the stinky house no one wants to visit—including you.


This guest post was written by Fatima.

Fatima is a 23-year-old journalist from Austin, Texas. She is an avid fan of writing and photography. In her free time, Fatima enjoys binge watching comedies on Netflix. You can learn more about her by visiting her portfolio.

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