How to Get Rid of Common Home Odors

Home Odors

Maybe you’ve been nose blind all along. Or while preparing for guests, selling your home or coming in from outside you realized that your house smells bad. Popular ads encourage us to use air fresheners or plug-in deodorizers. But those solutions just layer perfume over the odors in the air. To get rid of house odors, you have to find the source of the scent and eliminate it.

How to Get Rid of Common Household Odors

It isn’t difficult to get a smell out of a house. Most odors respond to cleaning with products that work for the affected surface. Naturally, you wouldn’t remove mold from tile the same way you’d get an odor out of carpet. 

If you’ve tried to eliminate the odor, but your house still smells when you walk in, it’s time to call a professional cleaning service. For example, if you live in San Diego, you can hire Anita’s Housekeeping services in San Diego. It is one of the best housekeeping services out there. Also, you may want SERVPRO, which uses state-of-the-art equipment, products, and techniques to eliminate odors and freshen the air in your home.

For most homeowners, the first step is to try to get rid of the odor yourself. Here are tips on getting rid of house odors.

Cigarette Smoke

Residue from tobacco can cover every surface in rooms where people smoke. Soft surfaces absorb the scent and chemicals from tobacco smoke coat hard surfaces like drywall.

  • Open windows to let fresh air in
  • Replace all HVAC filters
  • Clean all surfaces exposed to smoke – windows, carpets, furniture, upholstery, etc.
  • Use air purifiers
  • Place containers of white vinegar or activated charcoal around the house to absorb smells.

If your home still smells like tobacco, call in an odor removal service for a professional cleaning.


If your home has a musty odor, mold is probably the cause. Find the source of water or humidity and correct it, then clean the mold.

  • Use household detergents and water to remove mold from hard services.
  • Discard porous materials, such as ceiling tiles and carpet. 
  • Wear protective clothing, such as gloves and an N95 respirator when working with mold.
  • Call in professionals for mold cleanup if the affected area is larger than 10 square feet or the mold damage was caused by sewage or other contaminated water.

Pet Odors

We love our fur babies, but having pets means a lot of extra cleaning to keep the house smelling fresh.

  • If your pet’s bed has a washable cover, throw it in the laundry.
  • Clean the pet’s toys and bowls with baking soda and vinegar
  • Wash your pet. Bathe the dog at least once a month. Wash your cat every 4-6 weeks.
  • Mop and vacuum frequently. Sprinkle baking soda on the carpet and leave it for 15 minutes before vacuuming. Choose a vacuum with a HEPA-certified filter.
  • If the pet odor persists, call professional cleaners. They use specialized products to break down organic odors and ozone generators to clean the air.

Kitchen Smells

  • If your refrigerator smells bad, go through it and throw out any old or spoiled food. Wash shelving, drawers and walls with hot, soapy water. If you want to sanitize your refrigerator, wipe it down with a solution of water and bleach after cleaning it. Keep baking soda in the fridge to absorb odors.
  • If the garbage disposal has an unpleasant odor, scour the outside of it with a scrubber wand. Next flush the system by filling the sink halfway full with water and vinegar. Then pull the plug and turn the disposal on to flood the entire system with water. Cut up lemons or other citrus fruit and send it down the disposal for 10 seconds while running water. The acid in the fruit will clean the blades and deodorize the disposal.

Getting Rid of Common Home Odors

If you’ve noticed unpleasant odors in your home, address the problem without delay. Some situations that cause odors are linked to health problems. Using the tips here should bring a breath of fresh air. 

If the odor persists or your home was impacted by fire, flood or mold, call in professional help. The odor removal specialists at SERVPRO use a four-step process that starts with removing the odor source and cleaning surfaces. Next, they use ozone or hydroxyl machines to clean the air, and deodorize and seal surfaces where needed. 



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