household odors

House Odors — What Does Your House Smell Like?

household odorsAs a real estate agent I am fully aware that people are used to living with their own house odors. They walk in from outside and everything smells normal. But what does your house smell like to others? Are there distinct house odors that make them pinch their nostrils and walk away? And never come back?

One of the most recognizable and offensive house odors comes from pets. Remember “Smelly Cat” from the “Friends” sitcom?

“Smelly cat, smelly cat, what are they feeding you?

Smelly cat, smelly cat, it’s not your fault!”

The food smelly cat eats comes out the other end into the litter box, and sometimes on floors, furniture, and carpet. Kitty poo and pee is really offensive and off-putting. No respectable homeowner wants a litter box reputation.

But it’s not just litter boxes. Other distinct house odors include a smelly refrigerator, bathrooms, clogged sink drains, other pet odors, cigarettes, and mold.

If you are planning to sell your home someday, you have to put the lid on those smelly house odors. If not, you might be calling in the hazmat team. Here are some tips for helping to keep those “Smelly Cat” moments under wraps.

household odorsPet Odors

Most important is to clean the litter box daily. Scoop it, bag it, can it. As for carpets, where odors really linger, we really like this simple remedy. It works for all pet odors and leaves your carpets smelling fresh and clean. And it’s easy. It only has two, all-natural ingredients: baking soda and an essential oil of your choice.

household odorsDirections:

Combine one-and-a-half cups of baking soda and 10 drops of your favorite essential oil in a mason jar. Using a hammer and nail, bang a few holes in the lid to make a shaker. Shake the ingredients liberally over the smelly carpet and wait 30 minutes. Vacuum. Sweet!

For smelly litter boxes, check out these 5 tips from Catington Post.

Refrigerator Stink

Same as above pet odor remover, but use lemon oil and put the mason jar on a shelf in the back of the fridge.

Garbage Stench

Take the garbage to the dump or arrange for trash pickup on a regular basis.

Bathroom Smells

Make sure sink and tub drains are not clogged. A good scrubbing with straight apple cider vinegar can make tile, grout, and glass sparkle. Do this once a month and you’ll be home free in the bathroom.

Sink Stink

Call your plumber, have him clean all the drains and traps, and insist your husband take you out to dinner everyday until the house sells.

Seriously though, here is a good way to unclog mildly clogged drains.

household odorsStart with a clean, empty sink. Boil about 2 quarts of water and flush the drain with it all at once (please be careful). This should soften any grease that’s blocking the flow.

Add about 1 cup of baking soda to the drain. Then pour about 2 to 3 cups of white vinegar on top of the baking soda. Shove a rag into the drain to prevent the volcanic effect. Let sit 5 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, bring another 2 quarts of water to a boil. After 10 minutes, flush drain with the boiling water. Alternatively you can run the hot water for 1 to 2 minutes and allow to drain fully. To finish, flush with cold water for 1 to 2 minutes.

If this doesn’t work, you might have to rent a snake from the local hardware store, but I have been there and it was a really gross and messy experience, so I highly recommend hiring a plumber.

Cigarette Stink

This is a tough one. Oil-based nicotine permeates drywall, paint, fabric, and wood–pretty much everything that makes up a home. Dengarden has this detailed method for getting rid of cigarette smell: How to Get Smoke Smell Out of Your House.


Eliminating mold often means replacing drywall, insulation, and rugs. This one’s for the professionals.

If you stay ahead of the curve, your house won’t stink and your friends won’t avoid visits. And when it’s time to sell, you won’t have to worry about the Smelly Cat phenomena killing your sale.


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