How can I get Rid of a Bad Smell?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 11 August 2019
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Offensive odors around the house can make home seem a lot less friendly. Fortunately, it is usually possible to get rid of a bad smell by doing some simple investigating and then developing the correct approach to dealing with the smell. Here are a few tips to help you deal with unpleasant smells around the home quickly and effectively.

The first task in ridding the home of a bad smell involves tracking down the origin of the unpleasant aroma. In some cases, the origin may be very obvious, such as an unclean bathroom or linen that needs to be laundered. At other times, the origin may not be so apparent, such as when a squirrel or other small animal has expired in the attic or basement.

Once the starting point for the bad smell is identified, it is possible to begin dealing with the issue and restore a pleasant smell to the home. Often, removing the offending object from the home will begin the process of abatement and allow the offending odor to begin fading. If the bad smell is caused from linens that need to be laundered, washing and drying the linens using a strong detergent and a fragrant fabric softener will make a huge difference. When bathrooms are in need of cleaning, using foam cleansers and other bathroom cleaning agents will eliminate the origin of the odor and begin the process of restoring a sweet smell to the space.


Even after dealing with the origin of the bad smell, there is often the need to remove any lingering remnants of the odor. There are several ways to deal with lingering smells. If at all possible, open the windows and doors. Nothing disburses bad smells like fresh air moving through the home. Along with letting in fresh air, try using air refreshers that are formulated to eliminate rather than mask odors. For people who want to go with a more natural approach, place a small pot on the stove and fill it half full of water. Add spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, or ground cloves to the water. Allow the pot to simmer on a low heat. As the water warms, the spices will release their fragrances and begin to permeate the air in the home.

If for any reason you are not able to locate and remove the bad smell from the home, don’t hesitate to call in the experts. Professional cleaning services will often be able to identify the type of smell, isolate it to an area of the home, and clean the area using spray products and other cleaning strategies. While calling in professionals will cost a little money, the price is small compared to the joy of having a fresh smelling home once again.


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Post 3

@pleonasm - She probably couldn't smell how overpowering it was. I used to smoke and it's amazing how much difference it makes to your sense of smell.

I don't know how my friends put up with it now. I hate the smell of old cigarette smoke with a passion. And that bad breath smell of someone who is a chronic smoker is even worse. Although you can usually prevent that by scrubbing your tongue with the toothbrush when you're brushing your teeth.

Post 2

@bythewell - I wonder if that was just a common smell back in the days when it was difficult to get things completely dry if there was bad weather. But I guess there would have been so many strong odors back then that one more wouldn't make much of a difference. Apparently people would just cover themselves with essential oils rather than bathing.

I really hate it when people try to cover up a smell too, rather than dealing with the cause of it. It only makes things worse. I remember being a child and having to drive to school with the mother of a friend, and she had always sprayed perfume in the car to combat her cigarette smoke. I absolutely hated it and was always very grateful to get to the school gate.

Post 1

A bad smell that drives me nuts is the one that happens when you leave a lot of clothes in the washing machine for too long without drying them. I guess it comes from mold spores or something, but it's really difficult to get rid of it if you make the mistake of leaving your clothes there like that. It's particularly bad in my hometown because it's so hot there that it only seems to take a few hours.

Even running the clothes through the wash again doesn't seem to get rid of all of it. If it happens I almost always have to either triple wash them or hang them up outside for a whole day in the wind.

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