Have you ever noticed that after traveling, your home suddenly seems to have a scent? You’re so familiar with the scent, you’re typically unable to perceive it. If the smell is pleasant, you can rest easy; if not, you may be embarrassed to realize that this is what your guests have been smelling when you welcome them into your home. Why does your house stink? What causes odors? Most importantly, how can you eliminate odors and ensure that your house smells fresh and clean?
What Causes Odors?
The Dirty Truth Behind Stinky Smells
If you notice an odor, you’ve been exposed to something in the air that triggered your olfactory system (which is responsible for your sense of smell). Every item that you smell gives off molecules, from fresh-baked bread and lovely perfumes to stinky socks and rotten meat. The odor molecules of the substance travel into your nose, where they set in motion a chain of actions that lead to your brain recognizing the smell.
What causes odors? Volatilized chemical compounds, many of which are produced by bacteria (source). Gross, right? Bacteria emit foul-smelling gaseous molecules that our noses discover. Some smells are extremely pungent, while others are subtle and barely noticeable. In addition, some people are very sensitive to smells, while others find it difficult to smell things. Your age, sex, and whether or not you smoke can all affect your ability to smell.
Finding and Eliminating Odors
How to Determine the Cause of a Smell
Because bacteria are responsible for odors, you must locate the source of an odor and eliminate it if you wish to make the space smell more pleasant. However, sometimes a mysterious odor will crop up and confuse you. Use the following tips to find those baffling, offensive odors:
- Try searching for the scent after you’ve been outside for a while. With a clear nose, it’ll be easier to find the area where the scent is the strongest. You could also try enlisting the help of family and friends, as their noses aren’t so accustomed to your home’s smells.
- Remember that the smell could be coming from an area you can’t see, such as the attic, the crawlspace, the vents, beneath floors, inside walls, inside a drain, in the chimney, etc. It could also be entering from outside through your vents.
- If you’ve inspected an area thoroughly, can’t find the odorous substance, and suspect it may be located in the walls or beneath the floors, hire a plumber, building inspector, or contractor to drill a small hole in the drywall/floor and snake in a small camera. Look for mold, pipe leaks, dead animals, etc.
Remember that different odors can indicate different causes because bacteria have unique volatile traces. What could be causing the odorous scents in your home? Here are some common culprits:
- Food scraps
- Pest infestations
- Pet accidents that weren’t properly cleaned up
- Pet fur
- Moisture problems (mold, mildew, rot, etc.)
- Dirty carpets (carpet can absorb scents like smoke, pet urine, and spilled milk)
- Smelly paint (paint can absorb bad scents as well – repaint to remove it)
- Malfunctioning electrical wires
It’s important to remember that some smells can serve as warnings that something is amiss. Identifying a smell or determining its cause can affect the health and safety of the people in the vicinity. For example, a gas leak, mold problems, and sewage backups may not be visible, but if people smell them, they can take steps to address the situation.
Tips for Eliminating Odors
Once you find the source of a smell, remove it or contain it in such a way that it can’t release odors into the ambient air. If the smell lingers after the offending object has been removed, try opening windows or using fans to welcome fresh air inside. The increased ventilation should help mitigate the odors.
Although you’re welcome to use air fresheners and candles to add temporary scents to your home, don’t fool yourself into thinking that they’re eliminating odors. Their smells may mask other odors, but once they fade, the odors will become apparent again. In addition, they may irritate people who are sensitive to smells.
To truly eliminate odors, you need to go to their source: the bacteria. How can you eradicate odor-causing bacteria? Try the SafeSpace Disinfect & Deodorizing Germ Fogger. Convenient yet powerful, this original product contains a hospital-grade, contact disinfectant. Its 6,000 cubic feet of disinfecting and deodorizing fog will eliminate the bacteria causing the odors in your home, including persistent pet, smoke, and food odors.
The SafeSpace Company is a family-owned small business proudly selling American-made germ foggers, auto germ and odor eliminators, and alcohol-free hand sanitizers to help you reduce the number of germs (and smells) in your home. For more information about our products, contact us online or call us toll free at 1-800-735-2506. We would love to hear from you!
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