// Home Clean But It Still Smells Bad - What’s The Problem?

Most American households vacuum their home on a weekly basis. Those who have hard flooring installed tend to mop just as frequently. Carpeted homes also get a deep wash up to twice a year, according to surveys. The bottom line: American homeowners and tenants like to keep their homes clean. 

So why does it feel like your clean home doesn’t smell as fresh as it should? Believe it or not, cleanliness and smells do not necessarily go hand-in-hand. Most people assume that bad smells are an indication of messy and untidy occupants. In reality, bad odors can come from a variety of places inside your home. So, let’s explore some of the main culprits that ruin your clean home’s ambiance. 

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Poor indoor air quality

Did you know that, in many cases, the indoor air quality in the average American home can be more polluted than the outdoor air? This might sound crazy, especially if you’ve been stuck in the middle of traffic car fumes before. But you are to consider what your indoor air is made of. 

VOCs make up a major part of your indoor air. They can be emitted by furniture, decorative elements, and even chemical products. Your cleaning product, for example, could release a lot of toxins in the air, which can lead to a long-lasting bad odor, even when the house is clean. 

Additionally, HVAC units and air vents can also bring toxins and dust into your home. This can occur because of ineffective filters in the unit, or sometimes because they suck the outside air before releasing it inside your home. 

Adding an air purifier into your main room can help control air quality issues and hopefully remove bad smells!

Sink blockage

Blockages occurring in the pipes underneath the sink or in the garbage disposal may not be apparent from the outside. The water or garbage may still appear to evacuate freely. However, blockages further down in the system can lead odors to travel back into your kitchen. Typically, it’s easy to tell whether you have an issue by identifying the origin of the smell. Your nose will guide you in no time. 

You can typically clear small blockages with a little soapy water to ensure the blockage can be washed away. However, if it is a frequent occurrence, you will need to reach out to a professional to get your system inspected and cleared. 

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Pets at home

If you are a pet owner, you need to make it a priority to keep your pet and their enclosure clean. Something as silly as letting the cat litter tray go full can leave an unpleasant smell that will last for days, even long after you’ve emptied the tray. 

Young pets and senior dogs and cats are sometimes prone to accidents. These are also part of life with a pet. However, when their accidents go unnoticed because they occur while you’re not at home, urine can seep into the floor or the wall. Getting rid of these persistent smells can be tricky with traditional cleaning products. Ideally, once you’ve identified the spot, you want to spray it first with vinegar and then with a specialized enzyme cleaner

Also, a reminder for all pet owners that regular washes can go a long way. Dogs, especially, can gradually develop an unpleasant smell if you don’t follow a regular bath routine. 

Invisible mold

Mold loves a dusty and humid environment. Places such as basements and under-roof areas are some of the most commonly overlooked spots. Just because mold grows out of sight, it doesn’t mean you can’t smell it. On the contrary, mold spores can travel in the air. 

When you come across this distinctive musty odor, there are some important places to check for mold:

  • Basement

  • Loft

  • Behind pipes and units in the bathroom

  • Underneath the sink

  • Between furniture and the wall (especially in rooms where the windows are wet to the touch)

  • Inside your insulation 

If you notice a sizable mold infestation, it’s best to leave the matter in the hands of professional mold removal teams. They have access to tools and products that are not available over the counter. 

General malaise

You’ve checked every possibility, and there is nothing wrong with your home. But you still perceive an unpleasant smell you can’t get rid of. What if the smell was in your mind? Did you know that olfactive perceptions can be manipulated by your mental health? Stress and depression can make things smell bad, even when there is no direct issue. So, if you recognize symptoms of emotional and psychological malaise accompanying the bad smells in your home, this could be linked to mental health issues. Don’t ignore the signs, seeking mental health treatment is essential to your well-being. 

Bad smells inside your home can highlight problems with your structure, your ventilation systems, your pipes, or sometimes even your mental health. Regardless of the issue, masking it is never the answer!