Sometimes it doesn't matter how clean your home is... the stench and odor of everyday life can't be avoided. I've contacted a local home cleaning service that tell me, people who are exposed to rancid smells for a long time actually stop smelling the odor and adapt to the environment. But the good news is bad smells can be eradicated. The truth is, buyers won't make an offer on a stinky home no matter how great it looks. Here are a few tips to rid homes of foul odors. 

Pet Odors Linger

The Official Checklist

In general, homeowners will never admit that their homes smell. So it's up to me, your listing agent to break the unpleasant news about your stinky house :-( and ask you the following questions before bringing in potential buyers:

  1. Do you smoke or does anyone in your household smoke? If yes, do they smoke indoors or outdoors?
  2. Do you own pets or allow pets to visit your home?
  3. Has your home ever had mold or water-related problems?
  4. What's your breakdown of daily, weekly, and monthly cleaning chores?

Eliminating Cigarette Smoke

Smoke can attach itself to window treatments, furniture, and even walls. It's best to clean up properties with solutions that absorb odors like air scrubbers, or ozone generators. Once the house is clean, DON'T smoke indoors or allow others to do so. Sellers should also get rid of ashtrays which may put off some buyers. If you smoke, do it away from the home... far, far away to avoid any chance of turning off potential buyers.

What About Pet Odors?

Pets are cute but are great creators of the "big stink". Sellers should take their pets to their friends’ or neighbors’ places for the entire period their homes are on sale. While this may not sound feasible, it is sometimes necessary. Pets are a constant source of odors and sellers’ efforts to clean their homes will be futile if they keep on living with their pets. I always advise pet owners to replace rugs or furniture. No matter how much you love your pets, you should ensure your homes doesn't smell like them.

The Stinky Sink - Garbage Disposal and Trash Cans

Garbage disposals can give off a bad smells when left neglected. I recommend dropping chunks of lemon into garbage disposals as the citrus clears most bad odors. If the smell lingers, try mixing cold water with half a cup of vinegar and pour the mixture in the disposals.

Trash cans are one of the biggest stink creators in a home. I use car air fresheners, dropping one beneath the trash bag liner. If you're still living in the home, you can place old newspapers in their trash bags to trap food juices, or try using fabric softener sheets in their trash cans to absorb odors.

Buyers will put up with a lot, but you'll send them running if your home smells like death. The air inside a home is usually more polluted than the outdoor air. Add bad odors to that and you might just have a disaster waiting to happen. Avoid using chemical air fresheners as they only make the situation worse. If the smells linger, you need to contact a cleaning expert. Once the house is clean, you can accentuate with scented candles, burning cinnamon, or appetizing cookies.