Last updated on January 17th, 2023

If the house smells when you walk in you should take a look at what’s causing this issue. It could be pets, trash cans, diapers, tobacco smoke, cooking odors, bathroom smells, newly bought appliances, mold or moisture. These smells may negatively affect not just your mood, but productivity and health as well. And if guests are about to visit you soon, an unpleasant scent is not welcomed for sure.

Now let’s take a look at the most common reasons for house smells when you walk in.

Pet Odors

Cats and dogs require regular bathing, otherwise, their smells will quickly take over your house. My dog likes to roll in the mud, sometimes I tend to think she does this especially to get bathed later. Your dog may not get that dirty, but you still have to bathe her at least once a week and vacuum the places where she lays.

Cats do not produce such a strong smell as dogs, but their litter very much does. To combat this follow these steps:

  1. Fill up the litter box with baking soda and white vinegar and let them sit for 10-15 minutes.
  2. Later rinse the box with water and fry it afterward.

Following these steps will greatly reduce the smell from the cat’s litter box for a few days.

Dirty Laundry

Dirty laundry is notoriously known for its smell. If you forgot to put your stash into a washing machine it quickly accumulates bacteria, mold and human sweat. The latter quickly fills out the air around and is hard to get rid of.

The tips here are quite simple to follow:

  • Do not leave your dirty clothes in a badly ventilated area, instead put them in the dry area. By doing this you will prevent the smell spread.
  • Install a simple notification app on your phone that will remind you to put your dirty clothes into a washing machine regularly.
  • Leave the door and detergent drawer open for a few hours after your last load to prevent mold growth inside. Use baking soda and white vinegar to wipe down any already present mold spores.

New Appliances

Not all home appliances produced today are made from quality materials. Some release such a strong plastic smell that it’s better to return them immediately rather than wait until the smell goes away. But that may take weeks and you will have to breathe toxic air all this time!

Is it worth it? I refund the toxic item immediately and go look for an alternative.

Bad Ventilation

If you don’t have pets, you regularly clean your house and do not leave any extra source of smell, it is very likely that your home does not have proper ventilation.

If the air isn’t circulated (this is especially true in the winter season) regularly it gets filled with dust, VOCs and other small particles that pollute the air inside the house and may even cause headaches, eye or nose irritation, reduce productivity and make you feel sluggish.

If that’s the case, contact a professional HVAC technician that will give you proper instructions on how to proceed. You should also take a look at a ceiling mounted air purifier that will be a great addition to any air ventilation system.

Mold and Moisture

If you are living in a humid climate, mold spores are the major source of bad smell inside your house. Remember, that the humidity level should not be over 55%. Any hydrometer is capable of detecting room humidity levels, even the cheapest one. Here’s one from Amazon, for example.

A damp and warm environment is a heaven-like atmosphere for growing mold bacteria. Try to keep your house dry and regularly clean it with a vacuum cleaner to prevent mold spores to grow.

Kitchen Smells

The kitchen is often a source of different smells. We all like to smell tasty food that comes from a kitchen, but in some cases, it mixes up with stinky kitchen odor filling the entire house with a dirty smell.

The most common reasons for the smelly kitchen odor are dishwashers, garbage disposals and trash cans.

To fix the smell coming from the dishwasher, regularly clean it by running an empty-dry-heat cycle. It flushes the interior including the filter, silverware basket, doors and panels, thus preventing the growth of bacteria that later produce that smell.

To clean your garbage disposal use a freshener to remove odor or you can make one yourself by cutting a few thin strips of orange peel, lemon or lime into the disposal. It will act as a deodorizer and help to maintain a clean drain.

Trash cans also accumulate bacteria from leftover food and other litter, so you should clean them once in a while too.

Body Odor

If you walk in the house and it has a sour sweat smell – I guarantee you, this is because somebody was sweating really hard in the past hours. The sweat gets accumulated in bed sheets, towels, shirts and curtains which later produce such a strong dirty odor.

If a human body produces sweat for no obvious reason at all it’s recommended to visit a physician to get proper treatment. In other cases, an air purifier is an obvious choice to clean the house from body odor. More on them later.

Outside Pollution

Unfortunately, in some cases smell in your house may be a result of outside pollution. Highway pollution, a neighbor that likes to smoke cigarettes or marihuana (I still remember my childhood, when our house was filled with unbearable tobacco smoke thanks to our neighbors), big city pollution, cars – all these factors may directly affect the air quality inside your house and result in a mix of weird smell.

Unfortunately, there are no simple solutions to such types of problems. In the case of smoking neighbors if you have the necessary social skills and they are willing to cooperate, you may find some common ground. But other sources of air pollution aren’t going to get fixed this way and you will have to spend money on air ventilation and cleaning system.

How To Remove House Smells With an Air Purifier

To reduce household odor you may take a look at air purifiers. Not counting the models that do absolutely nothing (I’ve covered what you should take into account when buying one in my article “Are air purifiers a waste of money?“), modern True HEPA air cleaners are capable of reducing odor and freshening the air in the whole house.

The air purifiers in the $200-300 range are great at reducing tobacco smoke, dust particles and different odors. I can recommend either Coway AP-1512HH Mighty Air Purifier or Winix 5500-2 air cleaner. They are made by trusted brands like Coway and Winix respectively and have many positive reviews.

Coway AP-1512HH Mighty Air Purifier

Coway AP-1512HH Mighty Air Purifier

Winix 5500-2 Air Purifier Reviews

Winix 5500-2 Air Purifier

Both air purifiers employ a 4-stage air filtration system with a pre-filter for dust removal, an Activated Carbon filter for odor removal and a True HEPA filter to capture small harmful particles. Additionally, Coway and Winix have an ionizer that improves air quality but produces a slight ozone scent. It can be easily turned off.

Both Coway AP-1512HH and Winix 5500-2 are designed for small and medium rooms and have AHAM-verified ACH ratings. I get into more details in my Coway Airmega AP-1512HH review and Winix 5500-2 review respectively if you’re interested to know more about these air purifiers.

The interesting feature of Alen air purifiers is that the company designs its filters for a different types of odors. They have different sets of Carbon filters to remove kitchen odor, diaper odor, kitchen smells, tobacco smoke and others. On the downside, their air purifiers are more expensive than common ones.

If the source of the smell in your house is located outside and it is really irritating and polluting the air inside of your house, the traditional HEPA air purifiers will have little efficiency. In this scenario, you need to have installed both an air ventilation system and air purifier.

I can recommend Tracs air purifiers in this instance. They can be explained in three E’s: efficient, expensive and energy-saving. The company offers portable (for home and industrial use) and ceiling mounted air purifiers. Portable residential air purifiers are cheaper (excluding the industrial version), and ceiling ones offer air purification for the whole house and can be easily installed in the exposed return ductwork. Their air purifiers not just remove odor, but also eliminate viruses and bacteria releasing fresh and clean air for the whole house.

Tracs ceiling mounted air purifier

I hope this article has given you a few ideas on how to deal with smells when you walk in your house and they instantly irritate your nose. In most cases, DIY solutions with an additional air purifier can fix the problem completely, but sometimes you have to spend substantial funds to remove stinky odor from your home and clean the air.

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