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How to De-Stinkify Your House for a Showing

Our homes are places where we can relax and be comfortable doing all the things we want. And yet, that absolute freedom often comes with smelly consequences. Cigarette smoke, pet doodoo, molds, sweat, sewage, gas, trash, and small dead animals are some of the things that can make our abodes disgustingly odorous.

Unfortunately, we can get nose blind to these stinks. And when it comes to selling your place, potential buyers might hesitate to make a deal with you. Let alone enter your house for a tour. (All because you didn’t deodorize the house thinking there’s no bad smell.)

Do you suspect your home of having bad odors you can’t detect? It would be a good idea to have someone else who doesn’t live there do a sniff test. And if they confirm there are indeed intolerable stenches, then follow the tips below to eliminate these odors from your home.

1. Put activated charcoal or baking soda in the fridge

Defrost your fridge first, clean it thoroughly, and put a bag of baking soda or tray of activated charcoal inside. Your fridge may be closed all the time but if left uncleaned, a mix of food odors will escape when you open it, causing potential buyers to wonder what that uncanny smell is. 

2. Wash curtains, pillowcases, seat covers, and other furniture fabrics

Dust, smoke, and sweat are the main culprits of smelly rooms. What's worse is that their odors get stronger over time. Make sure you’ve changed all fabrics for ones fresh out of the laundry. That includes bed sheets, blankets, and table covers.

3. Bleach the molds

Check the tiles and other ceramics on your kitchen floor, in your bathroom, kitchen sink, and under the sink. These surfaces get wet often, making them conducive for mold growth. If you see dark patches and spots, soak them in muriatic acid or bleach. Then brush the mold off thoroughly.

4. Clean the trash cans

Most of the time, it’s not your garbage that smells but your indoor trash cans. Remove the garbage bag first. Soak the bin with soap water using a hand sprayer. Wait a few minutes to let the soap dissolve the stinky sludges. Finally, brush the nastiness off before rinsing with water.

5. Pour heated liquid lye down the drains

Grease and other organic matter can accumulate and clog your sink drains. If left undealt with, it can cause a stink similar to steams from urban street sewers. Liquid lye is a solution that can dissolve bones and even skin. Heat it up and pour it down the drain. Only follow this tip if your pipes are made of plastic. You can still use liquid lye for metal pipes but only as a last resort.

6. Check small dark areas for dead animals

Smell something dead? Check the spaces between your walls, dark room corners, or anywhere that a small animal can hide and make home to. You may find animal bones or decaying birds, lizards, rats, and mice. You might want to wear an industrial-grade mask during this endeavor to block the nasty stench.

Once you’re done de-stinking your house, take advantage of a sunny day. Let sunlight and outdoor air in by leaving all the windows, closets, and doors open. Nothing kills bad odors better than the sun and the breath of nature. And when the day is done, spray a lemon-scented disinfectant to seal the deal with a good lingering scent.

Need more house preparation tips for a home showing? Read these!