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Why Your House Smells and What to Do About It

You and the family spent a week at the beach, soaking up the sun and the sea air, playing in the ocean and the pools and will be shaking sand out of towels and bathing suits for weeks. The dog went for a few swims, too. Or you’ve stood in long lines for the rides at the amusement park, eaten as many blue crabs as you could fit into your stomachs. You’ve grilled burgers and dogs out on the deck, hung out in the jacuzzi. You are bringing all manner of smells back home with you after your fantastic vacation. But while you were away, your house was developing a smell of its own. Or was it? You walk in the door and ask yourself, ‘Why is that weird smell in my house?’

Chances are, when you get home, you’re going to find that your house has a smell – what we call Stinky House Syndrome – and chances are that it was there before you left but you couldn’t smell it. This is what is known as olfactory fatigue, or nose blindness. 

So, what causes nose blindness and how can you get your house as clean as the day you moved in? What can you do to get rid of that stinky carpet after your vacation? Wonder how to get your house as clean as the professionals without the cost? Read on to learn more!

What is Nose Blindness and What Causes It?

Before we get into what it is and what causes it, it is important to understand that olfactory fatigue (nose blindness) is not a medical illness or disorder. There are illnesses and a disorder called anosmia that cause a significant reduction in the ability to detect odor. Nose blindness is simply your brain’s way of preventing overstimulation. Your brain receives so much information during your day, it has created natural filters to help prevent receiving too much. Nose blindness also helps your body to identify when something unusual is happening that might need you to address it, like food burning or a chemical spill, or a stinky carpet. 

When you first arrived at the beach house you rented, it might have had a smell at first: maybe a little musty if it hadn’t been used in a while, or like sunscreen. But as you spent time there, the beach house lost that smell. It’s the same thing at home. Nose blindness makes it nearly impossible to detect smells in your house. And chances are pretty good that the owners don’t invest in odor removal services throughout the rental season.

When you get home from vacation, because you spent some time away, you’ll probably be able to smell what your guests smell when they first come to visit. You might walk in and feel like you need a home sterilization once you get a whiff of that stinky carpet or general pet odor that has been circulating in your home without you knowing it – because your nose was blind to the smell.

Grumpy Cat on Carpet

Nose Blindness Offenders: The Answer to “Why is that weird smell in my house?

Your brain’s stimulation filter will weed out the bad smells first, which is great for you living with the stinky house, but could be horrendous for guests! There are some obvious offenders when it comes to what will stink your house up right under your nose.

1. Moisture

If you live in a humid or damp location, moisture could lead to a musty, mildewy odor–not to mention possibly damaging furniture or soft materials. But a damp towel or wet corners in bathtubs can create the same mildew odor that permeates the house. Consider a furniture deep cleaning and a carpet odor eliminator.

2. Pets

Even the cleanest dog or cat comes with some smells. A litter box that’s not as clean as it should be; a favorite chew toy that has been slobbered on; even the ingredients in dry pet food can develop an odor if your cat or dog doesn’t gobble it all up in one meal. Before you call in professional odor removal services, know that Zerorez® has a pet odor enzyme cleaner called ZeroStink® you might want to invest in to get rid of your stinky carpet. We highly recommend this carpet odor eliminator.

3. Food

Stinky house syndrome can start with something small: an apple core thrown in the garbage disposal without being run; a piece of ham that fell off a sandwich onto the floor under the couch; a styrofoam tray and wrapper from chicken thrown in the trash and left for days. Cooking with fragrant spices or oil can send droplets into the air to land well outside the kitchen, creating a stinky carpet smell. Some of these odors you’ll notice right away. Some, you might not until your daughter’s friend comes over to do homework and wrinkles her face the second she walks in because she smells the stink when you don’t. Cleaning 101 dictates you perform your own home sterilization proactively – like vacuuming under couches or routinely wiping kitchen surfaces – to keep these odors down even if you can’t smell them yourself.

4. Body Odor

Stinky socks and undergarments, sheets that go unchanged, sweaty shoes can all be stinky house offenders. Even if these things are picked up off the floor (talk about cleaning 101), or are hiding out in a laundry room, the bacteria can linger in the air, long after they’re gone. A little house sanitation or cleaning 101 will go a long way to eliminating both food and body odor offenders. 

Fix Those Nose Blindness Odor Offenders – Cleaning 101

There are some pretty simple solutions to keeping olfactory fatigue from hiding the smells in your home. Take a little time before you leave for vacation to make sure these areas are clean.

1. Vacuum

Odor particles love to sink in and stick to soft surfaces, like carpets, upholstery or drapes. Your vacuum is the first carpet odor eliminator tool; used on these surfaces regularly is how to remove odors from carpet. Vacuuming helps prevent these particles from building up so you won’t have to call in professional odor removal services for furniture deep cleaning either.

2. Clean Appliances

The appliances we use to keep the house as clean as it can be, need to be cleaned too. To keep them smelling fresh, we recommend:

  • Keep your dishwasher filter clean of debris. 
  • Wipe down the soft rubber surfaces of your washing machine.
  • Change or wash mop heads.
  • Change the filter in your vacuum.
  • Flush out your garbage disposal with some diluted vinegar and baking soda.
  • Make sure your pipe drains are clean.
  • Use some cleaner in your toilet before it shows signs of dirt.

3. Fresh Air

Your air intake filters are constantly sucking up all the odors your family produces, from food to sweat, pets to mildew. You owe it to your house to make sure it’s breathing the freshest air possible.  Consider letting a fresh breeze through your house when the weather is mild (and pollen-free). It may not be the best carpet odor eliminator, but it will help lessen the lingering stinky carpet smell from the air.

4. Set the Thermostat

Bacteria grow in heat. That means odors in your home become more pronounced in your home while you’re away, especially if there’s no circulation and you’ve turned up the thermostat to save energy dollars. If you don’t want to leave the air on cool while you’re away, leave the fan running so the air continues to move and so your family won’t be screaming for odor removal services when you come home.

5. Air Filters

Sometimes, house sanitation can be as simple as changing air filters every 3 months to minimize odors from circulating throughout the house, especially while you’re away. It’s a very simple addition to your cleaning 101 checklist that can make a big difference in both dust accumulation on carpets and upholstery as well as odor.

6. Air Ducts

It’s a question many of us ask ourselves: how often should I really be cleaning my air ducts? We recommend you clean your air ducts every 2 years to avoid build-up from what the filter doesn’t catch and keep them as clean as they need to be on a regular basis. It’s that extra house sanitation step that can help keep you from stinky house syndrome in the long-term.

7. Mist Unfishined Floors

To prevent bacteria growth, use a cleaning and disinfecting product like Microban or D Con 30 to spray unfinished floors before you leave. This can be your own personal home sterilization process to catch lingering bacteria and cut down on the stink.

If these tips don’t answer “Why is that weird smell in my house?” or help you in getting rid of stinky house syndrome, consider calling for professional odor removal services brought to you by Zerorez®. The Zerorez® answer to cleaning and disinfecting a home before leaving it empty is our proprietary process that includes a non-toxic, food-grade enzyme that destroys unpleasant smells instead of just hiding them (our own special carpet odor remover and home sterilization process) and Zrwater®. Our carpet cleaning pet stains and odor removal process will leave your carpets pet stain-free, or you can choose our furniture deep cleaning service to get out stains, dirt buildup or pet odor. And we can even provide you with our “green” solution to cleaning and disinfecting your tile, countertops, glass surfaces, natural stone, and other hard floor surfaces to clean, protect against harmful pathogens, and keep them looking their best.

Need More Information? 

If following a cleaning 101 checklist is not for you, or you’ve tried to cure your stinky carpet and it doesn’t work, give us a call for a free professional couch cleaning cost estimate for your home.  You can also contact us to find out about our current Monthly Specials on Residential and Commercial Cleaning Services. Call Zerorez® DC Metro at 703-382-1221 — or book a carpet cleaning appointment online. Does Zerorez® really work? Check out our Zerorez® reviews and you’ll find the answer is a resounding yes!

We invite you to connect with Zerorez® DC on Facebook to find the latest Zerorez® carpet cleaning specials or to see examples of our upholstery cleaning service! We can also be found on LinkedIn for business and commercial accounts — and get all our great cleaning tips on our blog, The Residue Chronicles!

Locally owned and operated Zerorez® DC and Fredericksburg“The Right Way To Clean” in the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area, Stafford County (including Aquia Harbor, Shiloh and Dodds Corner), Maryland (including Indian Head, Bowie, and Olney) and the Northern Virginia Region (including Burke, Oakton, and McLean) since 2015.

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