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Smelly Apartment 101: A Guide to the Common Causes & Quickest Fixes

Why does my apartment smell? I do everything I can to keep my house smelling good, but it’s not working!

Do you find yourself dealing with unpleasant smells even when you’re doing all the things you know to keep your apartment smelling its best? If you have a sensitive nose, it can be hard to live in an area that doesn’t smell pleasant.

Instead of staying in the stink, let us help you. Continue reading this article as we talk with you about the common causes of bad smells in your apartment as well as what you can do about them.

1. New Furniture

Article Summary

Some people enjoy that new furniture smell, but for the ones of us that don’t — we’ve got to get it out! Even if you do enjoy the smell, it isn’t coming from anything good.

The reason your new furniture smells like that is that it has been treated with things like flame retardants and other chemicals that are meant to protect the material, or it could be the finish of your wooden furniture.

To keep your furniture from smelling up your apartment, if you can set it outside to air out on a balcony or near a large window, that will greatly help decrease its smell.

Make sure to keep the furniture dry since humid or damp conditions can make the chemical odors worse. You can also try dry deodorizers on your furniture with fabric. Let it sit for an hour or so, and then vacuum it up and see if it has helped the smell.

2. Garbage Disposal

You wouldn’t leave garbage sitting out on your counter, but when your garbage disposal smells, it can smell like you did leave your garbage strewn throughout your house.

While using a garbage disposal is meant for your convenience, it can become more of a problem when food gets caked in it and bacteria start to grow.

If you start smelling odors coming from your garbage disposal, don’t get too worried. There are some things you can do that can help you get your sink smelling fresh and clean again.

Lemons are a good way to mask the smell and you can try limes and oranges as well. Cut them up into tiny pieces and put them down the garbage disposal when the blades are running to get the citrus smell to drown out the not-so-enjoyable smells.

Don’t think lemons are going to do the job? Bring out the big guns and grab some bleach. When you put bleach and cold water down your garbage disposal, this can help dislodge trapped food particles, which may be causing the stench.

3. Carpet

Carpets love to take all the smells in and hold them tight. That wouldn’t be so bad if those smells were good smells, but carpet often holds smells from vomit, pet accidents, mud, and other debris.

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Getting a professional carpet cleaning is the best way to get rid of unwanted odors in your carpet, but some people want to DIY the project. There are some things you can do to keep from making the call.

When you’re dealing with basic orders, the first thing you need to do is take care of soiled areas on your carpet. Look for dried in spots so you can scrub them out and blot up any wetness you find in your carpet. If there are any noticeable stains on your carpet, grab some soap and dab at it to see how much you can remove.

Grab the trusty baking soda and put it on your carpet. The baking soda will neutralize the odors that are trapped in the carpet, and all you have to do is coat the carpet with a thin layer. Let the baking soda sit for several hours and then vacuum it up.

When you’re vacuuming it up, make sure to check your vacuum canister to see if it is too full.

If you find that the smells are still sticking around in your carpet, try putting coffee grounds in a large bowl and placing it in the middle of the room. Leave the coffee grounds in the room with the windows open so it can air out while the coffee is working its magic.

4. Dishwasher

If you haven’t cleaned the drain filter in your dishwasher recently, that’s likely where the smell is coming from. Get the filter out and wash it in the sink with some soap and water. If there are any particles left on the filter, wipe them away with a sponge before putting it back in its place.

Another common troublesome part of the dishwasher is the spray arm. If it’s clogged with food, it is harder for it to clean your dishes and the food debris can easily cause an unpleasant smell.

For good measure, wipe down the entire inside of the dishwasher. Remove the racks and don’t forget the door gasket.

The drain hose can also cause some rancid smells. If there is standing water in your dishwasher, it’s almost certainly due to a problem with the drain hose. Check the hose and make sure it isn’t bent or obstructed in some other way. Fix it if it is.

5. Trash Can

Baking soda can work wonders in your trash can. You’ve already used it on your funky furniture smells and on your carpets, so why not give the trash can a good dose?

Cleaning your entire trash can with bleach may be necessary when you want to get rid of hard to deal with germs and odors. You don’t have to use straight bleach to clean your trash can, and always make sure to open a window when cleaning with bleach.

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Putting cat litter at the bottom of your trash can is a good way to keep moisture and trash odors from going wild. The cat litter will absorb those nasty odors and moisture, so you don’t have to smell what didn’t get eaten for supper.

6. Bedding

If you make your bed right away in the morning — stop it! During the night, you sweat and that causes who knows how many different smells in your room.

Let your bedding air out before you make your bed. Wash your bedding twice a month or once a week and make sure your home isn’t being plagued with bad smells from lack of washing linens.

If your sheets already have a weird smell and you can’t get rid of it, try one more thing.

Get a bucket or fill your sink with hot water. Add a cup of vinegar and a tablespoon of dish soap into the water. Put your sheets in and work them around.

Let them hang out there for a couple of hours or overnight. Get that trusty baking soda and put one-half cup of it directly in your washing machine with your sheets. Wash on the heavy soil option.

Once your bedding is done the washing, get it out and give it the good ole smell test to see if that did the trick. If they still have a smell, do it one more time.

7. Wet Clothes

Did you accidentally leave wet clothes somewhere? Maybe you went swimming and threw your clothing somewhere and forgot about them. Even if you left them in your tub, they could add some stinky smell to your home.

Good news!

With most clothes, you can use the same method as with the sheets above and you’re good to go with clean smelling clothes!

8. Pets

Ah, our little fur babies. We love them so much, but they can be a major cause of stinky smells in our homes.

How do we make sure our pets aren’t making our homes smell like a zoo?

We wash our bedding, and Fido and FiFi need their beds to be cleaned as well. Wash these once a week and you’ll decrease the odors you’ll smell from your beloved pets.

Vacuum all furniture that pets sit on, and always keep your pets well-groomed so they don’t shed unnecessarily or have clumped up hair.

An air purifier is also helpful when you have pets in the home.

Why Does My Apartment Smell? – Now You Know

Now you know the answer to “Why does my apartment smell?” Say goodbye to odors and clothespins on your nose. But before you go, why not find some other great articles to help you?

Our site is full of DIY information as other general articles that can help you in your everyday life. Browse our site, find your favorite section, drop a bookmark and come back soon for more great reads.

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