10 Odor-Holding Surfaces in Your Home

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Woman Next to a Stinky Carpet Covering Her Nose while cleaning odor-holding surfaces

10 Odor-Holding Surfaces in Your Home

No matter how careful you keep bad smells out of your home, there are still odor-holding surfaces that require professional attention for a truly fresh environment. It could be because moisture got in and became a host for bacteria or mold.

It could be because the surface was porous and is still outgassing something nasty. It could also just be musty. The professionals at A1 Cleaning can help you find the source of the smell and neutralize it or repair the damage, including leaks, that allows the smell inside your house.


Odor-Holding Surfaces in Your Home

1. Drywall

Cleaning up painted drywall after a house fire is possible, but it will take a caustic mix of trisodium phosphate and bleach with detergent. To safely apply such a combination, you will need to do a lot of masking and may need to apply it with a sprayer.

Unless you are used to working in a respirator and other protective gear, bringing in a professional is a good idea.

2. Plumbing

If air fresheners aren’t tackling your bathroom odors, the floor around your toilet or tub has gotten wet and is now a host to nasty bugs. If you can’t see any signs of gaps around your toilet or tub, consider spring rubbing alcohol along the seal where porcelain meets the floor.

If the smell improves, you may need a more powerful disinfectant. If it doesn’t, it’s time to check your subfloor.

3. Carpets and Pads

Surfaces in Your Home That Hold Onto Odors - Little girl in muddy shoes messing up carpet at home

The carpet in your home can be perfumed, but removing the odor may be a challenge once your carpet and pad have been exposed to 

  • pet urine, waste, or vomit
  • smoke
  • moisture and mud from wet shoes

Unfortunately, a wet carpet often means a wet pad. If moisture is trapped under the pad, you may notice a musty or moldy smell from that area of your home. Both bacteria and mold will thrive in the dark.

Should you notice an area of your carpet that has been damp for a time, it’s a good idea to bring in a professional to treat the whole carpet and thoroughly dry it to reduce the risk of serious mold or bacterial growth.

4. Unfinished Wood

Unfinished wood under your cabinets and inside your walls can easily soak up odors in the space and release them over time. Homes exposed to the following may retain these odors: 

  • an inefficient fireplace or woodstove
  • tobacco or other smoke
  • a house or kitchen fire

Opening the walls to address some of these odors may be necessary. It could also be that, by treating the drywall, you can greatly reduce these odors.

5. Air Ducts

Your air ducts can easily fill up with dust. Dust that piles up over time can 

  • gather moisture from the air and become a home for bacteria and mold
  • grow sticky and cling to your duct surfaces
  • release mold spores and spread them around your home

Even with the best filters on the market, dirty air ducts smell. For those who live in snow country, your ducts could sit dormant from spring to fall. These conditions make an ideal home for smelly invaders; professional cleaners should come in and address these risks.

6. P-Traps

Perhaps your bathroom smells fine, but your laundry room is getting nasty. If you have a floor drain, it could be that your p-trap is releasing sewer gas into your home or business.

P-traps are very simple tools that serve an extremely useful purpose; your drain lines have a loop or p-shaped pipe designed to hold water between the primary sewer line and your home. This p-trap blocks those gases from entering your home.

If you’ve recently turned on the heat in your space and the air has dried out, the p-trap may have dried out, too. Add water to the drain and air out the space; if the scent doesn’t return, you’re good to go.

7. Washing Machine

Parts of the washing machine are filled with mold,algae or rust stains and dirt,preparing to clean and clear the washer drum,check,repair equipment or maintenance of household electrical appliances

It only takes one mildewed towel to turn your washing machine into a smelly nightmare. If you’ve washed a couple of loads and your washing machine still smells bad, the scent may have gotten into the rubber seals around the lid or between the agitator and the base of the washing tub.

Start by running a load without clothes and a cup of vinegar. If the smell doesn’t get any better, you may need to pull and wash the inserts with liquid laundry soap, bleach, and fabric softener. Once you’ve washed these, set a fan on them to dry them completely while cleaning the receptacles.

8. Dishwasher/Sink Drain

Your dishwasher also has soft rubber seals that can serve as a host for lingering scents. The glue seams for these seals can also become a host for bacteria.

If your dishwasher smells fine, but the draining is nasty, the problem may be in your drain or garbage disposal. Garbage disposals can be incredibly dangerous when jammed; never reach down there and start fishing around.

Make sure it’s unplugged before trying to find the smell’s source, and remember to check the rubber seal for bacterial slime.

9. Refrigerator Seal and Plastic Shelving

If something starts evolving in your refrigerator, the smell may get much better when you get rid of the biology experiment. However, bad smells can cling to plastic fixtures and rubber seals.

Remove and clean the glass shelves and set them aside before you tackle the plastic door shelves and drawers. A simple wash of baking soda and warm water may be all you need to freshen them. Just take care not to use any metal scrubbing tools.

10. Window Sills

When spring comes and you can open up the house, make sure you take a good look at your window sill and your window seals. Snow and ice can build up on window sills. It may seep and settle in the window sill or melt down inside the wall when it melts.

If your window sills develop a smell, are wet in the spring, or show any signs of rot, it’s time to check the whole wall.


Get a Full Diagnosis, Repair, and Cleanup

Moisture and mold will not improve with perfume and could eventually make your house a very dangerous place to live. The stink of a cooking fire or cigar smoke can be overcome with the right help. Whether you’re dealing with moisture trapped inside your walls or need to eliminate odors from odor-holding surfaces, it’s crucial to contact the professionals for effective solutions.

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