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What's That Smell?

We’ve all been indoors more than usual, and some are wondering why their homes smell badly even after cleaning and deodorizing. If you find yourself in this predicament, read on! 

Bring in a new nose  

Simply put, you cannot smell your own home.

Your nose can become as desensitized to smells as your eyes to your clutter. To see your clutter for what it is, you can take a picture, post it on social media and within an instant you will see what is really there. You can’t take a picture of your smells, so having a trusted “new nose” really is genius.

If your house does smell different (or worse) than you would like, here are some of the most common and overlooked places to sniff out the stinkies. 


Trash stinks.  Removing trash before it has a chance to smell is your first line of defense.  Take out your trash every morning.  Every. Single. Day. Before taking it out, finish breakfast, dump the coffee grounds, and feed your animals if using wet food. Start each day with a fresh, clean trash bag. 

Don’t forget to check bathroom wastebaskets too. If anything has been placed in the wastebasket, it should go out too. 


Dirty clothes stink. Stinky clothes stink up your home. Don’t let dirty clothes pile up if you can help it. If you are a once a week washer, make sure you have a place where the dirty clothes can go that is separate from the rest of the house. If you struggle with a stinky house, try to wash one load each day. 


Bedding can get smelly quickly. Wash your sheets regularly and have comforters professionally cleaned quarterly. 

How often you should wash your sheets depends on when you bathe. If you shower in the morning, wash your sheets every week. If you bathe before bed, you can wash every other week. 


Carpet and rugs are like a giant filter. They collect all the things floating around in the air of your home, like dust and pet dander. Add some spills or extra dirty shoes and you don’t even want to know what is in there! 

Carpets and rugs should be vacuumed at least once each week with high-traffic areas more often. Clean carpets and rugs with soap or steam quarterly to keep them from smelling. 


Sinks and drains can be releasing odors – especially if they aren’t used often. The pea trap (the U-shaped pipe underneath) can dry out, allowing gases to enter your home through the drain. 

You also want to clean your garbage disposal weekly. I love using Lemi Shine Disposal Cleaner. It foams up and is just fun to watch. I will give mine an extra clean after a particularly stinky dinner like fish. 


No surprise here.  If you have stinky shoes, keep them in a closet and keep the doors closed. 


If you have indoor pets, you want to be extra sensitive to caring for areas where smells can grow:

- Litter boxes – scoop daily, replace litter weekly

- Beds – wash beds weekly, wash animals monthly or as advised by your vet

- Crates and cages – clean weekly

- Food bowls – if using wet food, wash bowls daily and throw out cans with your daily trash

Word of caution: If you have implemented all of these odor-fighting strategies and your home still smells, you may have something going on that requires some deeper digging. Plumbers, septic system professionals, and your pest control company are good places to start. 

Finally, plug-ins smell nice, but they only mask a problem somewhere else. Instead, open some windows and let in some fresh air and perform a deep clean to give you a solid jump start. 

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Categories:  Organizing Tips
Keywords:  Organizing Tips

About the Author

Jennifer Snyder

Jennifer Snyder

My name is Jennifer Snyder CPO, Chief Executive Organizer of Neat as a Pin Organizing Experts, a Waco-based company of Professional Organizers that is not only focused on organizing the clutter in your home or office but also clutter of the heart and mind. 

I am happy that you are taking an interest in the benefits of getting your home and life organized.  Living an organized life is for everyone!

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