Bad Smells in the House that Come and Go and How to Solve Them


Perhaps you’ve come across a foul smell in your house and have a hard time tracing its source. This can bring a lot of discomfort inside your home and those living in it. You are not to blame. Sometimes even the best of hygiene practices may innocently neglect those areas prone to bad smells.

Fortunately, the solution to odors is quite simple. If you can trace it, you can take care of it. This is why we want to bring to your attention a few common causes of bad smells and where they come from. The earlier you locate these problem areas, the quicker you can remedy them. You might not even need the endless cans of air fresheners to purify the air.

Related: The 10 Best Air Purifier and Humidifier Combos

1. Gas leaks

Natural gas is a common energy source found in nearly almost every home. It is what helps us cook, heat water, and do other domestic chores. But once it escapes in form of leaks, the whole house may smell like rotten eggs.

You see gas is colorless so you wouldn’t ordinarily detect a leak with your eyes. To compensate for this shortcoming, it is imparted with a strong odorant uniquely similar to eggs gone bad. If you pick on this, immediately vacate the premises for your own safety.

Do not attempt to light a matchstick or even use electrical appliances because they could trigger an explosion. Get away to a safe distance and call for emergency help from the gas company.

2. Fish Smell

Unless you had fish for dinner, the only other explanation for this would be a faulty power outlet. When the wires inside start to burn, or fray from having been chewed by rodents, the result is a stinky fish smell.

It might also be that there was a circuit overload or that the fuse got damaged. Other times it could be that your socket is just too old and it got worn out. There are a lot of explanations leading to a damaged socket, and you will likely smell it meters away.

Avoid trying to poke around and fix the problem because it just might cause a fire break. Leave the repairing to professionals.

3. Sewage Odor / Sulphur

The only place notorious for spotting sewage smells is the bathroom. And more specifically your drainage system and pipework. Remember the bathroom passes a lot of waste and some of it could end up clogging up inside the ducts.

In the case of a drain that hasn’t been in use for a while, the plumbing trap might be the issue. A plumbing trap is the U-shaped portion of the pipe designed to trap liquid and gases while allowing waste materials to pass through. When the liquid here evaporates, sewer gases can escape causing a terrible smell.

Your best preventive measure is to run hot water inside the drain once in a while. And if the sulfur smell happens to be coming from your water heater instead, check for problems with the anode rod.

4. Cat Urine

Surprisingly, you do not need a cat to be troubled by this. In case you have one then your hunt for the source is over. But if you do not, you might want to check your lawn.

Boxwood shrubs particularly the English boxwood and ornamental boxwood are prime suspects in giving off a cat urine smell. While they make your backyard look sophisticated they have a side effect of feline waste.

During the rainy season, the black toxic mold is yet another culprit of the same. This is a dangerous kind of mold that is harmful to both pets and humans. The best way to get rid of it is to get a professional to eliminate it so you are out of harm’s way.

5. Wet, Dog Smell

Your furry friends may be thoroughly clean yet you still get this smell. Rodents such as squirrels, raccoons, and rats give off a similar smell which is irritating, to say the least. The evidence of dug-up holes in your lawn is a strong indicator that you may have uninvited guests in your compound.

These creatures transfer worms through their fecal waste and are a contact point for germs and other allergies. If not attended to early enough, contamination could spread fast and wide. When rodent poison fails to get the job done, it may be time to call in pest control services for the heavy work.

6. Decay

This is as straightforward as it gets. The smell of decomposition cannot be mistaken for another. The only difference is that it is stronger in the case of animals. So when you begin to sense a rotting smell check hidden spots like behind the pantry or kitchen cabinet. In worse cases, it could be a rat that died within your home.

Luckily, as soon as you dispose of the decomposing matter and follow to clean up with strong detergents, the smell should be gone in a couple of minutes.

7. Stuffy Gym Smell

If you’ve been to the locker room or run into a friend fresh from the gym, you know how bad the stench gets. Unfortunately, this could also be a consequence of dirty HVAC systems. The units are great for air purification since they sift out micro particles and pollutants that contaminate the air.

They, however, need regular cleaning with commercial detergents, or else the bacterial buildup will soon provoke filthy smells. Experts even recommend a deep clean from third-party professionals just to remove all lurking germs.

During spring and fall, the buildup is more prevalent because of the shift between hot and cold air, so you ought to be extra vigilant during these times.

8. Mold/ Mildew Smell

Now, this is likely to be in any room in your house with high moisture levels. The kitchen, bathroom, and basement particularly fall victim to this more than other spaces. Moisture is conducive for mold growth and you will typically see the evidence around walls and floors.

In extreme cases, mold can cause respiratory problems to immune-compromised persons or transmit allergies. If you can, do not let it get out of hand. Use commercial cleaners or make your own with bleach and water to remove the growth.

And to prevent a repeat of the same, properly ventilate these areas by opening the windows or using an exhaust fan. Also, check your pipes for any leakages and have them fixed.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here