When you walk through your front door, does your home smell bad? It’s an uncomfortable situation, especially if you can’t identify the source. We as humans are uniquely sensitive to smells. Research indicates that humans can identify more than one trillion smells, including many that other mammals cannot. With such a sensitive instrument planted in the middle of your face, you’re bound to detect some odors no matter where you go.
When dealing with odors, it’s important to remember that humans’ ability to smell isn’t just a superfluous sensory attribute; it’s an essential survival tool. Like animals, humans make crucial decisions about a particular food or substance’s safety based on smell. If your home smells bad, your nose could be alerting you to the presence of toxins or other bacteria. Luckily, there are several ways to address the smell and its source, such as running the best air purifiers for odors. Keep reading to learn what causes bad smells, as well as how to address them and freshen your home’s air.
Ready to kill unpleasant odors in your home? Air Oasis is here to help. Visit us online to find the best air purifiers for odors, bacteria, viruses, VOCs, allergens and more.
What Causes Bad Smells in My Home?
Sometimes it’s easy to identify the source of a bad smell. For example, a quick inspection may reveal that your cat’s litter box is overflowing, or your teenager left a half-eaten pizza on their bedroom floor. Other times, identifying the root cause of a particular odor isn’t so easy. Musty, chemical and rotting odors are some of the most common.
If your home smells like a musty attic, dank locker room or a wet dog, you may be dealing with a mold problem. Although mold spores can hide out anywhere, they commonly colonize in places like basements, closets and bathrooms that have high levels of moisture and relatively little ventilation. They can also accumulate and grow in appliances that use water like washing machines, or in drains and water fixtures.
As mold grows and spreads, it off-gasses microbial volatile organic compounds (mVOCs), which cause musty odors. Breathing or touching mold can cause allergic reactions like sneezing, a runny nose, itchy skin and throat, watery eyes and even asthma attacks in some people. If your home consistently smells musty, you should check for mold growth.
Does your home have a distinct acrid, chemical smell? You could be dealing with volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted from a number of sources. VOCs are chemical contaminants commonly found in building materials, paints, adhesives, cleaning agents, carpeting, personal hygiene products, air fresheners and more.
VOCs pose a number of health risks, and prolonged exposure can cause symptoms like nose and throat irritation, shortness of breath, dizziness, headaches and skin issues. Left unaddressed, high concentrations of VOCs can cause damage to the lungs, liver, kidneys and central nervous system and may even cause cancer.
When food decomposes, it releases sulfur and nitrogen-containing compounds that smell bad and indicate rot. With both of these types of compounds, even a little can stink up your whole house. If the source isn’t your garbage can, you should check places where food particles could be trapped, such as the kitchen sink, dishwasher and refrigerator. In addition to stinking up the house, bacteria from rotting food can cause illness when ingested, so it’s important to find the source.
How to Get Rid of Bad Odors Indoors
The method for removing a bad odor in your home will depend on its origin. After you’ve identified and eliminated the source, you can begin to remediate the odor with proper cleaning, ventilation and air purification.
When it’s time to clean your home to remove the causes of bad odors, you’ll want to choose your cleaning products wisely. If you purchase a chemical cleaning solution, you’ll only increase the VOCs in the air. That’s why it’s essential to use natural cleaning materials, as well as adopt cleaning practices that mitigate the risk of future odors.
Best Cleaning Materials to Help With Odors
You can use household products like vinegar, lemon, baking soda and essential oils to make a fresh-smelling, natural cleaner that works for just about anything. To make your own all-purpose cleaning solution, mix 1⁄2 cup of white vinegar, two tablespoons of baking soda, tea tree and eucalyptus essential oils. Add this mixture to a spray bottle and fill the rest of the bottle with water.
How Often Should You Wash Curtains and Rugs?
Curtains collect allergens like dust over time and can cause unpleasant home odors; it’s a good idea to wash them every three to six months. Carpets collect lots of grime and dirt just by being on the floor. Vacuum carpets frequently to remove allergens, especially if you have pets, and wash them at least once a year.
When an indoor space isn’t properly ventilated, contaminants like allergens, VOCs and odors become trapped and accumulate. As a result, indoor air can be more polluted than outdoor air, even in large, industrial cities. Lack of airflow not only increases indoor pollution levels but also encourages mold and bacteria growth.
High indoor humidity levels indicated by moist, dank air can mean your home isn’t getting proper ventilation. Many HVAC systems control indoor humidity levels and ventilate air, but if your air ducts or filters are dirty, running your HVAC system could exacerbate the problem. The most immediate thing you can do to improve indoor air quality is open the windows and doors so that fresh air can circulate. Once you shut them, make sure to run a high-quality air purifier to clean whatever contaminants remain in the air.
Making a Room Smell Fresh
After you’ve removed the source of the odor, cleaned and ventilated, you may want to add something to your home to help it smell fresh. However, many store-bought products claiming to freshen your home’s air actually make indoor air quality worse. Air freshener sprays can release ozone into your home, and plug-in air fresheners and heavily scented candles release other VOCs. Try one of these alternatives to give any room in your home a fresh smell:
- Reed diffuser with your favorite essential oils
- Simmer pots with oranges and aromatics
- Flowers and houseplants
- High-quality air purifiers
Air Purifiers That Help With Bad Odors
One of the most effective ways to keep your home smelling fresh is running a high-quality air purifier. Essential oils, diffusers and houseplants can help cover up bad smells, but air purifiers can actually remove many of the contaminants that cause them.
Bad Odor Air Purifier Technology
Air purifiers can remove odor-causing contaminants by a variety of methods. At Air Oasis, we know that the most effective air purifiers employ more than one air cleaning strategy. That’s why each of our air purifiers leverages a combination or all of the following technologies:
- Carbon filtration, which traps odors and contaminants through absorption
- HEPA filtration, which traps more than 99% of particles in a fine mesh filter
- AHPCO®, a type of ionization that creates long-lasting ions that seek out and inactivate contaminants
- Bi-Polar®, an ionization technology that emits positively and negatively charged ions that attach to contaminants and cause them to fall from the air
- UV light, which inactivates bacteria and viruses and can sanitize air and surfaces
Best Air Purifiers to Help With Smells
Humans’ keen sense of smell is a mysterious and powerful ability. Smells can trigger memories, cause the mouth to salivate and even repel people from toxic substances. However, you might wish you didn’t have a sense of smell if your house is filled with persistent odors. One of the best ways to freshen your home’s air while removing contaminants is to run an air purifier for bad smells. At Air Oasis, we’re proud to provide the most effective air purifiers for odors, VOCs, bacteria, allergens and more. Questions? Contact us online or give us a call at 806-373-7788.