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We’ve all had those moments when our home doesn’t quite smell as fresh as it should. Even if your home is clean and tidy, lingering or persistent bad odors in areas like the kitchen, bathroom, laundry room, or elsewhere can be a source of frustration. The key to tackling these challenges begins with one fundamental step: pinpointing the source of those unwelcome odors.

Here are some reasons why your home smells and what you can do to fix it.

Your Pet

dog on couch
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While our furry friends are beloved members of the family, they can develop odors, just like humans. It’s important that their living spaces remain clean by regularly changing the cat litter, washing your dog’s bedding, and grooming your pets. Bathing your pet and keeping their sleeping and eating areas clean can help tackle unpleasant odors.


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A dishwasher is a common place for potential mold and odors to develop, often due to food particles accumulating within. To address this issue, make it a habit to clean your dishwasher regularly.

How to Clean a Dishwasher with Baking Soda and Vinegar

Lack of Air Circulating

kitchen with fridge and butcher countertop
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If your home feels stuffy and the air seems stale, making it hard to breathe comfortably, it might be due to a mix of stagnant air, pollutants, and a buildup of carbon dioxide. A quick fix is to open the windows for a few minutes and let fresh air circulate to help clear the indoor environment.

Trash Can

Female hands in rubber gloves pulling full garbage bag from trash bin near blue wall
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A stinky kitchen often indicates that it’s time to take the trash out. However, sometimes the issue goes beyond the bag being full—it might be due to a hole in the bag that allows gunk to accumulate at the bottom of the can. Little spills and crumbs can build up, resulting in unpleasant odors within your trash can. To address this problem, you’ll need to wash the trash can in hot, soapy water.

Garbage Disposal

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Garbage disposals are prone to developing these smells due to the accumulation of decaying food particles, grease, and other materials within the disposal and its adjacent pipes. As food particles break down and decay, they release unpleasant odors. Techniques such as using ice cubes, baking soda, and running lemon peels through the blades can help maintain a clean, fresh, and odor-free garbage disposal.

Ways to Get Rid of Smells in Garbage Disposal

Bed Sheets

Image of bedroom with blue headboard
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Bedding can start to develop odors rather quickly – specifically sweat and morning breath. Fortunately, the solution is clear: make it a habit to wash your sheets on a weekly basis.

The Refrigerator

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Expired food in the refrigerator is a common culprit for household odors. Regularly clearing out leftovers and wilted produce before your grocery shopping trips can help tackle this issue.

Washing Machine

washing machine with laundry basket
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Household appliances that frequently come into contact with water are prone to mold growth. For instance, if you have a front-load washer without a vent or leave damp laundry in the machine for an extended period, it can lead to a musty odor in the washing machine. To avoid this, it’s a good practice to leave the washer’s door and detergent drawer open for a few hours after your last load. If you discover mold, you can use a mixture of equal parts white vinegar and baking soda to clean the affected areas.

Smelly Shoes

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Shoes can be notorious for developing unpleasant odors. Take the time to thoroughly air them out. Sprinkling some baking soda inside can help absorb moisture and eliminate odors, or you can opt for specialized shoe odor eliminators.

Dirty HVAC Filter

removing old air filter
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To maintain a healthy indoor environment, it’s important to regularly change the air filters in your home. Air filters play a crucial role in removing airborne particles such as dust, pollen, pet dander, and other allergens from the air. Typically, it’s recommended to change air filters every three months. If you detect any unusual odors in your home, this could be an indicator that it’s time to replace the air filter.

How Often Should You Change the HVAC Air Filter in Your Home?

14 Clever Uses for Baking Soda Around the House (And It’s Not Baking)

baking soda
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A box of baking soda is a versatile household tool. It offers practical solutions for your entire home, serving as both a gentle abrasive scrub and a deodorizer. With its multi-purpose abilities, you might find yourself rethinking the need for other expensive cleaning supplies. Here are 14 clever ways to put baking soda to work around the house. 14 Clever Uses for Baking Soda Around the House (And It’s Not Baking)

How to Clean Sticky Grease Off Your Kitchen Cabinets

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Our kitchen cabinets can easily accumulate dirt, grease, and grime. Here are some of the most effective cleaning methods to revive those greasy kitchen cabinets. How to Clean Sticky Grease Off Your Kitchen Cabinets

How to Declutter Your Kitchen: 20 Items You Must Toss

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The kitchen holds a special place in our homes, serving as a hub for cooking, meals, and gatherings. However, even though it’s the center of our daily lives, it’s easy for clutter, disarray, and items that have outstayed their welcome to accumulate in this space. Check out the 12 items in your kitchen that should be thrown away immediately. How to Declutter Your Kitchen: 20 Items You Should Toss

15 Tips on How to Declutter Your Home

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Although clutter can accumulate quickly and easily between you and your life, decluttering can spark immense joy and accomplishment. Here are 15 tips to help you tackle the task of decluttering your home. 15 Tips to Help You Declutter Your Home

14 Best Places to Buy Cheap Furniture

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Furniture plays a vital role in our daily lives, offering both comfort and functionality while contributing to the aesthetics of our living spaces. However, shopping for furniture can be challenging when it surpasses your budget. Fortunately, there’s a way to navigate this. Here are the 14 best places to shop for cheap furniture. 14 Best Places to Buy Cheap Furniture

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Tamara White is the creator and founder of The Thrifty Apartment, a home decor and DIY blog that focuses on affordable and budget-friendly home decorating ideas and projects. Tamara documents her home improvement journey, love of thrifting, tips for space optimization, and creating beautiful spaces.

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