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8 Surprising Reasons Why Your Home Smells Weird

“My home smells bad… but why?”

Imagine coming home, opening the door and walking inside a beautifully scented home, lavender, citrus, you name it. Unfortunately, as good as that sounds…or smells, sometimes your clean and immaculate sanctuary may actually cause weird home smells from the most surprising items.

From your washing machine to your pets and even new furniture, almost everything in your house can represent a source of foul odors no matter how clean you think they might be. If you don’t know where to look when your place smells like rotten eggs, start with these unexpected culprits.

home smells
Whenever you feel a weird smell in your home, it’s time to make a double-check around each room to make sure you didn’t miss anything. Credit:

Trash can

Nothing new here, right? You throw away all sorts of nasty stuff, from food spills to crumbs and leftovers. These build up and it’s one reason why your home smells even if you take away your trash on a regular basis. To solve this smelly problem and get rid of bad odors for good, spray the can with diluted bleach and then rinse it thoroughly after a couple of hours, suggests Abe Navas, the general manager of Emily’s Maids house cleaning service in Dallas, Texas.

Another way to make sure your trash can doesn’t build up and you need to evacuate your house due to the smell, is to empty the can even if it’s not quite full, advises Jennifer Snyder, the certified professional organizer and owner of Neat as a Pin Organizing & Cleaning.


No matter how much you love your furry friends, you have to admit that they can sometimes smell really bad. Dogs, for example, perspire from their paws, but if your Fido smells like a four-legged trash can, then it might have something to do with their health. Check for dental problems, urinary incontinence, kidney health, every time you feel a strange odor from your four-legged buddy. If left untreated, these health issues can pose a real threat to your pet – let alone the suffering you’ll endure due to the smell.

Make sure you give your pet regular baths to eliminate bacteria on their fur and clean their sleeping and eating accessories every week or so, but avoid using aggressive chemicals in the process. Remove animal hair under beds and sofas and strategically place some air fresheners to absorb some of the odors your pet might naturally release.

Wet clothing

Dirty laundry should not be kept in the bathroom, advised Nava. Steam from hot showers and baths creates humidity and humidity is the perfect environment for growing bacteria. And guess what? Bacteria can release extremely obnoxious odors.

So, next time you clean your bathroom but can’t seem to get rid of the foul smell, make sure you don’t have wet, dirty clothes in there, or else, you will be cleaning and rubbing but the smell will still be there. Most often, this happens with towels. I like to deep wash mine at the 4-hour washing machine cycle once a month to make sure they’re perfectly clean.


Did you know that you cannot smell your own home because it smells like your body? This is called olfactory adaptation and it’s associated with the places we spend most of our time. This is also one of the reasons some really nasty household odors remain undetected for a really long time.

Sheets, for instance, can smell like rotten tomatoes if not changed and washed regularly. That’s because they get covered in body oils, dead cells and dirt and can carry all sorts of bacteria and allergens. You can even get sick if you don’t tend to them properly. Think about that next time you start sneezing without an obvious reason.

Front-load washer

Bacteria thrives in water, particularly stagnant water like some house appliances use. According to Ron Shimek, the Minneapolis-based president of Mr. Appliance, if you don’t know why your home smells bad, it might not hurt to check your coffee maker or washing machine. “Every time you open and close the washer’s door, the moisture from each cycle is trapped in the seal,” he warns.

Another culprit can be the washer’s door, where mold grows and develops. To avoid this moldy situation, don’t close the door and detergent drawer after the last wash, instead let it open for a couple of hours. Mold can be eliminated with a mixture of baking soda and vinegar, but the easiest way to make sure your washing machine stays in perfect condition and doesn’t become a germ and odor spreader, is to use a specific cleaner on a regular basis.

Your dishwasher can surprisingly be a huge culprit for that weird smell, so beware! Credit:


Much like your washing machine, your dishwasher can also become a breeding ground for mold and bacteria.  “Its warm, damp environment is like heaven for mold spores, especially when there are food particles left behind from your last cycle”, according to Shimek.

An empty dry-heat cycle can help you avoid this situation, because it cleans and freshens everything, including silverware basket, filter, panels, and door gasket. To get rid of mold on silvers baskets, soak it in diluted bleach and warm water for half an hour and then rinse it from top to bottom.

Garbage disposal

This is another reason why your home smells bad. Sure, the name itself is a dead giveaway but your garbage disposal doesn’t have to be the filthiest place on earth. There are a lot of garbage disposal deodorizers that can help you remove grime and dirt that is more difficult to reach.

You can also strategically put some lemon, lime, or orange peel inside the disposal to clean and freshen it up a bit, advises Dana Kofsky, a Los Angeles–based wellness expert. However, the safest ways to avoid this problem is to simply take out the trash as often as possible. Trust me, your kitchen will thank you later!

New furniture

If you like the smell of new things, such as your sofa, just know it’s not the smell of NEW, it’s the smell of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), chemicals that can cause eye, nose, and throat problems, and even more serious issues, such as kidney damage, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

“Many people don’t realize that the indoor levels of toxins can be 10 times higher than those found outdoors, and furniture is one reason why your home smells bad,” warns Bart Wolbers, founder of Nature Builds Health. To make sure your brand-new sofa or other piece of furniture don’t send you on a trip to the hospital, use a carbon-filter purifier. If the bad odor is still there after a month or two, then you need to take it back and ask for a refund.

If you thought this post was useful, there’s more! I’d highly recommend that you check out our in-depth article on 8 Terrible Cleaning Mistakes People Had No Idea They Were Making. Trust me, some will truly surprise you!

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