9 Disgusting Household Smells and How To Get Rid Of Them!

Our sense of smell is one of our most powerful senses. Certain scents can take us back to a time and place in our lives instantly. They can also trigger thoughts and feelings or even take us to places in our minds we’ve never even visited.

Unfortunately, not all smells are good smells! Like all things in life, the good is balanced with the bad. Below, I’ll go over some of the most common gross household smells and how you can start to get rid of them!

Fishy Smells From the Sink

Do you have a fishy smell coming from your kitchen sink? This is usually caused by food particles and grease build-up in your pipes.

The first step to getting rid of these smells is to give your sink a good cleaning. Scrub the inside of the sink with soap and water, paying particular attention to the drain area.

If the smells persist, you may need to use a more robust cleaner, like bleach or vinegar.

If you have a garbage disposal, ensure it is properly cleaned and maintained. Avoid putting things like chicken bones or coffee grounds down the disposal, as these can cause smells.

A neat trick to remove bits of food from your garbage disposal is to put half a cup of ice cubes down every week or so.

Cleaning Pet Urine

If you have pets, chances are you’ve dealt with smells from pet urine at some point.

Pet urine smells can be powerful and difficult to remove. The best way to deal with smells from pet urine is to clean the area as soon as possible. The longer the urine sits, the more time it has to soak.

If the accident wasn’t caught quickly and the urine has time to soak in, then, worst case, you may need to replace the flooring or carpet. That being said, it’s still worth attempting to clean pet accidents, even if it has had time to soak in.

To clean up pet urine, first, blot up as much of the urine as you can with a paper towel. Then, use a cleaner made specifically for removing pet urine. You can find these at most pet stores or online.

These sprays are particularly effective as they are designed to break down the molecules in pet urine that cause smells.

You can use vinegar or hydrogen peroxide if you don’t have a pet-specific cleaner. Be sure to test these on an inconspicuous spot first as they can sometimes damage surfaces (These treatments will be more effective on those accidents caught more quickly).

Dealing WIth a Damp Smelly Cupboard

Damp smells in cupboards are usually caused by moisture. This can be from a leaky pipe, condensation, or high humidity.

The first step to getting rid of these smells is to identify and fix the source of the moisture. Once you’ve done that, you can start working on removing the odor.

If the smell is coming from the actual wood of the cupboard, then you can try using a dehumidifier. This will help to remove the moisture from the air, which will then help the wood dry out. This should help to remove the smell.

Another option is to make sachets using dried lavender, rosemary, or thyme. These herbs all have natural deodorizing properties that can help to freshen up your cupboards. Even without a damp problem, this is a nice way to keep your cupboard smelling nice.

Cleaning A Smelly Microwave

If you notice a terrible smell coming from your microwave when you pop open the door, it’s likely because food has been splattered or spilled inside of it.

The first thing to try is to give your microwave a good cleaning. Scrub the inside with soap and water, paying special attention to any areas where there is food or grease build-up.

If the smell persists, you may need a more robust cleaner, like bleach or vinegar (be sure to clean with soap and water after using stronger chemicals).

A neat trick to remove smells from your microwave is to put a bowl of water inside and microwaves it for just a few minutes. The steam from the water will help to loosen any build-up stuck to the microwave’s walls. Then clean as usual!

Removing the Smell of Cigarette Smoke

If you’re a smoker, or if you live with a smoker, then you’re probably all too familiar with the smells of cigarette smoke.

If you’ve ever bought a used car without sitting inside (like me). You will realize just how strong this smell can be and how hard it is to remove.

To get rid of cigarette smoke smells, the first thing to try is to air out the affected area as much as possible – open windows and doors to get some fresh air circulating. You can use a fan to get the air moving if needed.

If the smells are coming from fabric, like furniture or curtains, you can try using a special fabric refresher spray. These sprays help to break down the odor-causing molecules found in cigarette smoke, making the smell easier to wash out with good old-fashioned scrubbing with soap and water.

Stale Smelling Fridge/ Freezer

Finding rotting food in a fridge or freezer can result in some of the most disgusting smells around. If you’ve ever had to clean out a refrigerator that’s been turned off for a while, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Luckily, there are some easy ways to get rid of these smells.

First, take everything out of the fridge or freezer and throw away any expired or spoiled food.

Then, give the fridge or freezer a good cleaning with soap and water. If the smells are really bad, you can use a strong cleaner like bleach. Just be sure to rinse everything thoroughly afterward!

Once the fridge or freezer is clean, you can help to prevent smells by regularly cleaning it out and keeping only fresh food inside. You can also try using scented fridge fresheners or placing bowls of baking soda inside to help absorb smells.

Sour Milk Smells

If you’ve ever left milk out for too long, or if you’ve accidentally spilled some and it’s gone bad, then you know how nauseating the smell of sour milk can be. I once spilled a very milky coffee in my car at the height of summer. I suffered for that mistake dearly.

Fortunately, there are some easy ways to get rid of this smell.

Start by soaking up as much of the milk as possible with paper towels. Then, using a mixture of one part water and one part vinegar, clean the area where the milk was spilled. The acidic properties of the vinegar will help to neutralize the smells.

If the smells persist, you can try sprinkling baking soda on the affected area and letting it sit for a few hours before vacuuming it up.

Musty Old Carpets

If you’ve ever noticed that one of your carpets or rugs seems to have an odd musty smell, it’s likely because they’re harboring mold or mildew. These smells are most common in rooms that are damp or humid, like basements or laundry rooms.

To get rid of musty smells from carpets, start by vacuuming the affected area thoroughly. This will help to remove any mould or mildew spores that are clinging to the surface of the carpet.

Next, using a mixture of equal parts water and vinegar, clean the area where the smells are coming from. The acidic properties of the vinegar will help to kill mold and mildew and neutralize smells.

If possible, moving the carpet to clean the floor underneath, and the bottom side of the carpet can help stop these smells from coming back.

Greasy Plastic Containers

If you have any plastic containers that seem to have a greasy film on them, or that have started to smell bad, then it’s likely because they’ve been in contact with food that contains a high level of Oil.

This can happen if you store leftovers in plastic containers without washing them first, or if you store oily foods for a long time.

To help remove this oil and smell, start by washing the containers with hot, soapy water. If the smells persist, you can try soaking the containers in a mixture of one part water and one part vinegar for a few hours. The acid in the vinegar will help to break down the grease and remove smells.

If the smells are really bad, you can try washing the containers with a strong dishwashing detergent. Just be sure to rinse them well afterward!


These are just a few of the most common household smells and some easy ways to get rid of them. While some smells are just a nuisance that can be handled yourself, smells like gas or smoke should be treated with urgency and a professional called immediately.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What smells should I worry about in my house?

While many smells can be unpleasant, there are only a few that could indicate a serious problem. If you notice smells of gas, rotting food, or sewage, it’s important to take action immediately and contact a professional. These smells could indicate a dangerous issue that may only get worse without fixing.

Why does my room smell even though it’s clean?

If your room smells even though it’s clean, it’s likely because of the materials that the room is made from. Certain types of paint, carpet, or insulation can hold onto smells and make them seem stronger. It may be that replacing these materials is the only solution!

Does each house have its own smell?

Yes, each house has its own unique smell. This will be due to a combination of the materials that the house is made from, as well as the scents that have been brought into it. If you’ve ever noticed that your house smells different when you first walk in, it’s likely because it’s taking in the smells from outside!

While other people’s houses may smell distinct at first, you’ll get used to it the same way you are used to your own house’s smell, just by spending time there.

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