// March 08, 2017

Removing Bad Odours From Common Household Surfaces

Anosmia is a disorder characterized by a lack of sense of smell.

It’s a sad and frustrating condition; without smell, we’d miss a lot of information about our lives. From memories to safety to the enjoyment of food, smells are an important part of how we understand the world.

In some cases, though, anosmia might come in handy. How many of us have encountered an unreasonably offensive smell, and wished we could remove ourselves from the situation?

Unfortunately, many unpleasant home smells can only be removed with great difficulty. Whether it’s furniture, textiles or even mold or mildew, there are a number of ways you can get rid of strong smells in the home.

While it's probably not what you want to hear, a thorough scrub goes a long way to eliminating odours

Removing smells from common household surfaces

A thorough, disinfecting scrub - anything that isn’t cloth

This is one of those tips like no-nonsense weight loss. Nobody wants to hear it, but here it is anyway: sometimes, you need a sponge, a bucket of hot water, and time.

Any homeowner will tell you this is a once-yearly necessity. Nothing beats that general grimy smell than a thorough scrub.

Sometimes, though, you’re tasked with cleaning a home that isn’t even yours. Real estate agents, home stagers, cleaners, and renovators often have less time and energy than needed to do a thorough scrub. There are other options, too.

Even baking soda and a vaccuum can do wonders for carpet odours

Steam cleaning - porous materials, cloth

Steam cleaning, used primarily to remove wrinkles but applied in many ways, is a great way to remove strong smells from porous materials and textiles. Steam cleaning, when using a machine that heats its vapour to above 120 degrees C, is effective at disinfecting.

It’s a great green alternative to chemically disinfecting or cleaning. When vapour is above 150 degrees C, dust mites and bedbugs are killed, too. So you can use it on really, really tough assignments. 

Highly-soiled cloth, textiles, and porous materials may require industrial steam cleaning equipment

Hydroxyls - all surfaces

Hydroxyl radicals are ions that easily react with most compounds in the air. Interestingly, their chemical reaction doesn’t require air to pass through a chamber in order to be disinfected. Because of that, a hydroxyl generator can access and decontaminate porous surfaces, fabrics, even spaces in between walls and damp areas.

If you’re struggling with strong, persistent odours - cigarettes, pet urine, or cooking smells - then a hydroxyl generator is a great, fast way to eliminate and deodorize a space.

Odour-sealing paint works best for surface stains and mild odours, but shouldn't be used to cover up potential health hazards

Odour-sealing paint - soiled and stained walls

Odour-sealing paints are either multi-step primer and paint systems, or oil-based shellac paints. While not perfect, most combinations can cover unsightly and difficult-to-remove smoke and pet stains that contribute to odour.

An important note: not all odour-sealing paints are created equally. Find a professional-quality paint and research its effectiveness online before shelling out extra for a paint that might not last.

Enzymatic cleaning agents - most surfaces

Enzymatic cleaners are similar to hydroxyl radicals in that they react with compounds to help eliminate them. Often used to treat animal stains, enzymatic cleaners can be especially useful when dealing with pets repeatedly using non-litter-box spaces as a little box.

Enzymatic cleaning agents may stain or leave residue, so it’s recommended that you test on a small test piece of fabric before applying to more visible furniture and flooring.

Ultimately...

Whether you’re a real estate agent tasked with a difficult project, a homeowner with a rogue pet, or simply looking to remove odours for your home, there are a number of ways you can tackle the strongest smells.

If you have any questions or are dealing with a particularly stubborn or difficult odour, give us a call! We have a range of solutions for every budget.

 

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