How to Get Rid of Old House Smell – Refresh Your House with Simple Methods

No one likes the stinky old house smell, especially when it comes to the very place they are about to move into, or will continue living in for years. There are many reasons that can make a house smell weird, and by understanding where the smell comes from, we can get rid of it successfully. So, how to get rid of the old house smell?

This article will show you essential information about where the smell might come from, then give your different methods to get rid of it. Moreover, you will also get some tips to prevent your house from smelling weird. 


Why Do Old Houses Smell Weird? – Most Common Reasons

Mold and Other Dirty Belongings

There are plenty of reasons why your home sweet home suddenly smells like home dead home. If the house is old, then the smell can come from mold formed in the wall, ground, or floor. Even though you have already detected the mold and taken care of it, the smell might still be around if the house does not have enough airflow inside. 

The unpleasant smell can also be the consequent of the home’s cluttered and messy state. If the owners have not been cleaning their place frequently enough, then the smell of dirt, food, sweat, or pets might still be in the air.

In case someone does not have the habit of doing laundry often enough, the stinky scent from dirty clothes will make the whole space smell so bad. (You should read: keep your clothes smelling fresh in drawers)

From Cigarettes 

When someone smokes too often in a house, the smoke can get onto your clothes, curtains, carpets, and other stuff, then give the whole house the smoky smell. Of course, this smell is not pleasant at all, especially for the nonsmokers. 

From Closed-In Areas

Once you close a space for too long and do not let natural air or sunlight get in, the space will naturally get that “closed-in smell.” If you already leave your space closed for too long, you will understand the smell we mention. 

It takes quite a long time to get rid of this smell, and the best way you can prevent it is to let natural air and sunlight come into every part of the house frequently or every day if possible.

From Bathrooms 

Old houses normally have old bathrooms, and therefore, the odor from these might be one of the main reasons why a house smells bad. Make sure to give your bathroom enough ventilation and clean it daily to prevent this from happening.

Other Reasons

Besides the main reasons mentioned above, there are many other things that cause your house a bad smell. Pets can give you a house that old smell that is pretty hard to get rid of. Sometimes, old houses naturally smell “old” because of the old wood and old furniture. 

Also read: 6 Rules On How to Get Someone To Clean Up After Themselves

How to Get Rid of Old House Smell – Deodorize Your House Now 

Clean the Upholstery


After being used for a month or years, upholstery and furniture can keep so much bacteria, mold, sweat, and dirt from humans and the environment. If they are not cleaned regularly, they will smell really bad. 

Let’s talk about upholstery first. This part of the house is ideal for mold and bacteria to hide in after being used for a long time. If the upholstery is too old, too dirty, and it is not expensive, the best way you should do is throw it away and get the new one. Sometimes, the dirt and bacteria in upholstery can be too much to clean off. 

In case you want to wash them away, this is what you should do. Depending on the material your upholstery is made from, you can use different washing methods to clean them off. If you want to use chemicals or commercial products, you will have to follow the instructions from the label to maintain its quality.

Clean Your Furniture

For furniture, you can choose vinegar to neutralize the smell or using another specific cleaner. Vinegar is one of the best cleaners for cleaning furniture, but we also recommend you to search for the most suitable cleaners for your specific type of furniture. 

In case you have wooden furniture only, you should remember that each type of wood requires a different cleaning solution. For sensitive and extremely valuable wood, you should search for the information before washing it. But for normal wood that is not too expensive, delicate, or sensitive, you can follow these steps to clean them off. 

  • Step 1: Make the Cleaning solution Out of Vinegar

It would help if you always went for white vinegar instead of other vinegar types for the best results. Next, if you do not want vinegar smell to stick on your wood furniture, you can add some essential oil with your favorite scent to neutralize the acidic smell from these ingredients. 

Now, mix vinegar and water with the ratio of 1:1 and pour it into a spraying bottle. Shake the bottle to mix all the ingredients together. 

  • Step 2: Neutralize the Old House Smell

Spray the vinegar solution on the wood furniture, and use a fabric to rub all the dirt off the furniture. After you are done, you can wipe the wood furniture with clean water. 

  • Step 3: Dry It

When you finish the whole cleaning process, it is crucial to take the furniture out and dry it with natural sunlight and air. By doing so, you can stop the mold and mildew from making your belongings their home all over again.

Clean the Whole House and Use Odor Eliminators

Carbon charcoal can absorb bad smell so well

Besides the upholstery and the furniture, you should clean the entire house to get rid of the smell. The parts you should focus on are the floors, the walls, and the bathroom area. 

Many different factors can be the source of the smell. Therefore, you should consider using odor eliminators to remove these unknown smells. In our opinion, a carbon odor eliminator can be the best choice as it can absorb the bad smell effectively. Depending on how big and small your house is, you should choose the smaller or bigger bag of odor eliminators.

Read: What Is Included In General House Cleaning?

More Tips for Keeping Your House Smell Fresh

Besides the most common ways to remove bad smell out of your house, you also need to follow a few tips mentioned below to keep your house clean and fresh:

Let Air and Sunlight Come into Your House

With this simple trick, you will prevent many types of odors from existing in your house. Even when you have pets or have to leave dirty clothes inside overnight, opening the door and letting the air and sunlight get in will help you get rid of all the bad scent. 

Another reason why you should let the sun come in is because it can prevent mold from forming. Mold is gross, and no one wants it in their personal space. And if your place has a high level of humanity and does not get enough sunshine, it will naturally form sooner or later. 

Combat and Prevent Mold 

Besides letting the sun in, you can also use special chemicals to wipe out the mold. You can use commercial products created solely for mold or household ingredients such as baking soda, vinegar, hot water, or tea tree to treat the mold. 

Clean the House, Wash Dishes, and Do Laundry Often Enough

Your house will smell much better as long as you take up the habit of daily cleaning. We suggest washing the floor with fragrant detergent to refresh the whole house, and never let the dirty dishes pile up for days after finishing your meals.

Fix Your Leaks

For old houses, leaking can be the reason why your house smells weird. The leaking areas from your pipes and sinks can give the house a moldy smell. Therefore, make sure you check all the pipes and sink on your house to see any leak. If you find any, fix them as soon as you can.

Throw Away Spoiled Food

When your food turns bad and is not edible anymore, toss them away instantly. Rotting food smells terrible, and the odor can linger in your house for a while even when you clean your house carefully.

Leave Shoes Outside or in Specific Areas

If you are comfortable with leaving your shoes outside, then go for it. This simple trick will save your house from smelling like “dirty shoes,” especially in the rainy seasons. 

In case you cannot keep your shoes outside, make sure you prepare a specific area for keeping shoes. Please do not leave them randomly anywhere in the house because your space will smell like it later on. 

Clean Up the Wall and Floor 

Mold, grease, and dirt can form on your wall or floor after a while, leaving behind a nasty stench as they do so. Sometimes, you have to clean the whole floor and wall to get rid of this unpleasant smell. 

Use Specific Smell Neutralizers

If homemade solutions and normal floor cleaner are not strong enough for the bad smell, you can consider buying some odor neutralizers to get the best results. 

To Sum Up

No one wants to live in or buy a house with the old house smell, but the smell should not be why you do not feel cozy in your own home. By using the right techniques and maintaining certain habits, we are sure you can keep your house smell clean and fresh on a daily basis. 

With all the information we provided in this blog, we hope you already knew how to get rid of old house smell using different methods and ingredients. Remember that preventing the bad smell from forming is always easier than treating it. So, make sure that you clean your house often enough, and let naturally wind and sunlight come every day.

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