The last thing you want to hear when
someone walks into your home is, “What’s that smell?” It’s
even worse when you don’t know how to answer the question because
you have been wondering the same thing.
If you’ve found yourself in this
predicament, it’s time to follow your nose and get to the bottom of
“that smell” once and for all. Let’s look at a path to
freshness that you can follow in order to identify the source of
odors, treat and eliminate them, and prevent them from returning in
with your nose is the best way to begin when attempting to identify
the source of an unwanted odor. For instance, if you can describe the
smell as smelling musty or like dirty socks, it is likely that you
have a mold problem or built-up bacteria in
To find the source
of this kind of odor, look in the most likely sources: leaky
plumbing, areas with poor ventilation such as the bathroom, and
window frames that may have accumulated moisture from the elements.
You might also
experience a burning smell. This could be from appliances
overheating, a dirty HVAC filter, plastic melting in the ductwork, or
exposed electrical wiring throughout the house that’s actually
melting the insulation around it.
Perhaps the most
dangerous odors are chemical or sulfuric in nature. Hopefully, a
rotten egg smell is coming from a running faucet. If it’s not, it
could be a gas leak.
There is another
common odor, the “old food” smell. To find the source more
specifically, take a good whiff from above your garbage disposal and
pop your head in the dishwasher. These are the most likely sources
for smelly food odors.
Finally, your carpet
soaks up more and more odors as time passes, including pet odors and
smells left behind from the many feet that traverse it.
Buy a Gallon of SNiPER Disinfectant & Odor Eliminator
Buy a Gallon of Nok-Out Odor Eliminator
Once you have honmed in on the sources of odors in your home, you can take action to eliminate these unwelcome smells.
Mold—If you have discovered that you are dealing with mold, you first need to repair leaks in your plumbing. Seal your windows and doors as well to keep more moisture from accumulating. Once sources of moisture have been properly sealed, it is time to remove the mold and follow up with SNiPER Disinfectant and Odor Eliminator.
Electrical—You should never ignore a burning smell. If you believe it could be electrical, you can troubleshoot by sniffing out each room. Your nose might lead you to an overheated clothes dryer in the laundry room or a very concentrated area along a wall. If it’s either of those, you might file a home warranty claim and have an electrician take a look. If the smell seems to be in every room, it’s likely coming from your HVAC and being pushed through all the vents in your home. Inspect your air filter.
Gas—If an egg- or chemical-like smell is coming from your sink or shower, you likely just have hard water. It might be time to flush the water heater or service the water softener. If it’s not the water, it’s in the air, which could mean you have a gas leak. You should address this immediately. After all, carbon monoxide poisoning kills 400 people in the US each year.
Food—If the dishwasher or garbage disposal tested positive for “smelly food” odors, it’s again time to break out SNiPER Disinfectant. You can also refresh your dishwasher with vinegar. If you’re already deep cleaning your kitchen, it might be a good time to thoroughly clean and disinfect your refrigerator as well.
Carpet—To really be effective at eliminating odors from your carpet, it is important to use a solution specifically designed for not only the source of the odor but the type of carpet you have as well. If spot cleaning and vacuuming won’t do, you have the option of buying or renting a carpet steamer or you can hire a professional to do it for you.
odors from returning
Now that you have
found where the odors in your home were coming from, you can make and
execute a plan to prevent them from returning. One way of doing this
is to keep up with routine maintenance of your home appliances and
systems. Vacuum regularly, replace air filters and smoke detector
batteries on a seasonal basis, ventilate rooms through open up
windows, and use dehumidifiers or exhaust fans in windowless rooms,
like the bathroom or basement.
The week may have been full and your
house may be unprepared for guests, but no worries. You’ve got
this. With this step-by-step guide you can complete in roughly 30
minutes, you can quickly prep your home for last-minute guests and
even wow them too. Here’s how.
1. Clean and deodorize
A 2018 survey revealed that the first
two things people notice when they walk in your home is how clean it
is and how it smells—for better or for worse.
When you get home, set aside 20 minutes to power clean: vacuum, sweep, wipe down counters and tabletops, load the dishwasher, Use Nok-Out or SNiPER to clean the bathroom guests will use, and spray some Nok-Out into the air using the finest mist setting on your sprayer. This doesn’t have to be an exhaustive clean, just enough to leave it looking and smelling fresh.
2. Eliminate pet hair and odor
Your guests won’t feel comfortable sitting down if there is pet hair on every surface, and they won’t have a very pleasant experience if there’s a lingering pet odor in the air. Vacuum furniture and finish with a lint roller to capture all stray hairs. Spray Nok-Out into the air to brighten the room and eliminate odors. Voila!
Make a sweep of all the trash cans in
the house and empty them. Because you’re in your home every day,
you may not notice some odors, specifically those coming from the
kitchen garbage. Empty all and replace with fresh trash can liners.
That’s one more chore taken care of.
4. If you’re expecting last-minute
If you’re expecting overnight guests,
you’ll want to take a few more steps.
Make sure the guest bed has clean
sheets and pillow cases, lay out fresh towels and washcloths. I also
like to put a few fresh flowers in a vase on the bedside table and
use a fine mister or cold vaporizer to spray Nok-Out and safely leave
the room smelling fresh.
Because you’ll need some refreshments
on hand for your houseguests, quickly scan the pantry and fridge,
writing down your shopping list as you go. It’s nice to have snacks
like crackers and cheese, olives, dips, and veggies on hand for
hungry travelers. Also pick up some sparkling water and fresh lemon
for a cold drink. If you’re short on time, try a grocery delivery
service who will do the shopping for you and deliver to your
home—usually in just a couple of hours.
5. Remember that guests are
One important thing to remember is that
while you certainly want to make a nice impression and make your
guests feel welcome, most people are very forgiving. They know it was
a last-minute request, and ultimately, they’ve come to spend time
For many, the weekly chore list
includes the usual vacuuming, sweeping and mopping; sanitizing sinks,
toilets and showers; dusting and disinfecting all surfaces; removing
garbage from the home; and tidying up around the house. While these
are tasks that most of us are good at remembering, it might also be
important to add at least one chore to our weekly cleaning that
involves an “overlooked mess.”
An overlooked mess is often located in
an area of our home that is hidden from view or is not easily
accessible. For this reason it is often neglected and, over time, can
build up dirt, grime, germs and other invading horrors that pose
risks to our health. Here are five overlooked messes that can easily
become hazardous if not handled.
lies beneath, behind and within the refrigerator
If strange noises or off-putting smells
are coming from the kitchen, it could be time to clean the
refrigerator. First, clean and vacuum its coils. Then, eliminate
debris from behind and underneath it. You’ll need to unplug and
move your refrigerator to do this. And while you’re at it, clean
out the inside of your refrigerator too. Before you fill it up again,
consider using SNiPER
Disinfectant to completely disinfect your refrigerator.
fan of a dirty blade
There’s the old cleaning adage about
checking the top of the refrigerator to see if a house is truly
clean. The same applies to ceiling fans. Because they are hard to
reach, they’re frequently neglected.
And rarely do humans look up these days. As a result, dust can
accumulate over time, adding to allergies and poor air quality in a
home. There are many dusting tools with extended handles designed for
just this task. If your ceiling fan is low enough for a step ladder,
sliding an old pillowcase over the blade will also do the trick.
If you’re a pet owner, it’s all you
can do to keep up with the mess in the yard or litter box. You may be
thrilled that your furry friend is at least choosing to sleep on the
cushion you lovingly provided instead of on your couch. However, it’s
easy to forget—especially since you’re not the one sleeping on
it—that a pet bed will get just as stinky and dirty as fluffy is.
Be sure to buy hardy cushions with removable covers that can be
easily laundered and replaced on a regular basis. And spray it down
Odor Eliminator to freshen up between washings.
That giant metallic monstrosity humming away in the corner of some dark closet in your home, the one with the shiny vents and knobs and scary words and neon notices plastered all over it? It needs love, specifically your love. It needs you to change it’s filter on a regular basis. If you don’t, your house will stink, your lungs will betray you and give way to allergies, and you’ll shrink in horror from your utility bill. Additionally, over time, your furnace could actually break from the lack of maintenance, and without a warranty, you will be paying exponentially more than the cost of changing your furnace filter regularly.
Have you gotten cozy with your oven’s
grease filter lately? Stared into the yawning abyss of your dryer’s
hose? Have you peeked inside your appliances lately? What about your
microwave’s turntable or the refrigerator gasket? Remember that
your appliances have insides as well as outsides and it is necessary
to keep them clean as well since they have the closest contact with
what you put both in you and on you. Clean
your appliances thoroughly,
both inside and out.
While we cannot clean every single nook and cranny of our home every week, simply paying more attention to just one overlooked mess per week will work wonders for our health, safety, and our checking account. Horror movies will always be around, but at least your home will not be the star feature.
Recently I spoke on the phone with a long-time customer of Nok-Out who told me a story from her workplace. They had a temporary worker – a volunteer – who had an untreated incontinence issue. She leaked a little bit of urine somewhat regularly as she moved around in the office area, sitting in different chairs to do different jobs. The cushioning in the chairs was absorbing the urine and once bacteria get a hold of that urine as a food source, the chairs start to stink. The caller was purchasing some Nok-Out to eliminate urine odor from those chairs. It got me to thinking about the difficulty in treating foam cushioning. Here is how to treat smelly cushions for odor – including urine odors.
Problem: Nok-Out works when it comes into direct contact with the odor source. In fact, it can ONLY work, when it is in direct contact with all of the odor source. If you miss a bit of the source, then that missed place will continue to stink. Cushions are thick and are not necessarily as absorbent as a sponge, so it can be a bit of a challenge if urine or other smelly stuff has penetrated deep into the cushioning. How do you get Nok-Out to work for you in this case?
If possible, remove the cushion from the covering. There may be a zipper in the back and if you are lucky, you can pull the foam cushion out and put it back later. You will need a largish tub. It doesn’t necessarily have to be as large as the cushion, but it should be big enough that you can ‘dunk’ large portions of the foam in it. Add water to this tub,and then add Nok-Out. A dilution ratio of 8 water to 1 Nok-Out will work here and will be efficient. Dunk a portion or all of the cushion in your mixture and palm flat, squeeze it down slowly, forcing the air out. Then slowly release the pressure, allowing the diluted Nok-Out mixture to be drawn into the cushion. Do this a couple of times. Treat the entire cushion in this way. This will both rinse away the dried urine and will leave a bit of Nok-Out behind to eliminate the urine odor. Allow it to dry and put the cushion back into its covering. This is the easy, most reliable method.Unfortunately, not all cushions can be removed from the covering. So another plan may be required.
Buy a Gallon of Nok-Out Odor Eliminator
Even if you can’t get direct access to the foam, you still need to get Nok-Out to penetrate deeply into the cushion to achieve direct contact with any urine source deep in the cushions. But it is not efficient at all to just pour Nok-Out directly on the seat or sofa. We can, however, dilute Nok-Out at a dilution rate ranging from 4 to 1 to the same 8 to 1 in the ‘tub’ method. Put this diluted Nok-Out into a sprayer and go to town on that cushion! Spray heavily. Wait a few minutes for it to be absorbed – and spray again. And maybe again and again as needed, to get this dilute Nok-Out mixture to penetrate deeply. Much like ‘lather, rinse and repeat’, you may have to go through this process more than once to be successful.
Why not just spray the cushions directly with Nok-Out?
You can, but your
success will depend on how deeply you can get Nok-Out to penetrate
into the cushion material. However deep the urine went, Nok-Out needs
to get there also.
Will this work for pet urine also?
Yes indeed. At some level, urine is urine, whether dog, cat, ferret, pot-bellied pig or people. Nok-Out will work as long as it comes into direct contact with the odor source. It will remove ALL the odor if you can get it to come into contact with all the smelly stuff.
A new home is a blank slate to be decorated, furnished and filled with memories to come. But first, you need to clean up the previous owner’s dirt. From dust in the corners to grime on the bathtub, a lot of mess becomes apparent when a home is empty. As much as you want to get settled into your new home, it’s best to clean before moving in. With an empty house, you can reach every nook and cranny to get your home truly good as new. Before unloading the moving truck, take care of these essential cleaning jobs.
Be Mindful of What You Bring In
Before you break out the cleaning solution – and before you even pack your first moving box – think about the allergens and irritants you could potentially be bringing into your new home via your old, worn-out furniture. Your mattress, for example, could be harboring microorganisms, such as dust mites, dead skin cells and bacteria, if it’s older than five years. It’s best to replace your old one rather than risk bringing it with you if it’s unhygienic.
Similarly, take a look at your couch and dining room chairs, especially if they’re fabric-based. Furniture pieces in common rooms get a lot of use, and therefore, trap in a lot of germs. If these pieces are relatively new – under about five years old – and in good shape, they may only need to be refreshed. An oxidizing, odor-eliminating spray, such as Nok-Out, can give stinky pieces new life. However, as with your mattress, fabric furniture has a finite life span, so rather than bring them and their germs into your new digs, consider replacing them. After all, this is your fresh start – keep it that way!
Dust High and Low
From baseboards to ceiling fans, no surface in your new home should go untouched. Remember to start high and move down as you go; otherwise, you’ll knock dust onto freshly-cleaned surfaces.
As you clean your new home, be mindful of ventilation. You’ll be stirring up a lot of dust and debris and spraying cleaning solutions, which can irritate your respiratory system. Turn on fans and open windows to maintain air quality as you clean, and choose non-toxic cleaners whenever possible. If you want to be an overachiever, opt for adding an air purifier to help remove bacteria and other pollutants from the air.
Deep Clean the Kitchen
The kitchen is full of hidden messes. Grease, crumbs and dirt hide inside and under appliances, inside cabinets, and in range hoods and garbage disposals. Open everything and clean with a degreasing cleaner; you can make your own non-toxic solvent using this recipe from The Kitchn. (see link below)
Buy a Gallon of SNiPER Disinfectant & Odor Eliminator
Buy a Gallon of Nok-Out Odor Eliminator
Descale the Bathroom
Mineral deposits can make a clean bathroom look grimy. Arm yourself with white vinegar, baking soda, salt and a toothbrush for tight spaces to clean the unsightly build-up off faucets, shower doors, and tile. If the build-up is severe, it may be simpler to replace fixtures than clean them.
Clean the Carpets
Unless you’re certain the previous owner cleaned the carpets before moving out, add this task to your to-do list. Even if the carpets look clean, allergens and dust mites are probably lurking within its fibers. If you don’t have one already, now is the perfect time to invest in a high-quality cordless vacuum. These models make for quicker cleanup and are easy to cart around. If you realize your carpets need a deeper clean, use a steam cleaner to get rid of any stains or odors, or better yet, tear the carpeting out and replace it replace it with allergy-friendly hard flooring.
Wash the Windows
Washing windows isn’t anyone’s favorite chore, but it has to be done. Bring a ladder and someone to hold it, and spend a dry, overcast day washing the windows and sweeping dirt from frames and screens.
Clean the Gutters
While you have a ladder, take a look at the gutters. Are they full of leaves and debris? If so, take this time to clean them out; you’ll want rubber gloves and a tarp to contain the mess. Once the gutters are cleaned, install guards to spare yourself this chore in the future.
Replace the Air Filter
A dirty HVAC air filter affects air quality throughout your home. Rather than trust that the last homeowner replaced it before moving, install a new filter yourself. It’s a cheap and easy assurance that you’re breathing cleaner air.
Check the Humidity
Even if your home is spotless, dust mites, mold and mildew can thrive if it’s humid enough. To keep these pollutants at bay and optimize indoor air quality, follow HVAC.com’s recommendation and aim for relative indoor humidity between 35 percent and 50 percent. If you’re out of that range, buy a humidifier or dehumidifier to correct it.
Pausing for a deep clean is the last thing you want to in the middle of a big move. However, you won’t regret spending the time to get your home truly clean before moving in. When you handle these tasks yourself, you can rest assured that your new home is clean, healthy and ready for your family.
How much time do you spend indoors, versus outdoors?
More and more, we are turning into an “Indoor Generation”. Recent studies tell us that modern people are spending less and less time outdoors. Indoors, we can get everything we need. Failing that, we can have home delivery. The problem with this is – indoor air can be terribly polluted, up to five times as polluted as outdoor air. Whether it is the accumulation of toxins released from cleaning products, or mold spores, or excess humidity or just plain old stale indoor air, our indoor air quality at home is quite likely to be much worse than outdoor air quality. And yet, indoors is where we are spending most of our time.
The Velux Group has released facts from many countries documenting “The Indoor Generation”. For Americans, 25% of the population reported that they spend 21 to 24 hours daily indoors. We get up and go to work – where we are indoors much of the day. Then, when we come home, we spend our “leisure time’ in front of the tv. Then we go to sleep and then do it all over again. Now that it is hot, we stay indoors just as much or more, due to the heat. How much time do you spend indoors versus outdoors?
What’s wrong with spending so much time indoors?
Most people don’t realize how bad our indoor air can be. The EPA publishes info telling us that indoor air can be 2 to 5 times as bad as outdoor air, but 77% of the respondents to this Velux Report survey did not believe that indoor air quality is worse than outdoor air. We have talked often about sources of indoor pollutants in this blog before here and here and here. Aside from the polluted air indoors, there are other health issues with spending so much time indoors. People who spend a lot of time indoors tend to be linked with higher rates of obesity, issues with cholesterol and mental health issues such as anxiety and depression, as well as various chronic health concerns, such as asthma, headaches, fatigue, and respiratory inflammation.
There are plenty of studies showing that there are LOTS of benefits, both direct, and indirect, to spending more time outdoors. Sleep, for example. More time spent outdoors exposes you to more bright blue light during the daytime. This stimulates you so that you are more alert and productive and helps to reset your internal circadian clocks so that you sleep better at night. Time spent in sunlight will increase the vitamin D available to your body. Look around while you are out and relax your eyes by looking at far-away objects – rather than that computer screen!
Buy a Gallon of SNiPER Disinfectant & Odor Eliminator
Buy a Gallon of Nok-Out Odor Eliminator
It is blazing hot outside – I don’t want to go out in it!
Being out in the outdoors doesn’t have to be for hours and hours each day. Try spending a few minutes here and a few minutes there outside. Small things you do can have a bigger impact than you think. Take your lunch out and eat it outdoors. You don’t have to sit in the direct sunlight to enjoy benefits.
Look in those places under the sink where you keep cleaning products. Read a bit about how to identify what might be a problem here: http://blog.nokout.com/personal-care-products-contribute-to-air-pollution/. Remember that one of the claims-to-fame of Nok-Out and SNiPER is that they are, at the most basic level, all-purpose cleaners that are suitable for casual use around the house and they will not pollute your home.