Remove Old-House Odor

Remove Old-House Odor

When you live in your home for years and years, decades, it is not uncommon for the house to develop an odor. Realtors call it “old-house odor’ and it is dreaded because of the negative ‘first impression’ it can leave on a potential buyer. The good news is – this can be taken care of and new life breathed into that home. Whether you are selling your home or would just like to give it an ‘odor-control makeover’, you can follow these steps to remove old-house odor and leave your home smelling as good as outdoors. For those of you who think that no odor is best, we agree and here’s how to accomplish it.

1) Air circulation is important. Open those windows, replace air filters regularly. This will help dry out the home, which will, all by itself, help remove old house odor. Additionally, the fresh air will replace air that has become saturated with Volatile Organic Compounds that may have entered your home with new mattresses, paints and other items. If ventilation in some rooms is not good, use fans to blow the air around and speed the drying.

2) Check for damp areas and make sure they dry out. You may need a de-humidifier to help. Humidity control inside your home is crucial. It is smart to have a hygrometer (measures humidity) and thermometer for every floor in your house. They are cheap these days and can tell you when to run that de-humidifier. If some rooms are often higher humidity, you may want one especially for that particular room. Damp, or high-humidity rooms are definitely a source of old house odor.

Mold

3) Mold is one of the primary sources of that old-house odor. Taking steps to dry out and dehumidify removes a necessary food source for mold. Without a water source, mold doesn’t grow. So check for leaks in rooms that feel excessively humid. Mold is actually a type of fungus and musty odors all come from fungal infestations. If you can locate the area of fungal growth and get some SNiPER on the fungus – that odor will disappear!

HVAC and Ductwork

4) Check your HVAC system. Ducts can harbor mold as well and since you can’t see inside them easily, they can often be a source of hold house odor. If necessary, have the ducts cleaned and spray some SNiPER disinfectant in there to remove residual odors. A ‘fogger’ is the best type of sprayer for ducts. (they are not cheap, however, and it may be your best option to rent one from your local tool rental shop).

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5) Interior walls are rarely cleaned and even though they may not appear to be dirty, they can become greasy from cooking and then dust sticks to them easily. You can spray walls and painted surfaces with Nok-Out and wipe them down. This is especially important if there have been smokers in the home.

Carpets absorb odors – and are a Source of Odors too

6) Carpets are like a floor-based air filter and accumulate dust, mites, insect carcases and all manner of smelly stuff. Give the home a good thorough vacuuming and then do it again, and maybe again one more time. Most of the soils that are in carpets are not water soluble so just your vacuum cleaner can do a great job of removing potentially smelly stuff that has accumulated in your carpet.

If there are pet odors in the carpet get yourself a small black-light flashlight (UV) and go into the affected areas in the darkness. Urine will glow a pale green color and is quite obvious. You may also see a purplish color – this is detergent of some sort. In severe cases, you may need to have the carpet professionally cleaned. Use a pump-up garden sprayer, and dilute Nok-Out 50/50 with tap water and spray the carpet after the cleaners have finished, while the carpet is still wet.

Remember that Nok-Out and SNiPER do their work when they come into direct contact with the odor source. Diluting up to 4 to one (water to Nok-Out) will work for spot treatments.

Check for residual odors

7) After all this cleaning, there should be a big difference in the way the house smells. Give it a few days for everything to normalize and then go about the house giving it the nose test. Some odor sources may be in the attic or in crawl spaces below the home.

It may sound like a lot of work to remove old house odor, but the rewards of having your home smell fresh are certainly worth it! Remember that it took years for the old-house odor to develop. But if you work at it, you can remove that old-house odor before selling Grandma’s old house!

Additional Reading

  1. Carpet odors: https://www.nokout.com/Carpet-Odors.html, http://blog.nokout.com/carpet-cleaning-nok-sniper-revisited/, http://blog.nokout.com/that-darned-cat-has-stunk-up-my-carpet/.
  2. Use of a ‘Fogger’ machine: http://blog.nokout.com/to-fog-or-not-to-fog/
  3. Mold: http://blog.nokout.com/how-to-manage-mold/, https://www.nokout.com/Cleaning-Mold-and-Mildew.html
  4. https://www.nokout.com/Get-Rid-of-Musty-smells.html
  5. https://www.nokout.com/Basement-Mold-and-Mildew-Removal.html
  6. https://www.nokout.com/Get-Rid-of-Black-Mold.html
  7. https://www.nokout.com/Mold-and-Mildew-Problem.html
  8. https://www.nokout.com/Keep-black-mold-out-of-your-shower-stall.html
  9. How to find odors in your home: http://blog.nokout.com/how-to-troubleshoot-odors-in-your-home/
  10. HVAC: https://www.nokout.com/Clean-and-Deodorize-HVAC-Systems.html

Get Rid of Pet Odors in your Car

Get Rid of Pet Odors in your Car

We love our pets because after all, pets are family! But however adorable they may be, they occasionally smell bad – even cats! So when a customer called and asked how to remove the odor of her favorite goat from her car, (after I stopped laughing) I provided a step-by-step approach to getting her car to have no smell again. For all you city people out there, have you ever smelled a goat?!? They really do stink! She called back and said that it worked. So if Nok-Out or SNiPER can remove the goat smell from her car, you’ll find it easy to get rid of pet odor from your car, too!

Here’s how

1st give the car a good vacuuming and try hard to get up all the hair. Vacuum the seats, flat surfaces where the pet likes to ride and the floor too. Pet hair is often the source of a LOT of pet odor. So just this one step should help to remove the pet odor from your car.

Next

Begin systematically spraying the seats and flat surfaces where your pet likes to ride. You may have to spray carpet and seat cushions heavily. Remember that Nok-Out or SNiPER work when they are in direct contact with the odor source. Much of that odor source will be oils that may have penetrated deeply into porous non-hard surfaces. If the issue is severe, then spray heavily, allow it to sit for 10 minutes, spray a bit more and then use an old towel to scrub those wet soft surfaces. You are trying to scrub away whatever stinky stuff might be clinging to the carpet or cushions.

Finishing Up

Use a home vaporizer or room humidifier, preferably of the ‘cool mist’ type to ‘fog’ the interior of your vehicle. This is a great treatment that is easy. Put some Nok-Out or SNiPER into the reservoir of the machine. The bigger your vehicle, the more you’ll want to put in the reservoir. For small cars, 8 – 12 ounces is usually sufficient. Make sure the windows are rolled up. Plug in the vaporizer and place it on a relatively flat surface and close the doors. Allow this to run overnight, or for several hours before opening the windows to air the vehicle out.

The nice thing about this treatment is that when you are done your vehicle should have a nice neutral smell. Not some sticky cloying artificial fragrance that really smells awful – just no smell at all. You can get rid of pet odor in your car!

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Want to use Nok-Out or SNiPER in your home carpet cleaning machine?

Want to use Nok-Out or SNiPER in your home carpet cleaning machine?

Great Idea! Here’s how.

Maybe your new puppy has had a few accidents on your carpet and it is beginning to smell bad. Or maybe you have a new baby that is soon to be crawling on your carpets or rugs and you’d like to disinfect them. There are many reasons you might want to use Nok-Out or SNiPER in your home carpet cleaning machine, and using either of them on your carpets and rugs can be a great idea. It will work just fine and can remove the odor or do a great job of sanitizing – or both. Remember that Nok-Out eliminates odors. SNiPER both eliminates the odors and sanitizes.

It doesn’t matter what type of machine you have – they all work more or less the same. Nok-Out and SNiPER are both non-corrosive and will not cause harm to the machine so they are perfectly safe. It’s easy to use Nok-Out or SNiPER in your home carpet cleaning machine. Best of all, it works great!

Deodorizing with Nok-Out or SNiPER

First – give your carpet a good vacuuming. Most of the ‘soils’ in your carpet are not water-soluble and vacuuming them up will prevent the formation of ‘mud’ when it gets wet. It’s a lot easier to pull that stuff out of your carpet while it is dry.

Next, you have to make a decision. If your carpet is really dirty and needs washing, then clean it first using your favorite carpet cleaning detergent and hot water. I think it is better to clean first – if needed – and deodorize or sanitize after. This eliminates the possibility of the detergent reacting unfavorably with Nok-Out or SNiPER (this is highly unlikely but better safe than sorry). Nok-Out or SNiPER will be able to do a better job of deodorizing or sanitizing when the grime is gone first. When you have finished the cleaning phase, the ‘best practice’ is to perform a clean water rinse to be doubly sure you are not leaving detergent residue behind.

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Maybe your carpet is fairly clean looking but has odor issues. In this case, you may not need to shampoo first, you can instead just focus on the next step when you are deodorizing using Nok-Out or SNiPER. We recommend a ratio of 4 (cold) water to 1 Nok-Out (or SNIPER) for deodorizing. It is highly unlikely that Nok-Out or SNiPER might cause color bleeding, but it is always a good idea to test this in an inconspicuous area first. This is especially true for natural fiber carpet or rugs. Use your machine slowly during this step. When finished, make a final pass that is vacuum only to try and get up as much of the liquid as possible. Put fans on the carpet to speed drying. In the summer, turn the AC down to a lower-than-normal temperature until the carpet has fully dried.

Sanitizing is quick and easy with SNiPER

For sanitizing, you can dilute SNiPER by 6 to 1. The process is the same as for simple deodorizing. Do not perform an additional ‘rinse only’ step at the end. For more information on the difference between sanitizing and disinfecting, see: http://blog.nokout.com/what-level-of-clean-is-right-for-you/.

So you see, using Nok-Out or SNiPER in your home carpet cleaning machine is easy and reliable. It can make a big dofference in your home. Give it a try! You’ll be glad you did!

Refrigerator Odor / Freezer Odor

Refrigerator Odor / Freezer Odor

A customer called recently and told me a story – the electricity had gone off for several days and her refrigerator had begun to stink. She asked whether SNiPER would be safe to use inside her fridge. We all have to clean the refrigerator now and then. Spills, mishaps and the occasional leak are reason enough to give the fridge a good thorough cleaning now and again. Some of those spills may have gone unnoticed and may have become the source of odors no one wants to come from their fridge! SNiPER can safely disinfect and remove odor from your fridge for you. Or, if you don’t need disinfection or sanitizing, Nok-Out will remove refrigerator odor. Here’s how.

What you’ll need

  • 1) bucket of warm, mildly soapy water, a sponge and a couple of rags or dishwashing towels.
  • 2) You may also need a soft scrub pad that won’t scratch plastic.
  • 3) SNiPER disinfectant and odor eliminator in a spray bottle

First off, you’ll need to unplug your refrigerator. Both Nok-Out and SNiPER work best in temperatures above 40 F (and below 110F, if you were wondering!) and since the fridge door will be open for a while, you might as well allow it to warm without wasting electricity. Keep the freezer door closed if you will not be cleaning it as well. Start removing items from the fridge. As you are emptying the fridge, wipe down all bottles and containers with the soapy water to remove any gunk. Don’t forget the bottom of those containers!

Once all the items have been removed and cleaned proceed to dismantle all the removable trays, drawers and what have you. Anything that can come out, should. Take these things to the sink and spray, wipe down and clean them using warm soapy water and then rinse them clean. Use a dishtowel to dry them. After they have dried give them a spray with SNiPER and use a small piece of paper towel to make sure all surfaces are wet evenly. Air-dry naturally at room temperature to both disinfect and remove refrigerator odor.

Go to the fridge itself and wipe any crud away. If you find a sticky mess somewhere, use a rag dampened in the warm soapy water to clean away all that mess. Make sure you get all the little bits and pieces out of the fridge. Spray the inside of the fridge and again, use a bit of paper towel to ensure that all surfaces are evenly wet with SNiPER. Allow to air dry naturally.

SNiPER and Nok-Out both have a bit of ‘soapiness’ that can leave a tiny amount of soapy residue. After everything has fully dried, you may want to give all surfaces a wipe with a dry towel to remove this tiny amount of residue.

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Extreme cases – powerful stink!

Sometimes in situations where the electricity was off for several days, you may find that you have a really big problem and simple cleaning doesn’t take care of the odor. Most likely, the odor is now impregnated in the plastic itself (plastic is porous!) In this type of situation, you will need to warm the unit to fully room temperature. Spray the entire inside. Use a rag to wipe it around and provide gentle agitation. Leave the door open and allow it to air dry naturally. Don’t be discouraged if the stink isn’t gone after the first treatment. Repeat the process, perhaps many times. Every time you apply, you’ll get a little more of the stinky stuff and eventually, you will completely remove refrigerator odor and the fridge will be ready to go back to work for you.

No Rinse Sanitizing

Dilute SNiPER by 6 parts water and you can ‘sanitize’ your fridge, your counters even your cutting boards. Just spray and walk away – no wipe! Say goodbye to refrigerator odor!

Related Reading

Spring Cleaning For your Mattress

Spring Cleaning For your Mattress

One Spring Cleaning Chore that often goes overlooked is cleaning your mattress. Since that mattress is where you spend about a third of your life, it makes sense to give it a good cleaning periodically. Especially, if you suffer from allergies or asthma. Regular cleaning of sheets and linens is the first line of defense, but periodically, your mattress will need an especially thorough round of cleaning and maintenance. Spring cleaning for your mattress is a good idea and can help you breathe easier at night! Here’s how to use Nok-Out and /or SNiPER to do a good job of cleaning it, and help you sleep easier.

A Breeding Ground

Your mattress is likely to come in contact with sweat, blood and other body fluids, and because you are lying in it, it is a warm moist place. That warm moist place is inhabited by bacteria, living and dead dust mites, the feces of those mites (which can cause allergic reactions), dead skin cells, fleas from pets and their feces, and so on. There is a regular ecology of critters living in your bed. Being warm and moist, with all those ‘food’ sources, it is indeed a breeding ground. A good Spring Cleaning of your mattress will reduce that population of critters to a healthier level.

What to do?

Daily: Leave the covers pulled back and allow the sheets to air out and dry. Run the AC in summer to keep indoor humidity levels low.

Weekly

Check the washing instruction on your sheets and if permitted, wash your sheets in the hottest water available. Don’t overload the washer! Triple rinse. While the sheets are in the wash, vacuum the mattress. Despite sheets separating you from the mattress, there will still be lots of dead skin cells and vacuuming them up removes a food source for many tiny critters, including dust mites. Pay special attention to the seams and vacuum them carefully. This is where many mites like to hide. If you are allergic to dust mites, this is an important step!

Spring Cleaning for Your Mattress:

Vacuum the mattress thoroughly using some kind of ‘beater brush’ attachment. Inspect the seams carefully, looking for living bugs or eggs. It may be that you can use your carpet floor vacuum for this. The beater brush will shake and scrape loose stuff that has attached to the fibers of the mattress cover. When done, spray the mattress thoroughly with SNiPER and allow it to dry thoroughly before putting sheets back on.

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Buy a Gallon of Nok-Out Odor Eliminator NokOut Odor Eliminator

If you do find bedbugs, call a specialized pest control company that has expertise with these pests to help you deal with this problem. Or, the EPA has good guidelines here: https://www.epa.gov/bedbugs/do-it-yourself-bed-bug-control

Urine

Nok-Out can help with any odors in your mattress, including urine odors. Locate the source of the odor to find where to spray (remembering that Nok-Out and SNiPER both, need to be in direct contact with the odor source to be able to do their jobs) and spray directly on the source – allow to air dry. If the urine has soaked deep into the mattress, Nok-Out also needs to go that deep in order to get to all of the urine, so it may be a good idea to dilute some Nok-Out with 4 parts water and spray heavily. If this is the case, put fans on it to speed drying.

Bacterial Contamination

If your concern is for bacterial contamination, use SNiPER. Friendly to pets and people, SNiPER is lethal to microorganisms and can disinfect your mattress without leaving behind any toxic residues. Vacuum the entire bed thoroughly. Spray the entire bed until it is uniformly damp. Allow it to air dry.

Additional Reading

https://www.redfin.com/blog/allergy-proof-home/

Something Smells Fishy: How to Troubleshoot Odors in your Home

Something Smells Fishy: How to Troubleshoot Odors in your Home

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 the future.

Locate the source

“Articulating” 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 your home.

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.

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Treat odors accordingly

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.

Prevent 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.

Resources:

https://www.nokout.com/Odor-Eliminator

https://www.nokout.com/SNiPER-Disinfectant

https://housemethod.com/reviews/best-home-warranty

https://www.webmd.com/allergies/features/household-mold#1

https://www.hannabery.com/faq14.shtml

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_monoxide_poisoning