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6 Common Household Odours and How to Get Rid of Them


APRIL 4, 2024

Air Quality

Despite your best efforts to keep a clean home, bad smells from bathrooms, kitchens, trash bins, and pets are going to find a way to stay inside your home. And once noticed, they can be hard and unpleasant to ignore.

Luckily, there are simple and effective ways that you can deal with foul odours. Let's explore some common sources of household odours and how to get rid of them so you can have a safer and more pleasant home.

Common sources of bad odours in the home

Lingering cigarette smoke

Cigarette smoke is a pervasive odor that can leave a lingering odour that embeds itself in carpets, fabrics, furniture, walls, and flooring. It's alarming to know that the harmful chemicals and carcinogens that make cigarettes dangerous actually settle on surfaces or fabrics long after the cigarette is extinguished, able to be released at any time. This so-called "thirdhand smoke" is what puts people at risk from the common harms of cigarette smoke even after the smoke has vanished from the air.

Removing cigarette smoke is quite tricky, but it is possible. Open windows to provide ventilation and let fresh air in. Wash blankets, bedding, curtains, and any other affected fabrics. Use a steamer or vacuum to clean mattresses, carpets, and upholstery. Wipe hard surfaces with a mixture of vinegar and warm water (1:5 ratio).

Trash smells

When you notice the smell gets worse everytime you throw something away, it's probably coming from the trash. Your trash bin can become a major source of odours, radiating foul smells that linger throughout the kitchen and into other areas in your home. If the smell gets out of control, it's time to clean your trash bin.

If the bin still reeks after the trash is taken out, scrub it with soapy water or a bleach solution to kill all the germs. When it's dry, place some baking soda or a dryer sheet in the bottom of the trash bin before putting in a new trash bag to help absorb future odors. You have to clean the trash bin often to keep the smells down.

Sewer odours / clogged plumbing

The smell of sewage can permeate from your drains. The rotten-egg, sulfuric stench can appear when there's a clog in your kitchen sink's plumbing system. It can also come from unused drains in your bathroom (sinks, showers, and bathtubs) where the P-trap that keeps sewer gas and smells from entering your home dries up.

To fix the stinky drain in your kitchen, pour some hot vinegar or boiling water down the sink. Try pouring two cups of warm white vinegar and a cup of baking soda down the drain for more thorough cleaning. To keep bad smells from entering in your bathroom, run some water through all of your bathroom drains once a month.

Mold and mildew

If you notice a musty smell in your home, chances are you have mold or mildew growing somewhere inside. Mold and mildew thrive in warm and humid environments, so it's best to check areas such as basements, bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms which are especially prone to musty smells. Mold can actually be toxic; its microscopic spores which are used for reproduction can float in the air and, once inhaled through your nose and mouth, can cause serious allergy and respiratory issues.

Removing mold should be regarded as a two-step process. Step 1 is eliminating the moisture sources in your home which mold feeds off. Tighten faucets or shower heads, ensure your pipes are sealed, your basement is dry, and doors or windows are not leaking water. Step 2 is to clean mold infested areas with a bleach and water cleaning solution. If the problem still persists, use a mold-killing product or hire a professional service.

Pet odours

From stinky litter boxes to wet smells, your pets can definitely leave their mark on your home, which can certainly be unpleasant. Dirty cages, "accidents" on carpets and floors, and health issues can make pet odours a prominent issue that needs more attention to keep your home a haven for you and your furry friends.

Your stinky pet may just need a bath to get rid of the odours. However, their smell can sometimes be a sign of a different issue such as stress or a health problem. If you notice any change in their odours or behaviours, get them checked out by your vet. To reduce odours from litter boxes, scoop out your pet waste once every day or two. Then deep clean the box at least once a month by discarding used litter and scubbing the box with soapy water. If the box still reeks after cleaning, maybe it's time to replace it.


Natural gas which is used in heating and cooking is odourless and colourless in its natural state. This makes it undetectable and extremely hazardous when it leaks into the home. That is why natural gas has long been given an artificial additive to make it smell like rotten eggs, which helps you detect when there is a gas leak and allow you to take appropriate steps before a fire or explosion.

When smelling an excess odour of gas in your home, check your pilot lights and burner valves to ensure no sources of gas are left on. If no source is found, open your windows to allow for ventilation. If the smell is particularly strong, treat it like an emergency: get out of the house, and call a professional immediately.

A good air purifier can remove household odours

Good air purifiers with advanced filtration systems like the Sterra Moon Air Purifier are great at removing common household odours to bring fresh clean air to all areas within your home. The Sterra Moon Air Purifier uses the unique Triple Layer Medical Grade True HEPA-13 filtration system that resembles advanced air purification systems used in hospitals to keep the air clean. Its unique combination of protection includes:

Activated carbon filter: This is the main layer that will help absorb and neutralize all foul household odours such as pet odours, trash smells, cigarette smoke, sewer odours, gas, and much more to provide fresh purified air that is odour-free for you and your loved ones.

True HEPA-13 filter: This medical-grade layer is capable of capturing 99.97% of all indoor air pollutants and down to 0.3 μm (microscopically small) in size such as mold, pet dander, pollen, dust mites, and much more to bring you peace of mind knowing your air is as pure and clean as should be.

Patented pre-filter: This layer sieves out the largest pollutants from the air such as hair, dust, lint, and animal fur. It also acts as a first line of defense and helps extend the life span of the primary filter layer, so the filtration system can bring you the cleanest air as long as possible.

Advanced UV-C technology: This additional layer of protection destroys mold spores, bacteria, viruses, and other harmful pathogens and ensures they cannot reproduce and recirculate back into the air, which helps keep your indoor air odour-free all the time.

The Sterra Moon Air Purifier is having a limited time sale and you can click here to learn if it's still available.

Sterra's unique combination of protection removes 99.97% of indoor air pollutants to provide you with cleaner air, healthier skin, better sleep, and improved overall health.

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