When you're ready to sell your home, odors can be your worst enemy. You can spend as much as you want on home improvement, only to find your investment is worthless when the home won't sell. Bad odors in your home will detract from its appeal, turning potential buyers away. If you notice unusual smells in your home, here are some things you can do to remove them fast.
- Eliminate the Source
The first and most important thing to do is to eliminate the source of the odor. If you can't find it, contact a specialized cleaning service to help you locate and remove the odor at its source. Whether it's a moldy piece of cheese that slipped under the refrigerator or some mildew growing in the basement, you'll be fighting an uphill battle if you don't tackle the source first.
- Clean the Dishwasher
The dishwasher can harbor unwanted smells, and chances are high your potential buyers are going to look inside when they tour the house. To clean and freshen the dishwasher, place a cup of white vinegar on the top rack, and run the cycle as normal without any other dishes in the dishwasher. This will eliminate many of the smells.
- Clean the Carpets
If your carpets are the source of the smell, you can have them professionally cleaned, but do so long before you've got a showing scheduled. Sometimes professional cleaning can bring odors to the surface, and they need time to dissipate. Another option is to sprinkle baking soda on the carpets, let it sit in place for about an hour, and then vacuum it up. The baking soda will pull out some of the odors.
- Check the Drains
Sometimes food can get stuck in the drains in your kitchen sink, where they turn rancid and start to stink. If you have a garbage disposal, you can deodorize it by placing some slices of lemon or orange in it, turning on the water and running the disposal. If that doesn't work, send some mouthwash down it, or try some white vinegar.
- Tackling Mold
Musty odors mean you have a mold problem, so tackle them with the help of a professional. No amount of home improvement know-how can fix mold. Once you've eliminated the mold, take measures to control the humidity in your home so that the mold spores can't spread.
- Kill Urine Smells with Vinegar
The acidity of the vinegar will help it to kill the smell of urine, as well as bacteria. If you've had some accidents from pets on the carpet, mix one part vinegar and three parts water. Rub the mixture into the carpet with a cloth, rinse, and allow to air dry. This will help neutralize the odor without covering it with cleaning chemicals.
- Tackle Cooking Odors
Finally, make sure you tackle cooking odors quickly, so they don't build up in your home. Someone who tours your home should walk in and notice a fresh, clean smell, not the smell of last night's dinner lingering in the air. To ensure cooking smells don't linger, wash counters and dishes thoroughly after every meal. If you're cooking something particularly pungent, consider opening the windows while you cook.
Remember, smells make it hard to sell a house, so during the time you have your home on the market, you have to be vigilant to ensure you aren't filling it with bad smells. In addition to home improvement tasks, be proactive about smells, you will make your house more appealing to potential buyers.