Two days ago, my house started to stink, and I can't figure out why. It's not the litterbox, compost bin, trash cans, garbage disposal or laundry pile - they've all been sniffed and absolved. I haven't been able to find anything like a lurking rotten potato or dead critter anywhere. In fact, I haven't really been able to localize the smell at all - it's just a vile miasma permeating the house.
I tried opening all the windows, turning on the fans and boiling orange peels, cinnamon sticks and cloves on the stove, but the smell came right back. I need to find where it is coming from, and get rid of it.
Has anyone else dealt with a mysterious stench? Any ideas of what it might be, and how I can get rid of it?
It might be a bag of potates that are rottening, look in the usual places you may have forgotten that you had them . The other thing would be a dead animal in the wall or ceiling.(I hope it's the former , not the latter!)
Post by mellowyellow on Apr 8, 2010 22:17:20 GMT -5
Yep. For over a year. I thought I was imagining things. It turned out to be water in the basement.. slowly and surely creeping along my basement storage area, and soaking cardboard boxes and carpeting. It took me a long time to find out what it was.
It took my little sister visiting and squish squooshing right onto a mush of wet carpet that I hadn't walked on for a long time.
This brought to mind a similar situation for me from long ago. My first roomate and I used to keep a big soup pot on one of the burners of the stove - that was where it lived. Then a vile smell started in the house and we could not find it - we looked everywhere. We finally found it when we were both in the kitchen and roomate opened the lid of the pot and a wall of the stinkiest stench you have ever smelled hit him in the face and had us both shrieking with laughter and disgust.
We had make chicken and dumplings weeks ago - guess what was still in the pot on the stove (it was shiny clean on the outside - no telltale signs of cooking mess.)
I guess it goes to show that sometimes there are really bad things right under your nose. Best of luck in hunting down the source of smelliness!
"Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens." ~Carl Jung
Yes, I once stored some sweet potatoes in a cupboard, then forgot about them. It was not my usual place where I normally stored potatoes and also not a cupboard I opened very often. They turned to mush inside the wooden bowl in which I had placed them and began to smell up the place. It took me quite a long time to find the odor, because it simply did not occur to me to look in that cupboard.
So the moral of the story for me is to avoid storing perishables in new and unusual places, and to keep on looking and looking and looking until I find the source.
Post by CaringFriend on Apr 8, 2010 23:29:36 GMT -5
Every time we walked into the garage, which was a lot, it smelled like skunk. We figured a little critter had come inside and died. We searched everywhere and could never find it.
Time passed, smell remained. Then we were enlarging our one car garage to a two car garage. My DH told the contractor he would prepare as much of the inside as possible for them to break through the brick wall. He removed the plasterboard from wall of the garage and that's where the stink was coming from!!!! There was NO insulation between the outside brick wall and the plasterboard on the inside. Dampness on the plasterboard had turned into mold. We were so lucky that we didn't get sick from the whole thing.
Every problem has a solution. Keep trying until you find something that works.
Oh no! Hope you find the source of it and I hope it's nothing sinister!
A few years ago I recall noticing a horrible smell in our car....I searched the car high and low and couldn't find anything. Eventually on closer examination of the cooler bag I keep in the boot (trunk?), I remembered with horror that I had put some raw meat in a zip up side pocket I never usually use....and forgotten about it. Pheweee! It stank to high heaven.
Hi Minball, can you tell anything by the smell's smell? The smell of dead critters in the wall cavities/under floors have a 'gassy' sort of smell, and this will disappear over a couple of weeks... have you done the 'smell and absolve' assessment of the kitchen, laundry, bathroom sinks? They can all get slimy black gunge in them... try flushing the toilet and then checking the drain hole in the bathroom floor, sometimes sewer air turns evil and sneaks back up into the pipe... do you have access to the ceiling space? there might be a small dead critter up there - even a little mouse can pack a powerful wallop!
Once a tiny mouse passed on to better things in my bedroom, under the fitted wardrobe floor... boy was that bad...
Just thought, have you checked under the fridge? there could be a leak, or some food that escaped under there
Good luck with the hunting, and I hope it isn't too appalling when you find whatever it is!
Post by howardsgirlfriend on Apr 9, 2010 2:15:15 GMT -5
Can you tell us more about what it smells like--musty, acrid, pungent? More like feces, burning hair, urine, or rotting garbage, etc? Do you have pets/small children?
Can you smell it outside? Do any of your neighbors have the same problem? I used to work near a muncipal composting facility, and the odor when they turned the compost made my nostrils tingle.
An easy thing to do would be to treat all the drains, toilets, and washer/dishwasher, if you have them. For toilets, empty the bowl, by plunging, bailing, or simply pouring a bucket of water in the bowl. For each drain and toilet, pour 1/2c baking soda, the 1/2c vinegar, followed by a generous amount of hot water. You could even add food coloring to the water, and check for leaks at the same time.
For washing machines and dishwashers, run the longest, hottest cycle, first with baking soda, then vinegar.
These tasks will remove any deposits and deodorize the drains. Sometimes, especially if you don't use a plumbing fixture for awhile, the water in the p-trap evaporates, allowing sewer gas to flow into your house.
Hi everyone, thanks for your input. I haven't figured out what the stench is yet, or where it is coming from. If you've ever smelled an anoxic lake where there is a fish kill, that's what it smells like in my house - gassy and rotten, and kind of moldy too. It's definitely a 'wet' kind of stink, and it's only inside the house. I've been systematically working through each room, and just the general feeling of being grossed out is making it a lot easier for me to get rid of clutter. I am trying to see this as a silver lining.
I am actually taking the afternoon off work to deal with this stench, it is so bad. Based on what people have suggested, here are my goals:
1. Clean and deodorize all the drains. 2. Check very carefully in the crawl space under the house. 3. Move large appliances, like the fridge, clothes washer/dryer, dishwasher, and check under and behind them. 4. Our water heater is in a sort of closet-like space only accessible from outside the house - check that too.
This has been a wake-up call for me. In my house, I have gotten rid of a lot of obvious squalor. One bedroom and the garage are still inaccessible and my bedroom tends to be messy, but the kitchen, living room, guest room and bathroom look tidy and clean. I've been successful in keeping up with maintenance.
However, going through the house in detail to find the source of the stench has revealed many little pockets of squalor. For example:
I found a couple of dessicated tangerines under a heavy chair in the living room, along with many cat toys.
There was a cat turd in the little space between the washer and dryer.
There was a can of dried-out cat food with mold on it under the fridge, and the drip pan was full of nasty soupy water.
Under the sink, the garbage disposal had developed a slow drip that had soaked through a case of paper towels.
There is more, but you get the picture...
None of these things seems to be the source of the main stink, but they certainly contribute to making my house less pleasant. As I mentioned above, I am using the general feeling of being grossed out to motivate myself to get rid of things. I have filled two and a half contractor bags with things to throw away, and I have a copy paper box in the car ready to go to Goodwill.
I'm going to go have some cookies and lemonade out on the back porch - it is a beautiful day - and then I will get back to work. Thanks again for all the great advice!