Locating the Source of a Foul Smell in House

It is not always easy to determine where a bad smell is coming from in your home. This guide is about locating the source of a foul smell in the house.
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August 10, 2016 Flag
1 found this helpful

I was out of town from Friday to Sunday and my roommate said a smell started on Saturday. The smell is like b.o. and cat litter. I have sniffed every inch of the downstairs where the smell is and cannot find the source. I rearranged my living room and found nothing, and the smell gets worse each day. Any advice?

November 24, 20160 found this helpful
Best Answer

Using kitty litter will absorb any foul odor especially if it is in the walls. Just make a hole pour it in..... Works great with dead animals or rodents,too

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Anonymous Flag
September 27, 20160 found this helpful

November 27, 2016 Flag
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I have this smell in my unit; I am 3 stories up. It smells like Parmesan cheese or off powdered milk. I get wiffs of it around near the kitchen. But when I go looking for the smell I just can't detect where it is coming from.

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October 18, 2016 Flag
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I came home one day after my AC went out and my house smelled odd. It is getting cooler so we have just been running fans in the house until we can get the AC fixed. But one day I came home and there was a smell in the house that smelled like someone had burned food and tried to add spices to make it better. The smell wouldn't be unbearable if it wasn't so strong. It is stronger in a few areas of the house than others, but I can't find where it is coming from. Any ideas?

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November 2, 20160 found this helpful

There is a foul odor in my house.Who do I call?

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July 6, 2016 Flag
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The odor we have in our kitchen seems to smell like old lettuce. We have cleaned the fridge, inside and outside and find nothing to indicate anything. We have cleaned everything else and can not find the source. I have set bowls of vinegar around the kitchen and baking soda in the fridge and they do not help. There is no standing water anywhere. Help! Every time the refrigerator is opened the smell is stronger. Thank you in advance. New refrigerator?

Anonymous Flag
September 10, 20161 found this helpful

You may want to try pullin off the vent cover on the front side of refrigerator at the floor and pulling out the drip pan and seeing if their is something in the drip pan rotting.

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November 1, 20160 found this helpful

September 6, 2016 Flag
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I have a horrible smell in my house. I first thought it was from some carpeting that had been soiled by some of my pets. I tore the carpet up and cleaned the wood flooring, but it is still here.

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September 7, 20161 found this helpful

You might have a dead animal in your basement, attic, walls, etc. A pest control company can remove the body, however, that may not be the end of the odor. Decaying bodies leave liquid that seeps into a wood structure. Sometimes removing the body will eliminate the smell, however, if enough decay liquid has seeped into the wood, you may need to remove and repair the area.

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September 10, 20160 found this helpful

September 5, 2015 Flag
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I am experiencing a horrible smell in my house. I first thought it was from some carpeting that had been soiled by some of my pets. The carpet was very old. I tore the carpet up and tried cleaning the wood flooring beneath with different cleaners that contained antibacterials, and some with enzymes to get rid of urine smells. The smell is even worse now. It feels like it even leaves a burning feeling on my tongue and feel like I can taste it. The smell has made me vomit. I don't even know how to describe the smell because I haven't ever smelled anything like this. It has permeated the whole house. I can't find the source of the smell. It just keeps getting worse. Can anyone help me soon? I'm so desperate.

September 5, 20160 found this helpful

We are having the same horrible strong BO or urine smell in my husband's workshop storage building. We had the gas company come and they eliminated that possibility and the gas is turned off in the house. There is no water supply, only electrical supply. There is a footing all around the base of the building and no attic. No bees are entering anywhere that we can see. It has been getting stronger since the hot dry summer. If he spends time in it, he comes in the house and the smell permeates his clothing. I had a chair stored upstairs and couldn't bring it in the house because of the odor. I have tried spraying room deodorizers to no avail. Please help. Thank you

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September 6, 20160 found this helpful

March 5, 2016 Flag
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I noticed about a month ago that my guestroom started to have a chemical like odor. I looked for mold or mildew and did not see any. I removed the carpet and did not see anything. My dogs are not allowed in the room so there are no pet stains. The smell has since changed to a pickle-like smell.

I painted the room and the smell went away for 2 days and has come back. We do not use gas here, so I know that too is not the culprit. My house is a 14 year old manufactured home. I have literally tried to smell every wall and the floor and cannot identify the source. The weirder thing is that when I have the fans on, the smell intensifies. Can anyone please shed some insight to my problem as my husband and I are at a loss at this point?

Anonymous Flag
May 27, 20160 found this helpful

Sounds like he could be smoking meth we lived with a man that smoked it and that's what it smells like. You could Google it. We have the same smell problems here but I think it's a dead animal under the house.

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Anonymous Flag
November 20, 20160 found this helpful

September 21, 2016 Flag
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My daughter just bought an old house and the smell is unreal. It hits you when you walk in the door. I was worried it was cats, but the lady who lived in the house did not have any cats. Could you help me get rid of the smell?
Thank You

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November 8, 20160 found this helpful

My granddaughter passed to unknown reasons. I had stepped into my daughter's house and was assaulted by a rather sweet chemical smell, like antifreeze. I noticed it stronger downstairs and I was told about some plumbing issues, slow downstair tub and unknown standing liquid in the furnace room. The furnace had been recently serviced. Though a person has high emotions during a crisis, I will save my tears until we figure out whether or not this sick house was the reason my granddaughter died. What kind of profession am I looking for?

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September 19, 2016 Flag
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I live in Florida and have had a bad rotten garbage type smell in my garage for years. I have cleaned out everything, I do not see any evidence of anything it could be. It only smells in the garage. It does not smell in mudroom laundry area which is inside the garage door to house. Nor does it smell outside of my garage. I only notice the smell when I go into the garage when the garage door is shut, or when I first open the garage door and I am outside.
The only thing left to check is the walls. Any idea what it could be or who to call to check it?

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September 19, 20161 found this helpful

As you have had the bad smell for years in one area, you may have a sewer leak or other sewer problem, or a dead animal in or underneath the garage. The problem with organic odors is that they seep into wood structures and then the wood can smell bad for years. Unfortunately, bad smells are difficult to resolve and often very expensive. A pest company may be able to clarify if a dead animal or animals are the source of the smell. A plumbing company can check for any sewage leaks, etc. Good Luck!

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September 5, 2015 Flag
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I am a first time homebuyer and bought my 1097 square foot, low-level home last July. The home was built in 1974. Since shortly after buying the home and closing, there has been a strong sewage smell that plagues the residence. It was around this same time last year (August/September). It is intermittent. However, this smells deters me from inviting anyone over and it accompanies what seems to be an infestation of gnats.

I can't sleep, sit, eat, or anything without a gnat aggressively attacking me. They help me do my hair, help me clean, help me cook, etc. It's driving me crazy. Last year I had the plumbers out because I thought it was a plumbing issue with setting water, but it's back again this year the same time or year with the gnats! I don't have a sceptic tank. I've also noticed like a week or so ago my plumbing backs up, of course my issue began long before this manifestation, but I don't think that helps the cause!

Last year I did the vinegar traps and yes they caught many gnats, but there were equal amounts still living and the smell is still present. It seemed last year like it only went away when the weather got cold. It did not happen all summer, but with the season change it seems to be back in autumn. I've spent a lot of money on this house even after paying an inspector to catch the important stuff, but at this point I need to know where I can begin or what to do cheaply to address this and not deal with it every year around the same time? Someone please help me! What could this smell be with this accompanying infestation of gnats and what can I do to remedy this?

Anonymous Flag
March 14, 20161 found this helpful

/Sounds like a drain that is not getting used enough. Pour water down all drains, showers, sinks in the home to fill the p-traps. When drains are not used the p-traps dry up allowing sewer and soil gases into your home. The bugs are most likely drain flies taking advantage of the situtation. The water poured down the drains should take care of the bugs as well.

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Anonymous Flag
March 26, 20160 found this helpful

April 11, 2010 Flag
0 found this helpful

I recently painted a new wall with a 5 year old latex primer followed by 2 coats of paint. A very disagreeable odor emanates from the wall. I have never had this problem with "old" paint before. Where is the odor coming from?

By George from Port St Lucie, FL

April 12, 20100 found this helpful
Best Answer

It could be your sheet-rock. Since 1997, many houses were built with Chinese sheet rock and they emit a "rotten egg" smell from the sulfur. This sheet-rock was recently recalled because it causes the wiring to tarnish and corrode quickly. If this is your problem, you will have to remove the sheet-rock! The sheetrock has been a real problem in Florida and the South due to the high humidity. The moisture in the paint also could have made the sheet-rock smell.

If it's just the paint, you can cover the wall with one or 2 coats of Zinsser shellac and alcohol based primer (read the back of all the Zinsser primers) it's one of the lower cost primers that Zinsser makes. They use this to prime and seal hospitals, kitchens and schools. They use it because it's low odor. This primer will help seal in the odor of the paint, but won't help if bad sheet rock is your problem.

Google: "Chinese sheetrock" or "Chineese wallboard" for more info.

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April 14, 20100 found this helpful
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June 24, 2015 Flag
0 found this helpful

My home is clean, the trash is taken out, no dirty dishes, and I haven't cooked anything today. About a hour ago this foul smell filled up the entire house. I've checked all bathrooms and sinks to make sure that nothing was backed up and everything looked OK.

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