House Smells Stale

My home never smells good, 1800sq ft. I use 3 Airwick Freshmatics, 3 oil diffusers (3 pack from Walmart). I apply Carpet Fresh weekly and steam clean monthly. All that and my house is clean. There are no pets inside, no smoking, but it just has a stale smell when were gone for a while which is understandable. When I leave the house for a short period of time I want to come back to a nice smelling home, nothing seems to work. I don't like spending money on refills. Please help.

By texlish from Haslet, TX

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August 2, 20090 found this helpful

The first thing I would consider is whether or not there is proper ventilation in your home. Homes are built tighter than ever now, meaning that ventilation is even more important. At first glance it seems to me that your home might have inadequate return air. You can find information about home indoor quality at http://www.epa.gov. (The only thing that will be accomplished with air and carpet fresheners is that the problem will be masked, not resolved.)

It might be a good idea to ring up your local Extension office and ask to speak to someone who is familiar with indoor air quality issues. They should be able to either tell you how to determine whether your ventilation system is adequate or point you to more resources that will help you alleviate the problem.

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August 2, 20090 found this helpful

My mom lived in Texas (as you do) & the biggest problem there is the mold! In fact the Mold problem is so bad that of all the insurance companies that sell home insurance in Texas, none of them will cover mold damage anymore because mold was putting them out of business!

1) Mold: If I were you, I'd get a professional home inspector or mold professional in there & have them check your home for hidden mold! Believe me, if you DO have a mold problem, you want to know because it can cause so many health problems for you & your family!

2) Ventilation: If it's not mold, then of course it could be there's no ventilation! ...These days' they're making our homes so tight so it costs less to heat & cool them, but in the process it's keeping all the nasty air inside & we get very little fresh air. In the warmer months, if you live in a safe area, one thing you could do (I know it's super-hot there right now!) is what I do. I'll drink a glass of water before I go to bed & when this wakes me up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom in, I'll open up my window or door (& leave the screen locked & closed). I will then close the window/door early in the morning before the heat can get in. (I'll open it about 1 or 2:AM & close it before 5 or 6:AM). This way it cools my house down without running the air-conditioner all night & gives me some wonderful fresh air.

* You may have to guzzle a second glass of water when you're up in the middle of the night to wake you up a second time to close the door or window!

3) Air cleaner/purifier: Buy yourself a good air cleaner or purifier. But before you buy, do yourself a favor & read all the reviews on the various brands. Be careful of the "HEPA" filter brands because sometimes the filters for the HEPA models can cost a pretty penny... Buy a brand that's inexpensive to run (electricity), easy to clean & that has no filters in it or has filters that are affordable. If you find a good model & you can move it from room to room each day, this may be your best solution!

4) Vinegar: Instead of spending all the money on candles & air fresheners, place tiny bowls or cups of vinegar all over your house. Put one or 2 bowls in each room & replace them every week or 2. You'll be amazed how much a simple thing like vinegar will actually deodorize the air!

5) Febreze: Lastly, as a last resort, you can use Febreze. To me, most brands all smell WAY to strong! But I've found that the Vanilla Febreze is much lighter than the rest of them. It works without leaving that strong, nasty smell. I buy the type made to spray in the air, but instead, I spray it on my couch, bedding & throw pillows.

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August 2, 20090 found this helpful

More info on air cleaners:

http://www.epa.gov/iaq/pubs/airclean.html

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August 3, 20090 found this helpful

We live in a rental house that is well over one hundered years old and on occasion it smells that way too, no matter what I use to cover up the "old house" smell. I have found that baking soda works wonders. I have Arm and Hammer fridge and freezer packs (the ones with the vents) all over the house and it keeps things smelling like our house...not old house! I also use these in our cars and it keeps my husband's car from perpetually smelling like a fast food restaurant. As best we can tell there is no smell to our cars, and people have asked what our secret it....Baking soda!

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August 3, 20090 found this helpful

Try getting some liquid potpourri and spritzing it on your curtains, light bulbs (when they are turned off), ceiling fans. I have some potpourri lights. THey are designed to melt candles. You could either do that (put the candles in a glass jar large enough to hold all the melted wax) or, like I have now, put votive candle holders under the lights with liquid potpourri in them. The trick to getting rid of the stale smell tho is to get a scent that is light and airy. I'm using "Ocean Breeze" and my house always smells nice.

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August 4, 20090 found this helpful

I have a small mini-crock and I place a Yankee Candle wax tart in it. I set it in a terracotta dish that you use under a flower pot. Always make sure it is setting on a sturdy surface. One tart can be used for several days.

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August 4, 20090 found this helpful

I guess I shouldnt have used the word stale, Its not an air ventilation problem its because i have an open floor plan which means most air fresheners dont work as well as they would if it was a closed room. kitchen and dining room living room and formal dining room all open to each other, Just trying to find strongest and cheapest way to get smell around whole area

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August 4, 20090 found this helpful

I also have a large open floor plan in my house and had trouble getting the nice smells to go all over. I take the lights that I mentioned before and put one in each room of the house. In the bedrooms and bathrooms, since they are smaller rooms, I put a pretty votive candle holder on it and fill it with liquid potpourri. Ocean Breeze is a nice clean scent. And the liquid doesn't get as strong as the candles.

For the larger rooms, like the kitchen and living room, I use 2 lights with the large fat scented candles. Again I use Ocean Breeze because I like hte nice clean scent. But the candles smell stronger and permeate the larger rooms better.

I don't light the candles at all. I've had the same candles in the living room and kitchen for 3 months now and they are still almost full size and still smell nice. I spent $5 each for the candles 3 months ago and I believe they still have many months left in them.

The liquid potpourri I have to refill the votive candles every other day or so. But I get the stuff at the dollar store in 32 oz bottles so it doesn't cost much. But this method keeps my whole house smelling nice year round. You can of course also change out the scents with the seasons or holidays if you want.

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August 4, 20090 found this helpful

When you add scents, you are not getting rid of the smell you have. I have, many times, used a metered spray called "OZIUM". It eliminates the bacteria causing the smells. There also might b some sorts of mold & mustiness causing the smells. What I do is, when I'm going to be gone for an hour or 2, spray the ozium a couple of times in each room as I back out. Close the place up & leave. When you come back, it should smell better. You may have to do it more than once. The metered spray only sprays so much. I put the nozzle of it in the air, kind of pointed at the ceiling. The mist disperses in the air. I've gotten rid of some lousy smells with this stuff. Also, vinegar poured in bowls & left out, can eliminate odors, too.

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August 5, 20090 found this helpful

Beyond all the other wonderful suggestions. If you have wall to wall carpeting, that can hold a great deal of icky stuff (that's a technical term...lol) that won't necessarily vacuum up. Consider going to hard floors, instead, with rugs you can take outside to beat or wash.

There's that rumor going round that used carpet weighs 2x more when removed than when installed.

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August 5, 20090 found this helpful

Try putting some of the cans of Damp Rid that you can get from Walmart. I think the biggest problem is the humidity in the south. I live in NW Louisiana, so I feel for you. I guess the only benefit is that I live down a dirt road, and have a long dirt driveway, so our house has a faint smell of dry dirt. It isn't that bad, could be worse!

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