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Causes of Bad Odors in Your Home

When you find an unpleasant odor in your home, you may have a problem. People will often spray air fresheners in their homes and assume the smell will disappear.

However, the only way to guarantee the odor will be gone for good is to remove the source of the smell. For health and safety reasons, it is best to find a solution as soon as possible. If you suspect a problem inside a wall, do not start your own demolition, as it will only create a larger problem. Open your windows and provide the area with fresh air until you can get an expert to come in and conduct an indoor air quality test. This test will help to scout out the mysterious smell and its source.

Causes of bad odors may include:


Cooking in your home can often leave a film of light grease in the air. This grease can cling to walls, light fixtures, floors, and counter-tops.


Whether it comes from tobacco or cooking, it can be difficult to eliminate. The particles can change state quickly from solid to liquid to gas. These particles will often leave a lingering odor that is best addressed sooner than later.  


If our furry friends accidentally go about their business on the rug, it’s best to thoroughly clean the stain immediately. Even if the smell and stain fade over time, the odor will return anytime your home becomes humid.

Front-load washing machines 

To keep water from spilling out, the seal on the door is usually airtight. After unloading the washing machine, once the door is closed, there is no way for the excess water to evaporate. That can create odorous mold and mildew. To avoid this, leave the door open and give the machine enough time to let the water evaporate.

Water heaters 

Check to see if your water heater’s anode rod is shot. The source for a bad smell in the sink could actually be the water and not the drain. Fill your sink up with hot water and let it sit for a minute. Move your nose close to the water and breathe in deeply. If you smell a foul odor, the culprit is most likely the water heater.

Sink pipe 

If the foul smell is coming from only one drain, chances are the pipe under the sink could be obstructed.


Under rare circumstances, the problem could be linked to a serious plumbing flaw hidden behind a wall.

Bad cleaning habits

Dust and grim might seem harmless, but they can can cause you problems in the home. And not just with guests who are less than impressed with your mess. Dust can cause allergies to flair up, and in some cases, negatively impact those with asthma. While grim can attract rodents, bugs, and other critters. A clean home is generally a pleasant smelling, healthy home.

Improper ventilation 

A gas burner consumes oxygen from the room where it is located. Gas combustion produces carbon monoxide which can cause fatal poisoning. It is essential to ensure the room in which there is a gas appliance is adequately ventilated.     

Water or moisture damage

Sufficient damage can occur if water enters and remains within your home. Causes include: weather, leaking pipes or fixtures, and indoor humidity levels. The damages isn’t always visible, it can be hidden behind walls and in the roof. Moisture damage can lead to serious problems such as, rot, mold, and structural failure.   

It is also important to note, many indoor air quality problems may have no odor whatsoever. Household air can become polluted through simple daily activities like breathing, bathing and washing clothes. In all cases for your safety, it is always best to call professionals to come in and check as well as remove the source of bad odors in your home.


Do you have any tips to share on removing bad odors from your home?


Liam Edwards is a trained mold inspector from Ottawa. He has more than 10 years of experience dealing with mold and helping homeowners and different kind of facilities to improve indoor air quality and remove mold.

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