Does Your House Smell? Here’s The Answer

Have you ever walked into a home and immediately noticed that it has a certain ‘odor’?

(And we’re not talking about freshly baked chocolate chip cookies here…)

Or worse—have you ever had someone walk into your otherwise-clean home and wrinkle up their nose?

Cleanliness in the home is about more than just appearances. All of our senses are involved!

With that being said, here are some causes, along with some potential solutions, for lingering smells in the home.

These tips will help you to address some of the more common problematic smells that can build up slowly over time.

1. Cooking Smells

This is probably the most common type of smell that can pop up in a home. And honestly, it’s to be expected when you’ve just prepared a meal.

But when the smell of old cooking oil stays in your kitchen/dining area for days, that’s not good!

The likely culprit is tiny droplets of oil that remain on your cooking surface or countertops.

Oil does not evaporate—so if it’s not manually cleared away, it can stay there (and smell up the place) for years.

To clean away the ‘fried foods’ smell, use a solution of 1 cup of water plus 1 tablespoon of vinegar, and wipe off all counters, walls, appliance surfaces, and cabinet facings around your cooking area.

And don’t forget the underneath surfaces of cabinets!

You can also boil a pot of the same solution on the stovetop while running the ventilation fan to help remove the smell from inside a place that you can’t really clean easily.

2. Soot/Burnt Wood Smells

Yes, these are most common in homes with a wood-burning fireplace—but did you know that candles can also cause this issue?

If you typically burn candles in the same areas, over time the wick gives off soot particles that will attach themselves to the walls and other surfaces nearby.

Use warm water and a few drops of dish detergent on a damp cloth to wipe down the areas around your burning candles, and make sure to do it frequently so as to keep only the pleasant smells from your candles!

Fireplaces can be harder to tackle, though it will help to keep the ashes cleaned out as frequently as possible.

Use the same solution as described above to wipe down the walls, hearth, and even fireplace tools frequently.

Another lingering fireplace smell can occur if you’ve ever burned items in your fireplace other than wood (such as Christmas wrapping paper—which is really a big no-no).

The chemicals in those items can stick to the walls of the flue, and get ‘reignited’, so to speak, each time a new fire is started. If this is the case, you’ll probably want to call in a professional flue cleaning service.

3. Mold And Mildew

If your home smells like wet wood or other similar ‘earthy’ smells, then the likely culprit is mold and/or mildew.

This will typically occur in areas where water is frequently used, such as in kitchens or bathrooms—though it can really happen in any part of your home that’s not well-ventilated.

For the damper areas, be sure to run exhaust fans to pull out as much of the humidity as possible.


If and when possible, open windows to air out any areas in your home that feel damp or humid.

(But not on days when it’s raining or overly humid outside!)

You can clean mold and mildew off of some surfaces (such as tile and metal) using warm water mixed with a little dish soap—but if the mold or mildew has set into the wood, furniture, or carpeting of your home, then it may be necessary to have these items professionally cleaned or replaced. 

Finally, be sure to frequently check your foundation cracks, and visually examine the crawl spaces or attic in your home for signs of mold and mildew.


While cleaning and removing the sources of bad odors is helpful, the best and most efficient ‘solution’ for removing smells from your home is prevention!

It can’t smell if it’s kept at its cleanest, and that’s where RCH Cleaning can help.

Contact us today for a one-time clean or to keep your home at its cleanest and freshest on a regular, routine basis!

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