How to Get Rid of Musty Smells in Your Apartment

How to Get Rid of Musty Smells in Your Apartment

Identifying Pet Odors

The first step in figuring out how to get rid of pet odor is identifying the source. Check for urine and pet odors on the carpet and hardwood floors. Also check rooms with uncleaned cages. 

You may get lucky and only discover dander and fur odor that’ll usually subside over time. It may respond to basic intervention. Old urine stains and animal vomit are a different story. 

Instead of sniffing it out for yourself, try a blacklight. That can reveal urine spots, stains, and potential problem areas to spot clean. 

You can give the entire home a deep clean. That’ll help eradicate the odor. Then, focus on those problem areas.

Clean the ceiling

This isn’t an easy task but it’s necessary when trying to eliminate cigarette odor. One trick is to clean with a soft cloth dipped in a blend of 1 part vinegar to 2 parts warm water and wring out any excess moisture before wiping down the ceiling.


House Smells Musty in Summer, What Should I Do?

During summer, humidity levels are often higher because the air holds more water vapor at a higher temperature. Higher humidity levels encourage the growth of mold and mildew, which causes unpleasant odors.

Lemon peels are a natural way to eliminate musty smells in summer. Boil some lemon peels in water for about 20 minutes, and place a fan near the steaming lemon water. This circulates the sweet fragrance throughout the room. 

Alternatively, the lemons release the fragrant scent, remove the pan and carefully transport it to the stinky area. Leave it on a safe, open surface, so the lemony fragrance fills up the room and freshens up the air. 

Use the lemon water as a natural air freshener by bottling up the cooled lemon water in a spray bottle. This way you can spritz it around the room.

How to Get Musty Smell Out of Furniture

Occasionally, upholstered furniture can also harbor musty smells. If your furniture is the source of the smell, deep clean it this way:

  • Wash all removable covers in the laundry
  • Scrub any stains with baking soda
  • If your furniture doesn’t have removable covers, use a soft-bristled brush to dust it off
  • Wipe it off with a damp cloth. 
  • Wipe leather furniture with a mixture of vinegar and water, but don’t over-saturate the fabric.

How To Keep Your Apartment Smelling Good

Now that you’ve gotten rid of the unpleasant smell, it’s time to replace it with something that adds to your home in a positive way!

One quick fix: bake something that smells good. Chocolate chip cookies are a long-time realtor favorite. Fresh-baked bread or brownies are also a treat for the nose (and the tastebuds).

Consider investing in an air purifier, like a high-efficiency particulate air filter, more commonly known as a HEPA filter. Consumer Reports has a good guide on what to look for in an air purifier.

Or, if you’re not ready to invest in a high-tech air filtering system (and you have a green thumb), go with nature’s air purifier:  low-maintenance houseplants. Plants recycle carbon dioxide, giving you purer, cleaner air to breathe. And some of them even smell nice!

That’s how to keep an apartment smelling good!

Wash windows mirrors

Here are two spots you may not have considered to be cigarette smell traps: windows and mirrors. Like walls, these surfaces can get covered with residue. Be sure to clean them thoroughly with — you guessed it — vinegar and warm water.

Knock it out naturally

Baking soda and vinegar are your odor-fighting friends. (Yes, vinegar has a smell all its own, but bear with me here.) If you believe the odor is coming from your carpet (especially if you have a pet), sprinkle baking soda over the carpet and wait about an hour or so. Vacuum it up and enjoy the fresher smell of your apartment. Perhaps your gym shoes are the offenders. Sprinkle some baking soda inside. If it’s the fridge, open a container of baking soda and set it in there to absorb the odors.

If you think the source is your kitchen sink, pour apple cider vinegar into the drain and let it sit for a while to neutralize the odor. A small bowl of white vinegar on your kitchen counter will quickly eliminate food odor, as well. If the scent of vinegar is unpleasant to you, try using coffee grounds instead.

A cup or two of vinegar will freshen up your washing machine and dishwasher. Pour it into an empty washing machine or into the bottom of the dishwasher and run it through a full cycle to clean the appliances and eliminate odors.

Your microwave can develop an odor over time, and stuck-on food doesn’t help the situation any. Pour some water into a bowl and add some slices of lemon. Microwave it for a few minutes, and carefully (it’ll be hot!) remove the bowl. Now, wipe out the microwave (the stuck-on food should wipe away easily) and enjoy the fresh scent.

Garbage cans smell bad, even when the garbage is removed. Try soaking a slice of bread in white vinegar and leaving it in the can overnight.

Some Common Odor Issues And Their Fixes

Certain ingredients like fish, meat and some particular cooking style may have a powerful aroma.

Here, in this section of our article, we have tried to bring up the most common issues and their fixes for these types of situations.

1. How To Remove The Smell Of Frying?

When you are things in your home, the greasy smell of the food items is probably going to linger for a long time.

To remove the smell, you need to follow the steps mentioned down below:

  • Take a saucer/cup and place an orange inside the container that’s cut into 2 pieces.
  • Insert a piece of clove into the pulp of the orange and leave it near the stove to work as an odor-neutralizing scent.
  • If the smell still doesn’t go away, pull out the and check to see if there’s any grease stuck between two components. Wipe out all traces of oil and the smell should disappear after a while.

2. How To Remove The Smell Of Fat And Meat Odors?

Meats taste delicious!

But the smell? Not so much, to be honest!

Let’s find out what you have to do to remove the smell of fat and meat odor from your kitchen:

  • Take a small container and mix 2 tablespoons of baking soda and 4-5 tablespoons of vinegar into it.
  • Cut a thin slice of lemon and drop it into the vinegar-soda mixture.
  • Pour this mixture on the utensils that were used to cook the meat and the smell will vanish for sure.

3. How To Remove Fishy Smell From Your Apartment?

There are very few things in the world that are as bad as the fishy smell that lingers after the meal is prepared!

To get rid of the awful stench, follow the steps down below:

  • Once you get your desired portion all sorted out, wrap the leftover fishes tightly and refrigerate as soon as possible.
  • If the odor still lingers, cut up several lemons and place them inside a saucepan with water.
  • Allow the mixture to simmer for a few minutes.
  • You can also throw some lemon peels into the pot for added strength.
  • Turn off the stove and let it leave on the kitchen countertop overnight.

Other Common Odors (Pets, Paint, Cooking, Garbage, etc.)

While smoke may travel between apartments, other smells can also transfer from your neighbor’s home to yours. Odors from pets, cooking, paint or even a garbage bin can be a nuisance if they are an ongoing problem. To help lessen those smells, the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification suggests putting baking soda, vinegar or other odor-eliminating items around the home3, such as:

  • Borax
  • Pine or cedar pieces
  • Chalk
  • Newspaper

Whatever the odor, if you are bothered by a bad smell coming from another apartment, the New York Times says the first step could be talking to your neighbor. They may not be able to change anything immediately, but if they are aware they are causing an issue, they may be more courteous when possible. If not, you can get the landlord involved to help mediate the situation. Regardless, look at your lease and find out what your apartment’s rules are on this type of situation.

How To Get Rid Of Smell In Apartments

Now that you’ve addressed the causes, how do you get rid of smell in an apartment? Here are a few things you can do to address the problem:

  • Let the air in –Open the windows to circulate some fresh air and let the sunshine in. Both will help remove odors from your apartment.
  • Unblock your vents – First and foremost, make sure your return vent has at least two feet of clear space around it. If your HVAC system isn’t getting an adequate supply of fresh air, it can be difficult to rid your home of pesky odors. Also make sure there is at least one open, unblocked vent in each room to ensure proper circulation throughout your home.
  • Take the garbage out – Keep garbage and compost in airtight containers with latching lids, and dispose of it early and often. Be sure to rinse out any items before you put them in the recycling bin.
  • Clean frequently – Give your apartment a good, deep clean by wiping down all surfaces and any potential odor culprits you might gloss over during your usual apartment cleaning routine. Think of places like inside the refrigerator, the oven, garbage disposal, sink drains and kitchen trash can.

Proactively Prevent Pet Odor Other Damage

Cleaning up pet messes and dealing with odors can damage your property value. It can also make units challenging to rent. 

You may also find yourself spending countless hours figuring out how to get rid of pet odors and tackling the issue. Save yourself the hassle. It’s important to stay proactive about preventing odors and other pet-related damage from the start. 

1. Require a Security Deposit or Additional Monthly Rent for Pets

Even the cleanest, most well-behaved pets can create messes and other headaches. Set terms with your tenants upfront on additional charges for keeping a pet on the premises. That’ll help you to protect yourself in the long run.

2. Plan Timely Inspections After Lease Turnover, Even if the Unit isn't Filled

Don’t wait until you start looking for new tenants to inspect your rental property. Set up timely inspections as soon as the lease turns over. That way, you can stay on top of odors and other damage.

3. Limit the Types of Pets you Allow on your Property

Some pets are messier and more disaster-prone than others. Set limits to the kinds of pets you want on the premises. They may range from cats, fish, and birds to small dog breeds. 

Air It Out

This step might sound obvious, but it’s also important. As we’ve already established, the mold that’s at the source of musty smells tends to flourish in poorly ventilated spaces. When you first move into a place—and then periodically thereafter—air your apartment out to help get rid of the source of the foul aroma. 

Make sure these foul-smelling spaces in your apartment get as much ventilation as possible. It may be difficult to keep your windows open for long periods in the winter months, but you can run a fan on a regular basis or purchase a dehumidifier for problem areas like basements or poorly ventilated bathrooms.

Take a classic spring cleaning approach by opening up as many doors and windows as possible and leaving them open for at least a few hours, if not a whole day. While you’re at it, you may as well throw open kitchen cabinets, the space under sinks, interior doors, and anything else that could keep air from circulating freely. Encourage air to move through the space by turning on overhead fans as well or bringing in free-standing fans. You can also run a dehumidifier or your air conditioning system.

While you’re at this stage, you’ll also want to check your faucets for any signs of leaks. Leaking can create the damp conditions that mold enjoys, so as long as you have extra humidity, you’ll probably have a problem with musty smells too.

Who is Answer Financial?

Your apartment should be your peaceful escape from the world, but you should also plan for the outside world encroaching on your home and the valuables you keep there. At Answer Financial, we’re happy to talk with you about the right coverage for all the valuables in your home. Call 1-888-737-7000 to talk about renter’s insurance with one of our experts. You can also visit our site to quickly compare rates and customize coverages from multiple companies.


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