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The Commonwealth Blog

Monday, March 27, 2017

Tackling Household Odors Before Showing Your Home

You’re in your home every day, and you’ve adapted to the scents in your environment. However, your potential home buyers haven’t adapted, and if there are any unpleasant odors in your home, they’re sure to notice.

Unpleasant smells can be a major turnoff for buyers, even if your house looks spotless. To make sure your prospective buyers don’t run the other way, check on these common problems in your home.

Mold and Mildew

Mold and mildew can give your home a distinctly musty smell. Mold frequently makes its home in damp and humid areas, so check your bathrooms, basement, and any other areas that are exposed to high humidity. If you notice mildew (gray or white splotches), remove it using a one-to-four ratio of bleach and water. If you notice a small amount of mold (a fuzzy growth), you should be able to scrub it away using a regular household cleaning solution. However, if the mold growth has gotten out of hand, you may need to call in a professional to remove it.

Your Mattress

Unless your mattress is brand new, it has probably developed an odor from regular use. Even if you don’t notice an odor, it’s a good idea to freshen up your mattress by sprinkling some baking soda on it. Let the baking soda sit for a couple of hours, and then vacuum it up. You can use this same trick to bring a fresher smell to your couches and carpets, too.

Your Bathroom

You’ll probably want to clean your bathroom before a home showing, but if you do, make sure to use lightly scented cleaning products. Make sure you leave enough time for the bathroom to air out after you clean it so that your potential buyers aren’t overwhelmed by chemical smells.

Your Kitchen

Start by going through your refrigerator and freezer and tossing all expired items (in an outside trash can). Next, empty your remaining food items out, unplug the refrigerator, and thoroughly clean all its surfaces with hot water and baking soda. Put your food back and plug the refrigerator back in when you’re done.

If you’ve recently cooked a pungent dish, such as curry or fish, set a small bowl of white vinegar on the kitchen counter overnight. The vinegar will help absorb the food smells.

Trash Cans

Even if you’ve recently taken out your kitchen trash, the trash can itself may still be smelly. Wash the can, and then bundle up some coffee grounds, cloves, and baking soda in a coffee filter (be sure to secure the mixture with a twist tie or rubber band). Put the closed coffee filter underneath a clean trash bag to keep the trash can from developing an offensive odor.

Your Pets’ Favorite Areas

There’s no way around it—if you have pets in your home, your home is going to smell like your pets. Fortunately, you can eliminate unpleasant pet odors with some strategic cleaning. Start by vacuuming every area that your pet goes, including the furniture. Wash all beds and blankets your pet uses on a regular basis. If you have a cat who has a habit of peeing outside of their litter box, use an enzyme spray to break down urine and eliminate the odor.

After cleaning the parts of the house that your pet frequents, have a friend come into your home and see if they can still detect pet odors. If they can, consider having your carpet and floors cleaned professionally.

Leaving the Right Impression

Resist the urge to solve your odor issues by lighting a scented candle or liberally spraying an air freshener in every room of your house. These strategies may temporarily mask bad odors but won’t eliminate them completely, and your prospective buyers will be able to tell. Instead, try using the tips above. If you do want to give your home a pleasant odor, stick with simple, natural fragrances like vanilla, orange, lemon, or cinnamon.

Need more tips to keep your home smelling and looking great for showings? Talk to an experienced CENTURY 21 Commonwealth Realtor.

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