My House Smells When I Walk In, What Can I Do?

It’s never a good thing when you walk into your home and are immediately hit with a bad smell.  There are all kinds of different smells that might offend your nostrils – mold, damp, old food, sewage, animals, and so on. 

In this article, we’ll go through some things you can do to fight back against these bad smells and restore your home to the comfy, smell-free sanctuary that it should be.

If The House Smells When You Walk In, What Can You Do

The first thing you need to know is what kind of odor is causing the problem in the first place. If you’ve got an animal or pet in your house, then you’re going to have to deal with their urine or feces unless they’re exceptionally well-trained. 

But if it’s a new scent, like the house just smelled like garbage for instance, then there could be several possible causes:


Mold can also cause trouble if you don’t take care of it as soon as you notice it growing. The best way to find out if the mold has gotten too much control over one area is by trying to remove it yourself.

Try wiping up water to see whether it comes off in large amounts; if not, get a spongy surface and saturate it with bleach solution, let sit for a while and wipe up the excess. This will kill any active mold growth. 

However, if the mold is already causing a noticeable smell, then it might be that the growth is already quite large.  If it’s large, or if it’s growing in a hard to reach area, you might want to call in professional help, especially if you’re not sure where the source of the problem is. 

If you do this, they’ll be able to help you get rid of the smell as well as the mold.

Dog Or Cat Pee

Dog and cat urine is always more than likely going to create a strong smell in your house. If you still want to keep them inside and not risk poisoning, you may want to start by closing off the door and using a fan.

Once you think that you’ve exhausted every option, try putting a little bit of baking soda down under the door to absorb the odors, but remember not to inhale it. Remember also to clean up after your pet regularly, or they could spread germs around.


Rotting food can make a terrible smell in a house. Another reason it can smell really bad is if someone threw something away in the kitchen without cleaning up afterward. If you thought those chicken bones and scraps of meat wouldn’t start to smell, then you might be in for a rude awakening. 

Keep an eye open for anything that looks or sounds suspicious, especially leftover foods, like bread. Get rid of that trash pronto! If all else fails, you can use a deodorizer spray that won’t harm pets or people.  If you want to use something a little harsher, make sure that you keep pets and children away from it.

Leftover Food In The Refrigerator

Food left in the refrigerator will be fine for a few days, but do remember to take it out after that.  If you don’t, not only will you probably be greeted with a bloom of mold when you finally get around to it, but you might well have a nasty smell to contend with as well. 

This can be a particular problem if you go away for a while without clearing out your refrigerator first.  Coming back from a week’s vacation to a fridge that stinks of semi-rancid fish is not a fun experience.

Gas Leaks

Natural gas has no smell – this smell is added artificially so that leaks can be more easily identified.  This is a good thing too, because gas leaks can be lethal.  If you walk into your home and smell gas, then the best thing to do is usually call a professional. 

Unless you are certain that you know the source of the leak and can easily and safely turn it off yourself, it’s not a good idea to mess around with something this dangerous.  Professionals get officially certified to work with gas for a reason, so leave it to them. 

It’s not safe to remain in a house where there’s a gas leak, so get out and call the cavalry.

Tobacco Smoke

Cigarette, cigar or pipe smoke can leave behind a lingering smell that can last for hours or sometimes weeks. A lot of times smokers will put their cigarettes right next to doors, windows, vents, or other areas where they can easily access them.

When they do this, those places become smoky havens and the smoker often doesn’t even realize it.

If you know about this habit, you can set up ventilation systems so that cigarette smoke goes outside instead of polluting the air inside your home. Other ways to combat tobacco smoke include placing a box fan directly above the spot where the smell originates.

Some fans come equipped with deodorizing filters or special filter covers that have been designed to neutralize cigarette smoke fumes. 

Of course, the best way to stop tobacco smoke odor from becoming a problem in your home is to stop smoking indoors.

Smoky Fires

If you have a fire, the smoke might be causing a smell in your home. One way you can deal with this issue is by opening some windows and letting fresh air into the room. Open the windows just enough to let the smoke out, but keep the heat inside.

As with many things, fresh air is better than stale. Also, turn on the exhaust fan in rooms close to the fire. That will get all the smoke and fumes out quickly. 

Blocked Drain/Sink

Blocked drains and sinks can cause foul smells. If water was flowing through the pipes before being cut off, it could contain bacteria and debris that are breeding grounds for foul odors. 

Most of the time, these problems can be solved simply enough.  Commercially available drain unblockers can cut through grease and waste to unblock drains in most cases. 

Where this fails, a plunger will probably do the trick.  If you have no success with either of these methods, then a plumber should be able to help you out.  

Damp Laundry

Damp laundry can lead to serious issues such as mold growth. The reason for this is simple enough; dampness encourages microorganisms (bacteria) to grow and thrive. These organisms will produce unpleasant aromas and may eventually result in permanent damage to your clothes.

Even worse, they can make your house pretty unhealthy! If you notice an unpleasant odor coming from your washing machine, it’s worth double-checking the drain connections and the faucets in front of the machine. Moldy clothing needs to be dry-cleaned or thrown out immediately.

Final Thoughts

Our lives can be messy and that means that there can be a variety of unpleasant odors that can afflict our homes.  The good news, however, is that there are simple solutions to most of them that don’t require too much effort. 

Overall, the best way to prevent bad odors from taking root in the first place is to take good care of your home, clean regularly, and be mindful of where a foul odor might stem from.  Do this, and you’ve done 80% of the work.  If and when a bad smell does turn up, you shouldn’t have much trouble dealing with it.