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Odor Control around the Home

b2ap3_thumbnail_skunk.jpgOdors in the home are unpleasant and embarrassing at best and unhealthy at worst. If you have an odor in your home, it needs to be addressed immediately in order to keep it from getting worse. Odor eliminating products will often cover the smell, but they will not correct the underlying cause. The first step to eliminating an odor completely is discovering the root of it. 

Most of your everyday household odors fall into just a few basic categories. There are kitchen odors, bathroom odors, and pet odors. Usually a little investigation with your nose will help you find the source of the smell and then lots of hot soapy water will clean it up.

Many odors can be prevented with a regular cleaning schedule. Take out the trash before old food has a chance to smell. Scrub down all surfaces weekly. Keep the refrigerator, microwave, and oven clean. Keep the cat litter fresh and scrub down the litter box regularly. A little bit of prevention will go a long ways.

Stubborn odors might take a little bit more elbow grease to eliminate. Ammonia is a powerful cleaning agent, but care needs to be taken with it. Make sure you are wearing eye protection and gloves when you are handling ammonia. It is useful for scrubbing down walls and cupboards, but be sure to wipe up any drips before someone accidentally step in it.

Smoking is another huge cause of odors in the home. Fresh air is the best remedy here. Tar and nicotine can build up on the walls, so scrub them down. Smells can soak into upholstery, so wash you carpets and furniture as well. The best option here is smoke outside.

A carpet cleaner is the best way to get rid of smells that have soaked into the floor. For spot cleaning, however, as with urine stains from a pet, baking soda can do the trick. If it is a fresh stain, blot up as much liquid as possible. Apply a 50/50 mixture of water and vinegar, let it soak for a few minutes, and then blot that up. After it is dry, sprinkle some baking powder over the spot where the accident happened. If you have a thick carpet, work the powder down into the fibers. After a few hours, vacuum it up.

Your refrigerator can be the host for a whole bunch of awful smells. Taking everything out and scrubbing it down is the best way to freshen it up again, but there are a few ways that you can keep things from getting that bad again. The first is to make sure that you have the temperature set correctly to keep food from spoiling. Second, eat your leftovers within a few days or throw them out. And third, wipe up any spills as soon as they happen.

Sinks often produce odors from down inside the drains. You can buy tools to remove hair from a drain, or you can just a piece of wire with a hook on one end. Even cleaning down as far as you can reach into the drain won't eliminate all odors, however. The p-trap collects all kinds of debris that builds up over time. It's very simple to remove a p-trap by loosening the nuts on either side of it (put a bucket under it first!). Once you've cleaned it out, simply replace the nuts and you are good to go.

Dealing with all of these smells can be considered more or less routine maintenance in keeping a home healthy and clean. But there are other smells that indicate a graver problem that needs to be dealt with. If you smell a dead animal like a rat, raccoon, or squirrel, you need to locate it immediately. 

It can sometimes be difficult to pinpoint the exact location of a smell, but you should be able to narrow it down without much trouble. First identify the room that the smell is strongest in. From there, see if you can tell the general area the smell seems to be coming from. Check vents, fans, and any other openings. If you cannot get to the source of the smell (inside the wall or under the floorboards for example) call a professional to remove it. You might be tempted to wait it out, but even for mice this is unpleasant and for larger animals your home can become inhabitable for a time.

Leaving the animal in place runs the risk of maggots, beetles, and other infestations. It also is a terrible source of bacteria that can then spread throughout your home. This problem cannot be solved by ignoring it. One of the most common causes of a dead rodent in the walls of your home is using rat poison to get rid of an infestation. For this very reason, many professionals do not recommend the use of poison inside a residential home.

Birds and bats can also get inside the walls of a home, creating unpleasant odors. In this case, it is even more important to get a professional exterminator to your house as soon as possible. If a bird or a bat is living in your chimney or attic, they are not alone. To deal with a large infestation and prevent a reoccurrence, professional help should be sought.

Bats and birds do not cause structural damage by chewing on the building, but they are still very damaging. The damage occurs when their droppings build up over time, soaking into and weakening insulation, sheet rock, and particle board, eventually causing your home to collapse.

Their droppings also carry bacteria, which can cause respiratory problems, particularly over a long period of time. They also attract bugs which, in addition to being nuisances, can carry other diseases. If you notice an odor that may indicate you have bats or birds living in your walls, you need to contact a professional to get them out as soon as possible.

For all odor problems, Alliance Pest Service has several options to help eliminate bad smells and odors from your home. 

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