Your home should be a safe, comfortable, and healthy place to relax and unwind. Bad odors are unpleasant and may affect your mood and your health. If you notice a foul smell, check these areas. Here are tips on identifying strange smells in the home.

Strange Smells in the Home: The Kitchen

If you notice an unpleasant smell, check the kitchen. This space is home to many potential sources of foul odors. If you keep a clean kitchen and still notice an unpleasant smell, there may be a problem with the plumbing or ventilation. Here are a few areas you might check when the kitchen doesn’t smell clean and fresh.

Trash Can

A full trash bin is one of the most common sources of bad smells. When you don’t dispose of garbage appropriately, it will produce unpleasant odors as the trash begins to rot. If your home smells like garbage, empty the trash cans and dispose of spoiled food. If there is debris spilled and stuck inside the trash, take it outside and spray it out with a hose. 

Strange Smells in the Home: Kitchen Sink

The sink is another common source of bad smells. Rinse the sink each time you do dishes. A dirty sink can grow bacteria, mold, and mildew. A stainless steel sink is easy to clean. Sprinkle baking soda into the basin after doing the dishes and use a sponge or cloth to clean the sink. 

The Garbage Disposal

If you have a garbage disposal, it’s essential to clean it regularly to prevent bad smells. Food scraps become stuck in the blades and rot, producing an unpleasant odor. To keep your garbage disposal smelling fresh, run it occasionally with citrus peels or baking soda.

Strange Smells in the Home: The Dishwasher

Clean the dishwasher regularly to prevent mold, mildew, and bad smells. Clean the dishwasher’s filter and check for food particles in the spray arms. Use a vinegar rinse once a month to prevent foul odors.

The Bathroom

Another common source of bad smells is the bathroom. A common cause of a musty smell in the toilet is mold or mildew. Clean with a mixture of bleach and water. If the smell persists, call a professional to inspect the plumbing.

Pets Might Cause Strange Smells in the Home

Pets can also be a source of bad smells in the home. If you have a pet, clean up after them regularly. Scoop the litter box daily and wash their bedding at least weekly. Cat and dog collars, leashes, and toys should also be cleaned periodically. Invest in an air purifier to help remove pet odors from your home.


Cigarette smoke affects carpets, furniture, and walls, causing a lingering smell. The best way to eliminate this odor is to stop smoking altogether. If that’s not possible, smoke outdoors, far away from doors and windows. Create a comfortable sitting area for smokers outside the home.


Another common source of bad smells is laundry left too long in the washing machine or dryer. Check the appliances if you notice a musty smell coming from the laundry area. It may be necessary to re-wash a load of clothes to remove the mildew smell. Set a timer or use a reminder on your phone to remember to rotate the laundry.

Cal Home Inspection provides inspections in Sacramento, CA, and the surrounding areas. If you’re buying or selling a home, contact us to schedule an appointment.