House Smells When You Walk In – What Can You Do?

Last Update On: February 28, 2022 // Article Written By:

Have you ever walked inside your house and noticed some kind of foul odor or smell, I am sure many have experienced this. Body odors can change people’s mood and turn off the guest especially when they are new to the environment.  These foul smells and odors can occur from several sources which include mold, dead animals, tobacco products, bad humidity and pet body odors.

These odors sometimes cause various health challenges like headache, body aches, cold conditions, seizures and in extreme cases death.

To clear foul odor from the air, identify the source of the odor, clean the whole room, take care of your pets, change the air filter, clean your air ducts, check for leaks, repaint your walls, wash your laundry and bedsheets, take care of all upholstery, turn on the dehumidifier, use a reliable air purifier, get an odor absorber or call the cleaning services

To learn more about the question:  What to do when your house smells? Read on!

What are the possible causes of Bad Odor In A House?

When you walk in your house and notice a foul smell, the origin of the bad odor isn’t apparent.

There are many causes of bad odors in your house which are might be linked to Microbial Volatile organic compounds and they include:

What are the possible causes of Bad Odor In A House

1. Mold

When mold silently grows in your houses, houses a musky smell which is unpleasant. These molds can grow anywhere in your house like bedroom, kitchen, furniture and living rooms.


The presence of moist and oxygen keeps these molds alive.

2. Pet accidents and deaths

Sometimes even well trained pets have injuries in the house which the pet owner doesn’t know. The open wounds of these injuries bring out a faint smell which can be reactive.

Also, cat and dog urine can be a source of smells which many people aren’t aware of.

3. Dead pest

When rats and mice do die either via traps or personal attacks, their corpse will bring out a foul smell.

Dead pest

4. Leftover meals

Cold meals and drinks will start to smell when they are left exposed for so long. Even with the absence of these leftover meals, droplets and stains can bring out some odors.

Leftover meals

5. Dirt in clothings

Many people abandon used clothes to wash later in the weekend. This makes your hamper a place suitable for bacteria.

Dirt in clothes

According to one surgery, in Turkey, it was found that sweat from clothes is the cause of about 14% body odor .

6. Malfunction electrical wire

Sometimes when wires start to melt, they emit a foul odor which irritates the nose. You need to check your old wiring in your house to look for where there might have been a cut.

Malfunction electrical wire

Bad wiring connections can lead to melting wires which cause bad odor.

7. Smelly kitchen

Many people, especially office workers, often leave dishes lying fallow without taking care of it immediately.

Smelly kitchen

This could be a possible cause of bad smells, because bacteria might start to grow on leftovers and dirty dishes.

8. Natural Gas Leaks

There have been recent complaints about gas leaking in the house. While most people are familiar with the smell of gas, others aren’t.

natural gas leaks

When you enter your house and notice a smell like rotten egg, it could be your gas. Please remove the gas immediately and don’t light any switches or matches, it could be fatal.

9. Hot Water Heater

Another possible cause might be your water heater. Sometimes, water smells like dead fish. It could be that bacteria has started growing in the water heater which will turn it into hydrogen sulfide gas, clean it or change it immediately.

Hot Water Heater

10. Sewer in the basement

The foul air may be because of a leak in the soakaway system in the sewer which needs to be attended immediately.

Sewer in the basement

Sometimes it could be a dried out pipe which needs to be changed.

11. Tobacco smell

While tobacco users are used to the smell of cigarettes and other tobacco products, non-smokers aren’t.

Tobacco smell

Your neighbor might be smoking and the aura of the smell might get to your room.

12. Stagnant air

When air is trapped, elements like dust spores and tobacco smoke are trapped in your wardrobe. This happens particularly in hot weather.

That is where proper ventilation comes to help to reduce the pollutants.

13. Dust and stains

Many things make up dirt. They include inactive skin, pollen grains, insects or pet hairs. These dirts make your room look untidy and can cause a bad odor.

House Smells When You Walk In-What Can You Do?

Stenches from the bathroom and cupboards can make breathing unbearable when you walk-in, however it isn’t a must you leave in that unbearable condition, here are steps to take when you walk into a house full of foul odors:

House Smells When You Walk In-What Can You Do

1. Identify the source of the odor

Check everywhere for where the unpleasant smell is coming from. This is to know whether to remove the dead animals or clean the dirt.

2. Clean the whole room

After identifying where the foul smells are coming from dust the furniture, bedding, and every corner of the room. If the odor results from a dead animal, clean the room and apply some sort of air freshener.

Clean the whole room

3. Take care of your pets

If the foul smell comes from urine or feces of your pets, you will need to bathe them and clean their wounds (where it applies).

4. Change the air filter

Sometimes air filter  are the cause of bad smells because of some trapped contaminations. You could immediately change the air filter in your HVAC appliance which could include the furnace, or stand HEPA filter. This should not be a one off idea, regularly change it.

Change the air filter

5. Clean your air ducts

When you know that something smells foul in your house, take time to clean the air ducts because some stains might have been there when you are using the furnace and air conditioner.

Clean your air ducts

6. Check for leaks

Asides dust, pets and other unclean kitchens, you might have some leaks in your roof, window, doors or sewage pipes which contributed to the bad smell. You need to immediately fix those leaks.

7. Repaint your walls

Wallpapers and old paintings are known for soaking up bad smells, and this is the time to change it. Use oil-based and mold-resistant paints because they are more ideal and don’t accumulate dirt and stains.

Repaint your walls

8. Wash your laundry and bedsheets

Since many people spend a lot of time away from home, their sheets and laundry are left unkempt. Wash the sheets at least once a week to ensure the odors are removed permanently.

9. Take care of all upholstery

Like your bedsheets, your dirty upholstery might be harboring dirt and some bacteria. Rid them of such pollutants by washing the fabric to ensure it looks appealing.

10. Turn on the dehumidifier

Moisture is a big issue when talking about foul smell. So if your climate is hot, you might want to turn on the dehumidifier to remove the trapped foul odors and improve the air quality.

Turn on the dehumidifier

11. Use a reliable air purifier

Air purifiers are good to rid your smelling room of foul odors. By using these purifiers, you can effectively remove all sources of bad smells. Choose air purifiers which break down allergens like spores and air bone elements.

12. Get an odor absorber

Use a reliable natural odor absorber such as baking soda to remove all stubborn smells in your house. Odor absorbers are great for soaking up air elements which cause foul odors.

13. Call the cleaning services

Finally, if after following these steps and the bad smell refuses to go away, you need to call the cleaning services immediately. They will be in the best position to deal with the situations.

Can a Smelly House Make You Sick?

Yes,a  Smelly House can make you sick. However, it is important to note that how everyone reacts to bad odor differs. Many people are more sensitive to bad smells than others.

Can a Smelly House Make You Sick

For those who are sensitive to bad odors, they might be affected by the following health issues:


Headaches or migraines can be caused by reaction to chemical elements found in dead animals or pet waste. To avoid these headaches ensure you take care of your pets and clean all animals’ corpses.

Nasal conditions

You might get sick with a cough and catarrh because of bad smells. This is usually caused by dirt and stains on furniture and upholstery. If you inhale these dirts, you will experience nasal problems.

ENT Irritation

Ear, Nose and Throat irritations are caused by bad odors in your rooms. Irritations happen when the oral and nasal cavity is affected by chemicals emitted by foul odor.

Health palpitations

Another sickness that can arise from bad smell is heart palpitations. This is a condition where the heart starts beating irregularly while reacting to foul odors.

This should be taken seriously because it could lead to cardiac arrest and other serious heart attacks.


Nauseating happens when you start feeling you want to vomit due to several reactions to certain smells. While some people have nausea, others outrightly start vomiting at the smell of rotten fish sewage and other bad smells.


You could start being dizzy, which could eventually lead to losing consciousness. Some smells from the kitchen and low humidity can affect concentration which leads to drowsiness.

Mental Depression

Depression is a serious psychological problem which bad smell could cause. About 1% of people are affected mentally when they are exposed to foul smell for long. This causes mental exhaustion and depression in many.

These symptoms usually occur due to prolonged exposure to foul smell. However, their intensity depends on how thick the bad odor is in the air and how quickly you inhale it.

Final Thoughts

When House Smells When You Walk In-What Can You Do There are steps you can take when this occurs like searching for the source of the odor, cleaning the area, bathing for your pets, using natural air fresheners, getting some odor absorbers and in extreme cases calling cleaning services.

Some possible causes of bad odor in the house could be pet urine, dead animals, stuffy cupboards, unclean upholstery and furniture, and an untidy kitchen, taking care of these causes will guarantee better airflow.

Moreover, not taking care of a smelly house could make you have sickness like Nausea, dizziness, headaches, mental depression, skin irritations and health palpitations.

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Author - Joseph Lee

Hi, I am Joseph Lee, I have a home gadget tools selling shop, where I sell air purifiers and its related accessories. Because of my business, I have to face so many clients of the air purifiers machine users. Though my shop specializes in air purifiers, I saw many clients face difficulties with installation, maintenance, not getting the exact amount of service, buying the wrong one. All those problems they face because of their lack of knowledge about air purifiers. 

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