Monday, December 6, 2010

How to get rid of "old house smell"

Somtimes there is nothing wrong with an old house except for the "old house smell". It is enough to turn potential buyers away, or just make it harder to live in and love your house. Scented candles and oils, air fresheners, and fragrant cleaning products merely mask the smell or make it even worse.

One of the best cleansers is sunshine. Open the drapes and the windows and let sunshine in for as long as possible. 
In order eliminate the smell, you need to know what is causing it. There are several common causes for "the old house smell".

- Check the paint on walls and the stain on cabinets. Walls can be painted with no-VOC paint. Usually this is an easy and less costly remedy. Cabinets can be washed with a xolution of water and white vinegar or in extreme casees painted or stripped and res-tained with no-VOC stains.

- Old carpet and the pad beneath it can hold a number of pollutants: dust, mites, pet dander and odors, accumulated dirt, Carpeting. Carpet cleaners can only eliminate the carpet odor for a short time. If you have really old carpets, you may need to remove it. Opt for  solid surface flooring such as cork, stone, bamboo flooring, linoleum, or tiles. These surfaces can easily and frequently be cleaned. 

- Cigarette smoke gets embedded in fabric, furniture upholstery, drapery, walls, wood, carpet and anything else that is porous and linger for a long time. Do not smoke in the house.  

- Mold and mildew can be caused by excess moisture trapped in areas with poor ventilation. Black mold especially is a serious health threat and can result in allergic reactions and respiratory problems. Check the crawl space under the house and in the back of closets, showers and other enclosed spaces. If you find standing water  or moist ground in your crwal space under your house, you may need a swamp pump to redirect the water away from your house. If you find mold, take proper precaution to remove it. In case of excessive mold infestation, hire a mold remediation specialist. Make sure all affected materials are removed and handled properly.   

- Dirty upholstery, drapery, and furniture can also contribute to the old house smell. 

- Dead animals in your attic or underneath your house may be another cause of the smell. Make sure you ahve gloves and a mask when removing the remains and dispose of these properly.

Once your eliminate the cause and the smell, keep your house smelling fresh by frequently opening the windows and letting the sunshine in. You can also frequently put some eucalyptus leaves or orange peels in a pot of hot water on the stove and let the smell fill the air for several minutes to freshen up your kitchen.
Add a few drops of eucalyptus or orange oil to your water when cleaning surfaces.
                                                  Keep it clean, keep it fresh, keep it healthy.

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