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My Solution for a Smelly Apartment: A Case Study

By: Hsin-Yi Cohen BSc, MA, MSt - Updated: 22 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Smell House Apartment Carpets Vinegar

Having patiently saved for several years to gain an adequate deposit, Stewart was excited to be purchasing his first home at last. Months of searching had finally resulted in a one-bedroom apartment situated in an up-and-coming area of town, close to all restaurants, shops and amenities, and Stewart was confident that his property would be a good investment. The only thing that marred his pleasure with his new home was the smell that hit you as soon as you entered through the front door.

A Vile Reception

“Oh, it was unbelievable!” Says Stewart. “The most disgusting mixture – sort of like wet socks or wet dog, mixed with a sort of musty damp and then on top of this, there was a lingering smell of curry and onions…it was really vile. I don’t know what the previous owners had been doing but they’d certainly stinked the place out!”

Stewart tried to ignore the odours for a few days as he settled in but he found that rather than going away, the smells seemed to get worse. By the weekend, he was at his wit’s end. He had planned a house-warming party for his friends and family but there was no way he wanted to invite anybody into the house with the way it was smelling! Finally, he called his mother in desperation for advice.

Mother knows best

“I figured my mother would know what to do. I remember, growing up in our home, it always smelt fresh and sweet – even though there were 4 boys and we were always throwing dirty clothes around everywhere and my mother was constantly cooking for us and we had a dog too…so I thought I had to know my mother’s secret!” Laughs Stewart.

Stewart’s mother gave him some simple advice and Stewart lost no time putting them into action. ”She suggested some really simple things – I don’t know why I didn’t even think of it myself! – like opening the windows everyday to air the rooms. I think because it was winter and cold outside but actually, I found that even if I just opened the windows for 10 minutes, it made a huge difference to how much fresher the house smelled.”

Stewart also washed all the curtains which had been hanging in the house and took the time to do a complete ‘spring clean’, dusting all the cupboards and wiping over all surfaces. On his mother’s advice, he used a home-made solution of lemon juice in his cleaning, as lemon has powerful natural deodorising properties and leaves a fragrant scent in its wake.

Simple home deodorisers

“My mother also told me that vinegar is a really good natural deodoriser,” says Stewart. “I never realised that but she told me to put a bowl of vinegar out in the living room overnight and I swear, in the morning, it was like coming into a different room. You would think that it would reek of vinegar but no, it actually smelled really fresh and pleasant.”

Stewart also used another common household product, baking soda, to deodorise the carpets. He simply sprinkled baking powder all over the carpets, left it for 10 minutes and then vacuumed the whole floor, repeating this a few times. He was pleasantly surprised to find that this treatment was very effective and the carpets ceased to smell, even when he crouched down and placed his nose near it. It also saved him an expensive bill from a professional carpet cleaner.

A fragrant finale

Finally, he went out and bought several scented candles and bowls of pot pourri. These he placed carefully around the apartment and on the evening of his house-warming party, he carefully lit all the candles to allow them to give off their fragrance.

“The party was huge success and the ironic thing was, so many people who arrived kept commenting on how lovely and fresh the house smelled and what a great find I’d got…” Stewart chuckles,”…if only they knew!”

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