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  • Get Rid of Household Odors at Their Source

    Expert advice on how to idenitify—and eliminate—stinky nuisances.

    Nobody wants a stinky house. But rather than reaching for traditional air fresheners or candles that only mask odors in a small area temporarily, we need to find out what's causing those icky smells in the first place. To help us do just that, home improvement expert Danny Lipford, host of the nationally syndicated show, "Today's Homeowner," takes us on a house tour to remove common household odor problems.

    • Whole House:

      A serious weapon against residential odors is the Filtrete™ Odor Reduction Filter. It's designed with activated carbon technology and is the best 1" carbon filter at removing particles and odors while maintaining airflow. Additionally, it pulls in and traps unwanted particles while letting cleaner air flow through.

      If you enjoy scented products, enhance your indoor air with a Filtrete™ Whole House Air Freshener.Just attach the insert to your HVAC air filter to provide up to 30 days of slow-release fragrance to multiple rooms through air vents. Choose from five fresher scents to reinvigorate the air in your home.

    • Floors:

      Carpet and rugs are odor magnets, especially if you have pets or smokers in your home. To neutralize and remove odors, liberally sprinkle rugs and carpets with baking soda and use a broom to brush the powder into the fibers. Wait at least 15 minutes for the baking soda to work its magic, then use a vacuum cleaner equipped with a high-efficiency particulate arresting (HEPA) filter to capture many of the odor-causing contaminants.

    • Walls and Baseboards:

      It might be surprising, but walls and baseboards are common culprits of lingering odors. First tackle them with a good scrub down using a vinegar-and-water solution (try one-half cup vinegar with 1 gallon water). If you're still not satisfied, it might be time for a fresh coat of paint. Start by applying a coat of primer that is specifically formulated to seal surfaces. Just remember that home improvement projects that involve paint, stains, solvents or adhesives can release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air that can be harmful to your health. Be sure to switch on vent fans in the home and run them continuously for at least 30 minutes whenever you are doing a painting project.

    • Basement:

      Oh, the dreaded dankness of basements. If yours is starting to smell like a sewer, the culprit could be a water trap under an infrequently used floor drain, wash basin or laundry tub. The water in the trap may have evaporated, allowing sewer gas to come up through the drain. Simply dump a pitcher of water into the drain to restore the trap water. If the smell is still lingering, call a professional to inspect the problem. You may have a loose connection joint in a wall or ceiling, or a cracked or broken sewer line.

    • Bathroom:

      A bathroom vent fan can help to remove mold and mildew odors and push moist air to the outside of your home. First ensure that the vent is not clogged by a bird's nest or leaves and restricting airflow. (Not comfortable on a ladder? Call a local home-maintenance pro.) Also get into the habit of turning the fan on while showering and leaving it on for 20 minutes afterward to remove excess moisture from the air. Replacing the wall switch with a timer switch that turns the fan off automatically is a simple way to ensure you don't leave the fan running.

    • Kitchen:

      If your kitchen—or your entire home—smells like last night's dinner, it's time to make sure that your stove is properly ventilated. Installing and regularly running a vent hood will help eliminate moisture, trap grease and remove heat caused by using the stove. When shopping for a vent hood, consider one that has an easy-to-clean surface and energy efficient lighting. If a hard-wired vent isn't an option, simply blowing steam and smells out of the kitchen through an open window with a household fan is a good plan B. Also, cover pots and pans while cooking to help reduce odors and lower the humidity in your home.