<<< back to article list

How to remove old odours from your new home

Blog by Kim Twohey | August 9th, 2017

One of the first things homeowners notice when they move into a new home is the lingering odour of the previous owners.  Regardless of how well a home is maintained, there will almost always be a smell.  The previous homeowners were likely nose blind to the odour, just like you are to the smell in your home.  Here are some tips to help eliminate lingering odours so you can help your new house feel and smell like home!

Clean the furnace filters and ducts

This is an easy way to cut through odour and it has the added benefit of keeping your furnace and duct work in prime operating condition.  Depending on the size of your home and the number of furnaces, this job will take 2 or more hours for a qualified service technician to complete. 

Have floors professionally cleaned

Many types of flooring, not just carpet, hold onto odours.  A thorough vacuum and mopping of floor surfaces will definitely help.  Look for products that attack and eliminate the source of odours including bacteria, stains, and mildew.  Avoid overly perfumed products that merely mask the smell since once the cleaning product fades the original odour will still be an issue.  Hiring a professional who has higher grade tools can make an even bigger difference!  If you hire a professional, talk to them about the best products and cleaning methods to use going forward to keep your floors as odour free as possible. 

Wash the walls

Walls can absorb a surprising amount of odour.  This can be easily remedied by washing the walls.  Using the cleaning solution of your choice, spray walls and use a long handled mop with a sturdy, soft pad.  Spray and mop from top to bottom, left to right.  It will not take long before walls are clean and ready for you to decorate.  One word of caution, stick to a cleaning solution that will not affect the paint. 

Clean window coverings

Both hard and soft window coverings can cause odours to linger.  One of the first things you should do when you move in is take down and clean all the window coverings.  Check online or with the manufacturer for tips on how to clean different coverings properly. 

Paint the walls

Painting the walls can be another fairly inexpensive way to eliminate odours in your new home.  For the best results, wash the walls before painting and then use an odour blocking primer.  Talk to an expert at your local paint store to find out which primers will block odours and get recommendations on the best type of paint to use. 

Clean drains and garbage disposals

Odours often waft up from drains, garbage disposals, and dishwasher traps.  A quick and easy solution is to clean drains, disposals, and traps as soon as you move in. 

On the off chance that you are purchasing a home with severe odours that will require more extensive and expensive remedies to address, talk to your Realtor about asking for a purchase price reduction.  When you attend the home inspection, ask the qualified inspector for ideas on how you can begin to tackle the existing odours and prevent new ones.