Frequently Asked Questions


Removing musty odors in the basement

A musty odor may indicate mildew growth. If there is a musty odor in the carpet, it may mean that the carpet has been damaged because of moisture. Try applying one of the powder carpet fresheners that can be vacuumed. If the musty odor is due to damaged carpet, you may want to replace the carpet and reduce the amount of moisture accumulating in the basement. A dehumidified can be purchased to reduce moisture in the air. If the moisture is caused by concrete that sweats, you may want to have the concrete sealed or select another type of floor covering. Opening the windows and doors can help ventilate the room and maintain a fresh, clean atmosphere.

Removing musty odors in the garage

Because garages often have oil, decomposing grease is a source of an odor. Clean your garage on a regular basis. To remove musty odors on cement or tiled floors and walls, use cup liquid household bleach to one gallon of water. Be careful not to track mixture into house. It may discolor floor materials. Rinse with clear water and wipe dry. Keep windows open until walls and floors are thoroughly dried. Be careful to not track the cleaning solution into the house because bleach will discolor carpet.

Removing musty odors in the dishwasher

An odor coming from the dishwasher may be caused by food collecting in the filter. Clean out the filter and wash the inside of the dishwasher with a solution of one quart water, two tablespoons liquid dish washing detergent, and 1/4 cup chlorine bleach. Make sure you wash the rubber gaskets, the walls, and all the shelves. If the odor persists, wash out again using a baking soda solution. Then run the dishwasher empty using the highest, hottest water temperature.

Removing musty odors in the microwave

Uncovered foods cooked in the microwave seem to splatter and collect on the walls. Each time this happens it is a good idea to wipe the top, bottom, and walls with water and liquid dish washing detergent. When foods are burned in the microwave, the plastic walls might absorb part of the burned odor. If you have burned food in the microwave, clean out the box with a solution made of one quart water, two tablespoons detergent, and 1/4 cup chlorine bleach. Be sure to wash the rubber gaskets and other items used in the microwave. If the odor persists, wash out again using a baking soda solution. Rinse with clean water and dry.

Removing musty odors in the garbage disposal

When operating the disposal, always use plenty of cold water. Run the water for 20 seconds after grinding food waste to flush drain line. If odor remains, put ice cubes and a quartered lemon into the disposal and run it without water for 10 to 15 seconds. Leave lemon and ice mixture for 30 minutes, then run the disposal with water to clear the drain. Periodically clean under the rubber gasket at the sink opening of the disposal to remove any garbage residue. Never store food waste in the disposal between grindings. Food waste corrodes the blades and supports bacteria growth in the disposal.

Removing refrigerator or freezer odors

Defrost and clean out the refrigerator and freezer with a solution made of one quart water, two tablespoons detergent, and 1/4 cup chlorine bleach. Be sure to wash the rubber gaskets with the detergent solution using a small brush. Also, clean the drainage pan below the refrigerator, and all the shelves in the refrigerator or freezer. If the odor persists, wash out again using a baking soda solution. To absorb the odor, pour baking soda onto a cookie sheet and place it on the refrigerator shelf. If this does not seem to work, spread activated charcoal onto a cookie sheet and place on the shelf inside the refrigerator. Allow the refrigerator to run without food for a few days to allow odors to be absorbed. Another idea is to place kitty litter in paper plates in the refrigerator. Leave the door open. Turn on a fan to hasten circulation of the air in the refrigerator. If these suggestions do not take care of odor problems, it may be that the wet drippings from meat or fish may have leaked into the insulation. This problem may require removing the insulation to get rid of the odor.

Removing smoke odors

Sometimes just by opening windows and doors for outside ventilation, you can get rid of the smoke odor. If this does not work, you can use air fresheners (aerosol or solid) which will mask the smoke odor. Deodorizers, on the other hand, whether aerosols or solid, have ingredients that react with the odors and neutralize them rather than masking them. Some of the commercial companies carry cleaning products that chemically and biologically remove odors. Follow instructions on the label on how to apply. Since carpets take up so much space in a house, it is important to use a carpet deodorizer in power form to remove the smoke odor. Carpet deodorizers can be easily applied and vacuumed away. If the house still has a smoke odor, clean the walls with a mild liquid dish washing detergent and water and have the carpet, upholstery, and draperies cleaned professionally. An air purifier may also be necessary to remove the odor.

Removing pet odors

If you have a pet, change its litter box on a regular basis. Get rid of that "doggy" smell by giving your pet a bath. If you are unable to wash your pet with some kind of shampoo and water, use the dry method by simply rubbing baking soda into the fur, followed by a good brush.

Removing skunk odor

If you get nailed or your dog makes the mistake of harassing a skunk, there are some methods of getting rid of the odor. First, there are several deodorants that really work. However, they are difficult to locate. Manufacturers of these products do not retail directly to the consumer market. The most likely sources to have a supply of this special deodorant is the local veterinarian, local pest control operator, or the local Utah State Extension Office. Ask for the product for neutralizing a skunk spray. Besides commercial de-skunking solutions available at pet stores, tomato juice or beer have been used to neutralize skunk odor. Some experts say laundry detergent will do the trick. In all cases, vigorous rubbing is necessary. Some other home cures are to scrub the surface with household bleach or with a mixture of laundry detergent and vinegar. If the spray from the skunk occurred under the house, the vinegar and detergent solution can be sprayed in the area, followed by scattering activated charcoal.