Have you ever walked into an old house and noticed it has a particular smell? It mixes dusty books, old socks, and who knows what else. It’s not exactly the welcome scent we want. Well, you’re not alone, and there’s good news—you can say goodbye to those weird smells. In this blog, we’ll share some super easy tips to make your house smell fresh and nice again. We’ve got you covered, whether it’s that musty “old house smell” or other strange odours you can’t seem to find. Let’s turn your home from stinky to splendid with just a few simple steps. Ready to clear the air? Let’s get started with old house smell removal! 

What Old Houses Smell Funny?

What Old Houses Smell Funny in Canada

Old houses are like grand old people; they’ve been around long and have countless stories to tell. However, with age comes a few issues, including that distinct old house smell. One major reason for this funky odour is moisture. Yes, water! Old houses often don’t keep water out, and newer homes don’t. This moisture can hide in walls, under floors, and even the attic, leading to a musty smell—like wet socks left in a gym bag.

Another sneaky reason for the old home smell is dust and old materials. Think about everything that makes up a house—wood, wallpaper, carpets. Over time, these materials can absorb smells from years of cooking, smoking, or just plain living. It’s like they’re holding onto a smelly party from the past! Also, don’t forget about the hidden corners. Old houses have many nooks and crannies where dust and dirt can collect without being seen. These spots can be playgrounds for smells.

Finding the Source of the Smell

When your house starts to smell a bit off, it’s time to put on your detective hat and get to the bottom of it. It’s a serious hunt for those elusive bad smells, but we’ll tackle it with some fun. Ready? Here’s how to track down the sources of those pesky odours.

    • Sniff Around: Begin your investigation by going on a sniffing patrol around your home. Take your time and pay close attention to where the smells are the strongest—these areas are your primary suspects. Old house smell often lingers in these spots.
    • Check for Moisture: Moisture is a common offender regarding musty smells. Inspect areas prone to dampness, like basements, under sinks, around windows, and in bathrooms. Signs of moisture problems include water stains, peeling wallpaper, or visible mould. Finding these signs? You’ve likely cracked part of the case of the old home smell.
    • Inspect Old Items: Older furniture, carpets, and drapes can be major odour culprits as they absorb smells over the years. Give them a thorough sniff test. If they come up musty, it might be time for a deep clean or a replacement to remove the old house smell.
    • Look High and Low: Examine your home’s high and low areas. Ceilings and floors can trap odours just as well as walls. Pay special attention to attics, basements, and hotspots for stale, stuffy smells. Improving ventilation in the attic or using a dehumidifier in the basement can help get rid of old house smells.
    • Explore Small Spaces: Small, often overlooked areas like closets, nooks, and crannies behind furniture can also harbour lingering odours. These spots rarely see the light of day and can accumulate dust and dirt, contributing to bad smells. Tackling these areas is essential in getting rid of old house smells.
    • Check Your Vents: Home heating and cooling systems might spread odours rather than fresh air. If odours come from your vents, it could indicate it’s time to clean the ductwork thoroughly.

How to Make Your Old House Smell Better

Making your old house smell better is like giving it a mini makeover. It doesn’t have to be hard! Here are some easy steps to help you get rid of that old house smell:

Stop Wet Spots

Wet or damp areas in your house are often the main reason for musty smells. Look around for wet spots. Moisture hides under sinks, windows, basements, and bathrooms. If you find any leaks, fix them. If areas are damp, you might need a dehumidifier to dry them out. Keeping your house dry will make a big difference in how it smells.

Clean Everything Well

Clean Everything Well To Home

A good cleaning can make your house smell a lot better. Start dusting everything, even in places you might usually skip, like the tops of doors, window frames, and under furniture. Vacuum carpets and wash floors. Don’t forget to wash things like curtains and furniture covers, which can soak up smells. For surfaces, use a mix of water and vinegar—a natural cleaner that helps eliminate odours without leaving a strong smell behind.

Let Fresh Air In

One of the easiest ways to improve the smell of your house is to open the windows. Fresh air helps push out the stuffy, old air that can make your house smell bad. Whenever the weather is good, open several windows across the house to create a nice airflow. This can also help reduce dampness, which we know is great for controlling smells.

Fix or Change Broken Stuff

Sometimes, things that smell bad need more than just a cleaning—they must be repaired or thrown out. This might include old carpets that have seen better days or furniture beyond saving. Check if anything like this is causing bad smells. If it’s damaged or too old, fixing or replacing it can make your home smell better and give it a fresh look.

Other Common Culprits of Home Odours

Dealing with other smelly problems in your home can be challenging, but with the right tips, you can keep your living space smelling fresh. Here’s how to handle common sources of odours:

Cooking Smells

Cooking can leave strong smells, especially when you fry food or cook spicy dishes. To get rid of these food smells, try these tips:

    • Ventilation is Key: Always turn on the exhaust fan while cooking or open a window to help the smells escape.
    • Clean Right Away: After cooking, wipe down your counters, stove, and kitchen surfaces with vinegar and water to remove any lingering odours.
    • Simmer Natural Scents: Boil a pot of water and add cinnamon sticks, lemon peels, or vanilla extract to spread a pleasant aroma throughout your home.


We love our pets, but sometimes they can make the house smell. Keep your home fresh with these ideas:

    • Regular Pet Cleaning: Bathe your pets regularly and keep their bedding clean and odour-free by washing it often.
    • Spot Clean: Clean up any accidents or spills involving your pets to avoid lingering smells.
    • Air Purifiers: Consider using an air purifier in areas where your pets spend a lot of time.

Trash Smells

A smelly trash can can quickly make your whole kitchen unpleasant. Keep your trash from stinking with these strategies:

    • Take Out the Trash Often: Don’t let trash pile up. Empty the bin before it starts to smell.
    • Baking Soda: Sprinkle baking soda in the bottom of your trash can to help neutralise bad odours.
    • Regular Washing: Clean your trash cans regularly with soap and water to remove any residue that might cause odours.

Smoke from Cigarettes

Cigarette smoke is one of the toughest smells to eliminate. Here’s how to clear it out:

    • Air Out: Open windows and doors to let as much fresh air in as possible.
    • Clean Fabrics: Smoke can cling to fabrics, so wash curtains, couch covers, and carpets where smoke is a problem.
    • Vinegar: Wipe down walls and furniture with vinegar and water to help absorb and remove the smoke smell.

Tips to Keep Your House Smelling Nice

Keeping your house smelling nice makes it a more pleasant place to live. Here are some simple tips to help you keep your home fresh, and add a few more ideas to make sure your home always smells good:

Use Natural Smells

Natural items like flowers or sliced fruits can make your home smell lovely. Put some fresh flowers in a vase or simmer a pot of water with lemon slices and herbs on the stove. These gentle natural scents can make your home feel more inviting.

Plants Inside

Indoor plants don’t just look nice; they can help clean the air. Some plants, like spider plants, peace lilies, and snake plants, are especially good at this. They take in bad air and give out fresh air, helping your home smell better.

Open Windows

Open Home Window in Canada

Letting fresh air into your house can push out stuffy, old air that smells bad. Whenever the weather is nice, open windows across your house to let the breeze come through and refresh your home.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is great for absorbing odours. You can put a box in your refrigerator, sprinkle some in the bottom of your trash can, or even small bowls in smelly areas.

Green Choices

Using eco-friendly cleaning products can help keep your home smelling fresh without harsh chemicals. Look for cleaners made with natural ingredients, or make your own from vinegar and water.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is another natural cleaner and deodoriser. You can use it to wipe down surfaces, mix it with water, and spray it in the air to help remove odours. It has a strong smell at first, but it removes the bad smells as it dries.

Essential Oil Diffusers

Essential oil diffusers spread the scent of essential oils through the air. Choose oils like lavender, lemon, or peppermint for a fresh smell. Add water and a few drops of your favourite oil to the diffuser, then turn it on to make your home smell wonderful.

Keep Drains Clean

Remember your drains. If they are not cleaned regularly, they can start to smell. Pour boiling water down the drains weekly to keep them clear and odour-free. For tougher smells, use baking soda and vinegar to fizz away residue.

Regular Carpet Cleaning

Carpets can trap odours, so vacuum them regularly and shampoo them as needed. For quick freshness, sprinkle baking soda on your carpet, let it sit for a few hours, then vacuum it up.

Wrapping It Up

Keeping your home smelling fresh and clean isn’t just about making it a pleasant place to be—it’s about creating a healthier environment for you and your family. Using natural fragrances, cleaning regularly, and adopting some of the tips we’ve shared can make bad odours a thing of the past. Whether it’s letting in fresh air, using plants to purify your space, or trying natural deodorisers like baking soda and apple cider vinegar, each step contributes to a fresher home. Remember, a good-smelling home is also a sign of a well-maintained home. So, embrace these habits, and you’ll enjoy a nicer-smelling space and take pride in the cleanliness and upkeep of your living area. Thanks for sticking with us through these tips, and here’s to a fresher, cleaner home that welcomes you and your guests with open, fragrant arms!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How can you permanently remove a bad smell in an old house?

To permanently remove a bad smell in an old house address the root causes of the odour. This often involves eliminating moisture issues, repairing or replacing old materials like carpets and upholstery that may harbour odours, and ensuring good ventilation. Regular deep cleaning and treating specific problem areas, such as mould or mildew, are also crucial.

What are the secrets to having your house always smell great?

The secrets to keeping your house smelling great include maintaining cleanliness, using natural deodorisers like baking soda and vinegar, and regular ventilation. Additionally, incorporating aromatic elements such as essential oil diffusers, scented candles, or fresh flowers can enhance the overall fragrance of your home.

What are the best products and practices for a consistently fresh-smelling home?

The best products for a fresh-smelling home include baking soda, vinegar, essential oil diffusers, and eco-friendly cleaning products. Effective practices include regular cleaning, promptly addressing spills and stains, keeping the home dry, and using air purifiers to maintain good air quality. Additionally, periodic deep cleaning of textiles and vents can prevent the buildup of odours.