Even if you keep a clean house, some areas of your home can be the source of a bad odor. Moisture, pets, food particles, and mold can contribute to strange smells in the house. If you cannot identify the source of a smell, check out these common causes of odors in the home.

Causes of Foul Odors in the Home

Odors in the Home: Kitchen


The warm, damp environment inside the dishwasher is conducive to mold and mildew growth. Add to that the leftover food particles in the machine, and you might notice a strange smell in your kitchen. 

Regularly wipe the interior of your dishwasher clean. Use vinegar during the wash cycle to help eliminate odors and stuck-on food particles. If your dishwasher has a filter, clean it regularly to improve the appliance’s efficiency and eliminate bad smells.

Garbage Disposal

Leftover food particles and grease sometimes get trapped in the drain; if not removed, they will begin to decompose. Use baking soda and vinegar to clean the disposal or run a few lemon slices through it. Clean underneath the garbage disposal to ensure the appliance is not the source of bad smells in your home.

Odors in the Home: Living Room

Your living room could harbor many unpleasant smells. Keep the room neat and tidy to help eliminate odors.

Pet Odors

Your pet or their belongings might be the source of odors in your home. Pet fur and dander might become trapped on the fibers of your carpet or the furniture. Vacuum the sofa and rugs regularly. Bathe your pets, and launder their bedding at least weekly.

Dirty Carpets

If your room is carpeted, the carpet could be the source of the odor. Dust from shoes, pet fur, spilled food, and drinks make the carpet look dirty and smell awful. Vacuum weekly and have the carpet cleaned professionally at least once a year.


Bedding, including sheets, blankets, and pillows, collects dust mites over time. Change the bedding at least weekly and wash the sheets and pillowcases in hot water. 

Another common source of odors in the bedroom is the laundry hamper. Damp and dirty clothes can contribute to mildew growth. Keep dirty clothes and linens in the laundry room and wash the laundry frequently.

Odors in the Home: Bathroom

The moisture in your bathroom creates an environment conducive to mildew and mold growth. If you notice a damp smell like wet socks, clean the bathroom thoroughly. Always use the ventilation fan when bathing or showering. Don’t leave dirty clothes or damp towels in a pile on the floor. 

Laundry Room

Front-Load Washer

Like a dishwasher, the washing machine is in constant contact with water can harbor mold and allow bacteria to thrive. The door seal might remain damp. Leave the washing machine door open to allow the appliance to dry completely. If you notice an unpleasant odor, run a cycle using vinegar to remove the smell.

This list covers many spaces in your house that are prone to odors. Check these areas and clean the home well if you notice foul smells.

Dave Holt Home Inspections provides inspection services in New Orleans and the surrounding areas. If you’re buying or selling a home, contact us to schedule an appointment.