Terrible smell: how to get rid of it

cearabFebruary 14, 2012

Let me just say I am posting this message for a friend with a unique problem. During the last year she married a man who had his adult (26) son living with them. This young man is quite simply, disgusting. I have had the misfortune of spending time around him, and he is completely void of anything resembling hygiene. He never (as in NEVER), brushes his teeth, routinely scratches his private parts in front of anyone, picks his nose, bathes only occasionally, wears dirty clothes over and over, etc. He stinks.

So here is the issue at hand. He FINALLY moved out of the house. But he left behind his stink in the bedroom he had been using for the last year. He dressed himself out of a huge pile of dirty clothes thrown on the floor in the middle of the room. He NeVer changed his sheets (well maybe once a year or so). When he moved out he took his mattress set with him, thankfully. My friend had the carpets professionally cleaned and the smell did not go away. She ripped up the carpet, thinking it would rid the room of the smell. That did not work. She said the walls actually smell. She washed them down with lysol and that hasn't changed the smell. During all this she has been leaving the windows open overnight in the room to help rid the stink. I have been in the room and it really does smell awful. In fact, the room smelled so bad while he lived there that his father forbid him from ever leaving the door to his bedroom open. So basically, you have a foul smelling room that my friend wants to convert into a guest room but can't because it smells so bad. She was thinking about making a bleach solution and washing down the walls a second time with it. Any suggestions here?

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There are various odor eliminating "bombs" on the market, mostly for cars, similar to bug bombs, such as the one linked below. I've never had to use one, thankfully, but they get pretty good reviews.

Here is a link that might be useful: Odor Bomb

    Bookmark   February 14, 2012 at 2:15PM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana

You might also try asking at The Paint Forum as I suspect using a primer/sealer, and then painting would be a lot better than just scrubbing the walls.

You might also try asking at The Floor Forum. You said they ripped the carpeting out. What kind of floor is it? Wood. Hardwood? Concrete? The floor might also need some sort of a sealer to seal out the odor.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2012 at 3:14PM
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My friend found beautiful hardwood oak floors under the carpet. The room had been painted prior to smelly moving into the room. She said the paint is in very good shape since the room was barely used prior to the stepson moving into it just over a year ago (he formerly slept in the third floor attic room where his was the only room; hence nobody really picked up on the stink so easily).

    Bookmark   February 14, 2012 at 3:20PM
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Whether the paint looks good or not, the walls still smell. My Mom likes a solution of 1 part 409 Industrial Strength to 2 parts water for washing down the walls. Your friend can also try using undiluted vinegar on a soft cloth for washing the walls instead. The vinegar will help rid the surfaces of any smell generating bacteria + it will help absorb the odors in the wall. The vinegar smell will dissipate & completely disappear as it dries. Your friend may also need to take a steam mop to the hardwoods. She can also try placing a bowl of vinegar in the room for 24-48 hours to help eliminate the smell. If these don't work, I would try repainting using a primer like Kilz first. As a last resort, use one of those odor bombs mentioned above. Hope this helps!

    Bookmark   February 14, 2012 at 10:49PM
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Like mydreamhome, I recommend using a primer like Kilz on the walls and then painting over it. I have a condo in my home state which I only use a few times a year. One year, the rod holes in my basement gave way and water seeped in. The musty smell produced was horrible. After having the rod holes repaired, I used Kilz and repainted the walls. This did the trick! Unfortunately, the smell might still be in the flooring since the body odor is probably bacteria based. She might have to rip out the sub-floor and install a new one.

Honestly, it might be cheaper and faster to hire someone who specializes in this situation to correct the problem and might not be as cost prohibitive as you may think!

    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 2:16AM
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I also think the smell had permeated the walls, and the best way to get rid of it is seal the walls with Kilz (thry make both latex and oiul base sealers) then repaint. Wallpaper would also work. And if the floor is Good Wood, have it sanded, stained and sealed also. Good luck! I have my own Smelly Guy. DH who has Multiple Sclerosis with "Alzheimer's like' symptoms and occasionally has "bathroom" accidents. I have posted about him on the caregiver forum. I understand about keeping bedroom doors closed. I can't wait for spring, when we'll get some sunny dry days. I'll be able to open the windows wide and have Nature work its' wonders. For free!

    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 8:32AM
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Well, we have had a smelly problem for several years now. My DHs closet stinks! I keep after him to put everything he has worn in the laundry, but his efforts are half hearted and it really did not work even when he was careful. He finally has resorted to keeping his closet door open, so then every time I walked past it, the offending Old Man Smell overwhelmed me.

My sister clued me in to an advertised product at Tuesday Morning. It is a jar of clear, little gelatinous pellets and costs about $7. You open the jar, remove the seal, and then put the lid back on the jar and place it in the offending area. It does not have a masking odor, and somehow removes the stink.

I highly recommend it --Fresh Wave Odor Eliminating Crystals. Originally priced at about $14, and Tuesday Morning sells it for $6.99.

Try a few jars in your smelly room.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 1:56PM
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Well, latest report is that my friend used straight bleach on the walls (which I would not do myself), opened the windows and is waiting to see what happend. I mentioned the Kilz to her and she said if the bleach doesn't do the trick, she's going to try the Kilz. I will keep you all posted and thanks to all for the great tips. This guy really is revolting, but believe it or not, has no problem getting women. Seriously, he's got booty calls all over town and the women are always attractive and well educated. Wonders never end!!!

    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 11:40PM
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Sounds like he may have the bad boy thing going for him. Odds are he never has them over to his place or they'd run in the other direction direction screaming in horror!

    Bookmark   February 18, 2012 at 10:50AM
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That is one smell you cant get rid of.I had a nephew like that.Get rid of the boy...lol

    Bookmark   February 19, 2012 at 8:02AM
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I hear you! We are in the process of asking a friend/former employee to vacate our garage apartment. While he's not really a pig, he has very little money and I'm pretty sure none of it goes to weekly laundry... although that doesn't excuse not showering regularly... okay, so he's a pig, but a nice guy:-) Added to that, he smokes the cheapest butts and brews nasty strong coffee.

We will make sure he takes everything... including the area rugs, bed and futon we provided. Although I'm pretty sure our first call will be to a professional cleaning service, I'm definitely taking note of the suggestions here.

The real tragedy is, we had just totally renovated the apartment before he moved in... too many years ago. Payback for a soft heart:-(

    Bookmark   February 19, 2012 at 7:30PM
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We had that problem with a condo we owned and rented out. The tenant was a heavy smoker and it simply reeked. We wanted to put it on the market but the agent said not to list it til the smell was GONE. We replaced the carpet too.

This is what worked: Kilz (as recommended above) on the walls. Then we set bowls of vinegar all over the room, along the walls so we didnâÂÂt trip over them. On top of the vinegar I put a few drops of an essential oil. I bought food grade pure oil at Whole Foods, as it has to be âÂÂrealâ essential oil, not just an oily perfume. The vinegar volatilizes and makes the oil evaporate into the air. It took about a month. I went over there at least once a week to refresh the bowls, adding more vinegar and oil. I could tell the odor was a bit better every time I went in. ItâÂÂs probably the vinegar rather than then the oil, but this is what I was told to do when I posted MY question on the forum, so I did it that way.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2014 at 9:32AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

The ceiling needs to be treated the same as the walls. Ceilings can be reservoirs of nasty odors.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2014 at 9:13PM
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I am in the same position; my stepson ( 31 years old ) is living with us and my husband and I are at the point that our marriage is in danger. I suffer migraines and I have a very sensitive nose and being exposed to strong prolonged smells triggers my migraines and I have been sick for almost over two months since he moved back with us. His smell is so bad that even it goes through the walls. Please help me. I already tried the baking soda, pet odor remover and nothing had worked. Thank you

    Bookmark   February 11, 2014 at 6:30AM
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You will need to treat your whole house with baking soda, vinegar and lemon juice at least 3-4 times. Also keep your windows open for air to circulate better.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 4:40PM
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