How do I get rid of a stuffy house smell?

OakleyApril 22, 2010

Ick. I was gone all day and when I walked into the house it smelled very stuffy, as if no one had lived here in years!

This is the time of year when we have high humidity and I know that brings smells out of stuff. But since we added wood & tile flooring last year to most of the house, and also bought new furniture, the house wasn't stuffy anymore.

It's not a pet smell or anything, but it was awful. I'm not opening windows because of the high humidity, but I did turn the a/c up. Maybe the a/c didn't even come on today? I will open windows on low humidity days and cooler air though.

I have a bowl of potpourri in the entryway, I guess it needs to be replaced. lol

Any ideas how to clear this up? I don't notice it when I'm home all day.

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It doesn't smell like mold, does it?

    Bookmark   April 22, 2010 at 8:08PM
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No mold, thank goodness! I can smell mold a mile away since it effects my allergies. lol.

It only got about 75 today so I'm thinking the a/c didn't come on and that's why the house was so stuffy.

I did give a few spray squirts of my Cinnamon spray from Bath & Body Works. I love that stuff!

    Bookmark   April 22, 2010 at 8:48PM
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I open my windows in the early morning to get fresh air inside, and air out the beds (turn the covers way back upon awakening) before the heat (or humidity) of the day set in. Always run the fan when cooking.

We are the last to turn on our AC (or heat, for that matter) and one of the few families who ever open a window. I can't stand the smell of stale air, and those stretches of terrible heat in the summer with the AC running make me so unhappy. I'm a fresh air fiend.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2010 at 9:23PM
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I'm a window opener, too, but sometimes it's just not practical. Since I don't like artificial fresheners, I don't have scented candles, or the plug in things or reed diffusers - they are all way too strong and fake for me. I use vinegar and water in a spray bottle as a moistener for dusting cloths and to mop my floors. Some people may not like the smell, but I find it fresh and clean smelling, plus it dissipates quickly. A quick clean up of the kitchen counters with the spray would freshen things for me. But I stumbled on this Winter Detox idea - some of the suggestions sound interesting and might work for you.

Here is a link that might be useful: Winter Detox

    Bookmark   April 22, 2010 at 9:50PM
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Dlm, thanks for the website. It's got a lot of great tips.

I'm a window opener also except during high humidity days. I'm going to air out the house in the morning before it heats up. After the storms go through tonight I think it may be "dry" for a few days with no humidity.

There is one candle I'm addicted to now. Scentsy. You don't light the candle, it melts with a tiny lightbulb which I plug in on the mantel and kitchen counter. Very subtle scent but noticeable. Much better than Yankee Candles which used to be my favorite.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2010 at 10:17PM
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We put a neutra spray thingy on the wall near the cat litter and I really like it. I like the stuff in the blue can. Since our dang cat box has to be in the bath off the foyer (for now), I am constantly worried about the smells. Well, I've tried all kinds of fresheners. The were either not effective or were so strong I got a headache just passing by the room.

This is an automatic sprayer and runs on batteries (which do last for 3months or so on the lowest setting). I just hammered in a tiny finishing nail into the sheetrock and hung it over the box-area. I love the scent--it's just CLEAN, not flowery or overly spicy. You can also just stand it on something. Do you have some wall space near the door in an inconspicuous place? Maybe that would work.

Another thing to do is set your A/C on "fan" and make sure it runs right before you get home.

Also, check that your trash cans don't need a good bleaching out!

Here is a link that might be useful: automatic lysol thingy

    Bookmark   April 22, 2010 at 11:05PM
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I swear by either Citrus Magic or Natural Magic (my preferred choice). Even tho they come in fragrances they don't leave a masking scent in the room, instead it absorbs and neutralizes odors. Lowe's carries it, and some Ace stores, usually paint stores have it too. I use it in rentals after tenants move out, leaves it smelling fresh and clean. In the car, pet areas, you name it. It even pulled the perfume smell out of one of the drawers of a vintage dresser I bought on CL. Have you tried a dehumidifier to help take excess moisture out of the air during high humidity times? That might help, too. We have to run one in early summer months in our lower level, even if AC is on.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2010 at 5:48AM
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Is your AC set at "auto" or "on", as far as the fan goes ? if it's on auto and the AC doesn't kick in, there's no ventilation. I leave the fan "on" at all times, for air circulation, that might help in your case.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2010 at 7:27AM
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A quick fix I've used in the past is a slow simmer of a pot of approx 4 cups of water with a generous sprinkling of cinnamon. After an hour of that, there's a subtle hint of the scent circulating.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2010 at 9:05AM
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Thanks for the tips! I'm going to look those products up on the Internet and probably order some.

I don't leave the fan running on the a/c. I have this fear if I leave it on without the a/c then it will burn out fast. lol.

I've got all the windows open now, it's such a beautiful day, but the high humidity is coming fast so I'll turn the a/c on in a bit.

Tomorrow there's not supposed to be humidity, around 70 and north winds. That will really be nice!

    Bookmark   April 23, 2010 at 11:35AM
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Forgot to add, I used to simmer water and cinnamon but the cinnamon would turn my pans a dark color. The cinnamon spray from B&BW is fantastic. If I know company is coming I spray it about 30 minutes before.

I'm pretty sure our new "mini" Walmart SuperCenter won't sell these items, so I ordered 3 solid Citrus thingys (not the spray), and one Lysol automatic neutral spray. The only drawback I read about it is it can sometimes leak on the floor. So I'll find an obscure place in the LR and have a little towel under it.

Can't wait until they come in! I'm definitely going to put one of the solid Citrus things in the back bedrooms where our very old carpet is.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2010 at 11:53AM
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I love using the regular Fabreeze. It's a light fresh scent that fades quickly. I spray the furniture, bedding, drapes and even the silk plants. It really freshens up everything.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2010 at 2:08PM
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I'm off to Febreeze right now! :)

    Bookmark   April 23, 2010 at 4:01PM
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I have read that Febreze and some other sprays are not good to use with pets. I agree with Moonshadow - you want to absorb/neutralize the odor, not mask it. More importantly you need to identify what is causing the odor and take care of it. You mentioned old carpet - maybe you need to have it cleaned. I am so thankful to have no carpet in this house and hope to never have it again!

I'm another believer in fresh air. Our sunroom is open much of the time (until it is too hot) and the french doors into the back of the house. Nothing like a good airing out. Running the fan on your heat/air unit will not hurt it. It is good to circulate the air.


    Bookmark   April 23, 2010 at 5:56PM
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After having a teenage son who sprayed Febreeze on everything, I really don't like the smell.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2010 at 7:07PM
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Thanks Moonshadow I am going to try some of that stuff for my stuffy house.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2010 at 12:08PM
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Lena M

Make yourself a nice gin & tonic.
After giving the lime slice a bit of a squeeze, run the lime around the rim of the glass.

Afterwards you won't care about the stuffy house smell so much.

(You could also try this with refreshing glass of club seltzer or soda but the relief may not last as long.)

I find this works for many aggravating household problems :o)


    Bookmark   April 27, 2010 at 12:53PM
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LOL! Where's a thumbs up graphic when ya need one!

    Bookmark   April 27, 2010 at 2:10PM
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G&T's are my favorite!!!!! That picture looks enticing!
Lena, your advice is excellent. I'll be working on my "house smells" tonight :)

    Bookmark   April 27, 2010 at 2:21PM
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