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Odd citrus/wood/musty smell from walls

Posted by Johnny666 (My Page) on
Tue, Nov 26, 13 at 3:32


I recently purchased a home that's built in the mid 70's. I had it professionally cleaned before moving in.

After a few months I started to pick up on a weird chemically, woodsy smell on my towels and jackets, pretty much anything that touches a wall or door.

Co-workers at work confirmed this smell. Some say there is a hint of citrus (sharp), and woodsy. I think it also smell like chemicals.

I took some Clorox wipes to the door and walls and after a few vigorous swirls the wipes turn a slight brown/orange in color. I wadded up some wet toilet paper and wipe the walls, and it also get brownish - and the smell is on the paper.

The paint is glossy, but the doors are the cheap $20 hollow wood ones. You can't smell it on the wall or the door, but over time, the jackets and towels definitely pick it up.

Any clues? My friends think I'm crazy.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Odd citrus/wood/musty smell from walls

It sounds like the home had some serious cigarette smokers. That brown/orange color coming off the walls and doors is likely nicotine. The odor you are getting may be a combination of cleaners, deodorizers and years of cigarette smoke.

Some people will dishonestly mask these problems in a home they are selling by using deodorizers and basic cleaning. As you are likely finding out, it doesn’t work.

Getting rid of the odor is fairly extensive. It’s necessary to clean all surfaces with a trisodium phosphate solution or other cleaner. Then seal everything with Bin and paint. If cigarettes are your problem, it’s a big job to correct I’m sad to say. I hope I'm wrong!

Good luck,

This post was edited by mepop on Fri, Nov 29, 13 at 10:29

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