Some fresh air, sunshine, water may rid a home of pesky odors


December 05, 1992|By Gene Austin | Gene Austin,Knight-Ridder News Service

Q: I recently bought my first house. The former owner smoked and had pets, which left a lot of odors. What can I do?

Q: The bathroom in a home we recently bought has strong odors that we haven't been able to eliminate. Any suggestions?

A: In general, the best bets for removing odors from buildings are fresh air, sunshine and water.

I'd start by ventilating the areas thoroughly, using fans if possible to pull fresh air in and expel stale air. It may be necessary to allow the room to ventilate for several days to make a significant difference. Open doors of closets to promote air flow.

Remove drapes and blinds to allow sunlight to penetrate.

Clean all surfaces suspected of harboring odors, including floors and walls. Use disinfectant cleaners that are designed to help control odors.

Some pet stores and veterinarians also sell heavy-duty cleaners and odor absorbents. One highly rated product line for controlling odors from pets and other sources is made by Nil'Odor, Box 660, Bolivar, Ohio 44612 ((800) 443-4321). These products range from sprays and carpet cleaners to wick-type absorbents.

Some absorbent materials that are obvious sources of odors, such as carpets and drapes, are best replaced if odors persist.

Wood flooring that has absorbed odorous material and cannot be scrubbed clean must sometimes be sanded, then refinished. In extreme cases, flooring might have to be replaced.

Readers' questions and comments should be sent to Gene Austin, c/o The Baltimore Sun, Box 8263, Philadelphia, Pa. 19101.

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