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If You Can Smell It, You Can’t Sell It

By May 3, 2016March 7th, 2018No Comments
don't cry over smells

House smells can be offensive to some. Eventually, we adapt to the smells of our home and we don’t even notice them anymore. Unfortunately though when you are ready to put your house on the market, if you have odors or other smells in your house that linger, it can very well be a turn off to potential buyers. So how and where do you attack the smells so they are non-existent without sprays, candles and other artificial air deodorizers?


If you have animals you can guarantee you have pet odors. I love Fido too but when selling you have to be conscious that not everyone loves animals or their odors. If you have pets, you need to be fastidious with grooming. Clean pets smell less. The areas where they relax also need to be considered. Vacuum, vacuum, vacuum, and vacuum again; every surface your pet chooses to relax on and in; they retain lingering smells that need to be addressed. Hair, slobber, litter boxes, excretions etc. all contribute to the collective smells. If you have animals that are not bathed or groomed that live in cages, their “homes” will need to be cleaned daily also to keep the odors at bay when you are selling. Neutralizing the odors can be done by cleaning with a simple solution of ½ vinegar ½ water. Washing bedding with baking soda and regular detergent can also help neutralize the tell tail odors of pets.



The musty smell that can be a turn off to buyers. Check for mildew and mold on surfaces of items stored in this area. Mildew is usually gray or white, if it’s fuzzy it’s mold, neither are desirable when you are selling. Clean the surface that has it with 1 part bleach 4 part water. If you are able to let light into the area do so. Also, run a dehumidifier to continue to keep the air dry and the moisture at bay. Eliminate and reduce house smells by using bowls of vinegar, or baking soda, or even kitty litter (provided you do not have a cat that might use) to remove the lingering smells.


I get the question quite often, will buyers open my fridge/freezer? Of course, they are looking to see if your house is a good investment and are scoping out the product they might purchase. Therefore expect buyers to open your fridge, but make sure when they do they are not met with a cloud of air that smells of lingering food. Clean out your fridge of its entire contents and wash all surfaces with a solution of ½ vinegar and ½ water add an open box of baking soda to absorb any odors that could occur. Anything that has been in the fridge that is expired throwout, any food that is over 3 days old throw out, and maintains the interior of the fridge throughout the selling period of the house. Same goes for cooking while your house is on the market, do not cook items that produce a strong odor before a showing, if you are craving those types of foods, go out and have them.



Ensure there are no lingering odors, start by cleaning ALL the bedding first. This will neutralize any house smells. If you can not eliminate the orders then it is time to purchase new. Sprinkle your mattress with baking soda and let it sit a while to absorb odors, then vacuum. If your bedding is old or not in the best condition, invest in something new, the nice thing with bedding is that it goes with you when you move; so treat yourself and invest in something beautiful. I also suggest that this is a great time to replace old pillows with new fluffy pillows to make a relaxing statement to buyers. Again it all moves with you so invest in something you like.

Addressing just these four areas can make a significant difference in the air quality of your home. Start with these and have an objective friend or family member stop by for a sniff, if odors still linger, keep cleaning!

Karen GP

Author Karen GP

Karen GrayPlaisted is the principle owner of Design Solutions KGP. She is a graduate from Pace University and The Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC. Her marketing background and design sense are a perfect combination for home sellers. In the first year she began her staging business, she won the ‘Rising Star’ accolade from RESA, selected from all North American stagers, USA and Canada. In 2016 she won top Occupied Stager in the USA. Karen’s ability to educate and empower clients using simple solutions allows homeowners to transform their spaces with desirable affordable decadence.

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