How to Get Rid of a Stale Smell

A stale smell can develop in many areas of your home including an attic, basement, closets or even your kitchen. Many things can cause stale smells including old clothes, expired food, trash cans and general dust buildup.

Make sure to clean and keep up with cleaning places such as attics to prevent smell.

If you have a stale smell plaguing an area of your home, combat the smell and get your home smelling fresh once again.

  1. Remove any trash from the area. If you are working with a closet, clean out any old clothes and wash garments you wish to keep. If working with a storage space throw away any trash and make sure items are clean and placed in sealable plastic bins. Cleanliness is key when removing a stale smell so start by working with a cleaned area.

  2. Fill a spray bottle with 2 cups each of white vinegar and warm water and spray over hard surfaces including walls, windows, fixtures, flooring and counters in the area. Let solution sit for 10 minutes then wipe and repeat one more time. Vinegar kills bacteria, removes grime and neutralizes stale odors.

  3. Trickle a layer of baking soda over carpets and upholstery. Let baking soda sit for a couple of hours and then vacuum it up. If the stale smell is extreme, let the baking soda sit overnight and then vacuum it up. Do this three times a week for two weeks for really strong odors.

  4. Put a dehumidifier in the area for three days. This will get rid of moisture in the air that could be contributing to the smell. It will also suck in stale air, neutralize it and blow it out fresh. If the area tends to get stale air easily, consider leaving the dehumidifier in the area permanently to fight any future stale odors.

  5. Tip

    Keep the area clean to prevent stale odors from returning. Set up a weekly cleaning ritual of vacuuming and wiping down surfaces, as well as removing any trash that builds up. If you allow the area to get dirty, stale smells will return. For an effective air freshener, take a small cloth and pour baking soda in the center, then add three or four drops of your favorite scented oil or a sprinkle of your favorite dried herb. Tie the cloth up into a small satchel and place in a draws, closets and at the bottom of bins or trash cans to help keep areas smelling fresh.