Why Does My Home Smell So Bad?

No-one likes to live in a stinky home. In most cases, unpleasant smells are a sign of something unhealthy – whether it be bacteria or mold. By finding the source as soon as you can, you can get rid of the smell and stop it from becoming a health hazard. 

There are so many different things that can cause a home to stink. This post explores some of the main causes and how to fix them. 

why does my home smells so bad

Obvious odor sources

First, it’s always worth considering some of the obvious odor sources. These include:

  • Garbage: Take any smelly garbage outside and make sure to regularly clean all bins. This is a common odor source.
  • Off-food: Check that no food in your kitchen is past its use-by-date. Be wary that food spillages can be a common cause too if not cleaned up.
  • Pets: Many pets can create a smell. Check that your pets aren’t dirty or ill, and make sure to regularly clean all pet equipment such as animal cags, dog beds and food bowls. 
  • Body odors: Smelly feet and bio could be the cause. Don’t be afraid to speak up when someone is starting to smell. Make sure that any dirty gym clothing or smelly shoes is also cleaned. 

Other sources to consider…


A musty smell is almost always due to mold growth and excess moisture. Mold can grow practically anywhere from on a damp towel to behind a wardrobe.

Basements and crawl spaces are a common hidden source of mold – check to see if this could be where the smell is coming from and hire a company such as Crawlspace Depot to remove any odor and moisture.

Bathrooms can also be a common place for mold to grow – check this entire room if you notice a smell, making sure to look behind bath panels and under sinks. 

Sewer gas

Sewer gas is a very unpleasant smell that is most likely to be smelt coming from a toilet or sink

If a toilet or sink isn’t used regularly, the p-trap can dry up and sewer gas can be allowed to pass through from the sewers into the house.

Sewer gas doesn’t just smell bad – it can be flammable – so you should hire a plumber to look at this straight away. This guide at The Spruce explains more. 


Many pests like mice and cockroaches can create a smell due to their urine, droppings and pheromones.

A smell will usually be accompanied by other warning signs such as sounds in the walls, chew marks, visible dropping or sightings of pests themselves. Call a pest control service if you think you may have a pest problem.

Dirty appliances

Many appliances can start to smell over time if not given a thorough clean. Washing machines can develop mold, dishwashers can develop build-ups of food waste and refrigerators may become smelly due to spillages.

You may be able to clean these appliances yourself – if you’re not sure where exactly it’s coming from, consider hiring an appliance technician to take a look.

Crummy carpets

Carpets can attract dirt, mold and food waste over time. Vacuuming may not always be enough to get rid of these contaminants, consider using a carpet cleaning machine on your carpets to see if this makes a difference.

Alternatively, if your carpets are very old, consider whether it’s time to replace them. 

A dead animal?

Animals ranging from birds to rodents can get into homes and may end up dying there. They’re likely to cause a stench while decomposing.

If there’s a strong smell coming from your attic or from inside a wall, consider whether it may be a dead animal.

Leave a Comment