We are rehabing an old house. How do you get rid of smells?

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We have gutted out the washroom and kitchen, washed and painted all walls, bleached and power washed the basement walls. Still there is an offensive odor that we can't remove. Don't know if it's mold or something else. Any ideas?

  11 answers
  • Karen D Karen D on Dec 30, 2017
    OdoBan is wonderful on eliminating smells. It eats them instead of just covering them over.

  • Dfm Dfm on Dec 30, 2017
    do you have a sewer pipe leaking? Between the walls?

  • Sharon Sharon on Dec 30, 2017
    You need to identify the smell. Is it mold, is it sewage, is it a dirty smell, then you could hone in on the problem and address it. Ask other people to come into the house and sniff around.

  • Bob Bob on Dec 30, 2017
    Depends what the smell is as any empty building will smell if it has been unoccupied for a while. I would first heat the building up and follow my nose . Then do 2 things ,after checking for any leaks of water or sewage.first spray entire house with vinegar ( I know that sounds odd) then get hold of either Fullers earth ,thats a powder used in cosmetics ,look on the internet for that. or bicarbonate of soda which is the basis for commercial carpet cleaners. If you have any porous surfaces like plaster board (you may know it as sheetrock) paint them over .

  • Pat Petratos Pat Petratos on Dec 30, 2017
    I have had to put varnish on floors to stop years of cat urine smells it works great. But I would find the source of smell first

  • Karen D Karen D on Dec 30, 2017
    I got mine at Sam's Club. It is easy to use you dilute it with water. I think the reason it gets rid of odors is because it "eats" so much stuff (bacterial, viral, and fungal). They use this in nursing homes to keep them from smelling. I have used it around my house for years. I would google it and see how many places carry it in your area.

    • Yvonne Yvonne on Dec 30, 2017
      Sorry Karen but I don't see what you got at Sam's Club?? What is the product, or did i miss this entirely? :)

  • Sus29059564 Sus29059564 on Dec 30, 2017
    Thank you so much Karen

  • Karen D Karen D on Dec 30, 2017
    https://www.samsclub.com/sams/odoban-odor-eliminator-and-disinfectant-concentrate-cucumber-melon/prod4910267.ip Apparently there are many different odors now and lots of places that sell them Perhaps this link will help. I like the original.

  • 2dogal 2dogal on Dec 30, 2017
    Forget the DIY remedies and get Sure Shot Fogger Odor Neutralizer. It takes a very short time - follow directions. It gets into all the places you can't wash and seems to permeate the wood that picks up old odors.

  • Laura Cooper Laura Cooper on Sep 07, 2018

    Hi Sus, I see you are getting quite a variety of answers for this question. I used to manage apartments, so here are the techniques we used.


    First off, this could be urine that has absorbed into the subfloor. If this is the issue, the subfloor needs to be sealed with Kilz. Nothing will eliminate this short of removing the old subfloor. Kilz will seal it in and it will not come up into the room. Just be sure to seal ALL of it. If you miss any, it will be as if you didn't do it at all.


    Secondly, organic and inorganic odors that linger are actually molecules of the contaminant floating in the air and bonding to porous surfaces. Using an ozone machine actually bonds to these molecules and destroys them. Close up the house (or do it in sections). No people or animals should be present. Turn on the ozone on high for at least 2 hours. Leave house closed up for 24 hours if possible. Then open up and air out the ozone. Odor should be gone.

    Ozone machines can be rented.