How to Get Rid of Permeating Smells in Your Rental Unit

By Aidan Cannon on December 28, 2023

For many tenants, one of the most exciting things about having their own apartment is getting to entertain others. Whether they’re inviting lifelong friends over or trying to make a good first impression on a special someone, they want their space clean and presentable. While many facets of apartment cleanliness are tangible, immediately visible, and easy to rectify, there’s one that can require a bit more effort to fix: smell. When we inhabit a space for too long, our body goes through a process called sensory adaptation, which leads to us no longer processing certain information, such as repetitive sounds or pesky odors. When an apartment has a bad odor, guests will be assaulted by it as soon as they enter the door. Thankfully, there are a variety of methods and products you and your renters can use to cleanse a rental unit of permeating odors. Use this guide to keep noxious smells out of your rentals.

Image from Pixabay.

Before all else, air out the apartment

There are so many products marketed at us every day claiming they can eradicate smells from an apartment. While that may be the case, you might be able to save yourself a little money if you do something else first: air the apartment out. Sometimes, the air in our spaces just gets a little musty or stale and can be refreshed by cycling new air in from the outdoors. Open all the windows in the unit, and any doors that lead outside. Leave them open for a few hours, allowing all the smells that have been lurking in the apartment to filter out. After you have closed the apartment back up again, it may be beneficial to leave for a bit so your nose can forget what the space used to smell like. When you return, you’ll be able to evaluate whether or not the odor has been eradicated, as your nose won’t have adapted to your new environment yet.

Take out the trash

Sometimes, the most obvious answer is the correct one. If you’re dealing with a stubborn smell in an apartment, make sure the trash is empty. It’s highly likely that that will solve the problem, on account of the odor being linked to the trash bin. The trash bin provides a perfect environment for odors to proliferate, given it’s generally a mixture of waste products and half-eaten food, which can continue to go bad far after one has forgotten about it. Remind tenants to stick to a consistent schedule when it comes to taking out the trash, as it will help prevent you from having to deal with any persistent pungent smells in the future after they move out of the unit.

Clean the apartment

While the trash might be the best place to start when scouring an apartment for the source of smells, it’s not always the culprit. Sometimes, a unit will require a deeper cleaning. The smell may be emanating from an area that doesn’t see regular maintenance, resulting in a nasty olfactory buildup. Especially after a tenant moves out, execute a deep clean of the place, scrubbing down every surface, wall, nook and cranny. This should also include a thorough scrubbing of the kitchen to eliminate any food waste. Empty the fridge, freezer, and cabinets so they may be cleaned, and you may find spoiled food as well. A successful deep clean will most likely reveal the odor’s source in an apartment.

Buy a candle/air freshener

If all else fails, or you get rid of the smell and want to replace it with something more pleasant, buy a candle. Candles hold a variety of fun scents perfect for any time of the year, and double as fun decor for a space, which can be nice when you’re showing the apartment to prospective renters. If you don’t want to have an open flame burning in your rental, you can purchase air fresheners. These typically come in cans so you can spray them around the place, but in recent years companies have released scent diffusers you can set up anywhere. Some even plug into electrical outlets, which can be perfect for particularly stinky areas like bathrooms.

Getting rid of persistent odors in an apartment unit can be a pain! Sometimes it seems finding the source of the smell is impossible. Luckily, there are many avenues to investigate and solutions to try if you find yourself battling with unwanted aromas in your rental. Use this guide to help find where smells are coming from and eliminate them from your units.

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