Get Rid of the Stink in a House, Apartment or Commercial Property

A Realtor's Worst Enemy: Unpleasant Odors

Let's face it; a house, apartment, or office that smells won't lease or sell. Even if you've got brand-new appliances, lovely landscaping, and sparkling windows, realtors and property managers will have trouble getting prospects to spend more than two minutes viewing your property if it reeks.

A professional restoration company can help you eliminate that stench and any potentially lingering health risks from what's causing it. Key culprits include pet urine, cigarette smoke, fire damage, mold or even rodent carrion or dead bugs. While the property owner may have become “immune” to certain smells, the moment potential buyers or tenants enter, they become disinterested.

In houses, apartments, or commercial properties, persistent odors might lead to:

  • Complaints from neighbors
  • Pest invasion
  • Negative feedback from customers.
  • Loss of present and prospective tenants
  • Brand name damage
  • Disputes or lawsuits
  • Decreased property values

Therefore, you should get rid of anything that gives off an overpowering smell before an exhibition or open house. There are many ways to eliminate odors, so your property doesn't continue to smell like a dump site.

There are some odor issues that can be addressed using the do-it-yourself (DIY) route. However, serious issues, and persistent smells will require the services of a professional restoration company. Here are suggestions for eliminating the most unpleasant odors.

Pet Odors

Pet odors are among the top odors that turn off buyers or lead to legal trouble. In particular, the smell of cat pee is so offensive and lingering that some have even sued prior homeowners for failing to disclose it.

Getting rid of any pet beds and keeping everything clean and organized may help conceal the odor during open houses, but it will likely return after the buyers move in.

To eliminate the stink, utilize sprays containing enzymes that disintegrate odor molecules. The secret is to cover the stain with the enzyme solution and let it soak into the rug and flooring. But if that is not successful, you might have to throw the rug away or replace a portion of the flooring.

Because cats and pups are habitual creatures, they always do their business in just one area, so changing just that section of the flooring might work.

Enzymes work briefly, but the smell returns? Or is ripping out the flooring is not an option? It is definitely time to call in a professional restoration team. This crew will use state-of-the-art equipment to cleanse and disinfect affected areas and can even deploy a professional air scrubber to purify the air.


Smoke is commonly listed in real estate feedback surveys as one of the most unpleasant odors to potential residents. Not everyone can ignore the lingering aroma of cigars or cigarettes. If possible, the first step is to try to get some fresh air circulating in the home. Additionally, if the current owners are still on-site, insist that when they smoke, try to do so as far away from the house as possible to get the smell out of the property each time before candidates arrive.

Another source of smoke odor is fire damage. The smell is brought on by minute particles that stick to your clothes, upholstery, walls, and other belongings. If you wash with baking soda or activated charcoal and use an air freshener, you might be able to mask or lessen the odor.

Unfortunately, getting rid of the odor completely is difficult. You may have to hire the services of professional cleaners to get rid of the smell of smoke from carpet, mattresses, and upholstery. A professional restoration company can recommend the steps you should take and help to coordinate these actions with the property owner or tenant’s insurance.


If your home has mold issues, it will probably smell musty. You can prevent mildew and mold growth by keeping indoor humidity lower than 60 percent These include using a humidifier, opening windows for cross-ventilation, and turning on bathroom fans to eliminate moisture after showers.

However, you might need to hire an expert to help you thoroughly deal with the home or office’s mold issue. Read these tips for what to do if you find mold in a property you are buying or selling. Mold is difficult to eradicate because even trace amounts of spore remain might lead to a recurrence of the problem. Fixing plumbing issues to stop water damage is also a key part of a mold prevention project.

Other sources of odors in a home or commercial property include cooking smells (always advise the property owners against using spices rich in aroma while preparing food the day before a viewing); lingering garbage (clean cans before discarding them); and a dirty kitchen sink (deodorize your grinder and check your garbage disposal and drain for stuck decaying junk).

Rodent Carrion or Dead Bugs

Dealing with a potential rodent or bug infestation, or the remains of one, is not something to tackle DIY. It is highly recommended to hire professionals to do-it-for-you. The first step is hiring a restoration company to remove any dead animal carrion or insects safely and sanitarily. They can also advise whether they feel the space is at risk of animals or bugs attempting to reinhabit. The restoration team will likely have a trusted a pest control specialist or exterminator contact to recommend.

Bio Hazard Clean-Up

While less likely, there may be a situation during your real estate career in which a property requires bio hazard clean-up, along with odor mitigation. The potential for handling biohazardous waste requires careful, and expert attention, along with extremely strict adherence to safety protocols. Attempting to deal with this type of work yourself could lead to the spread of biological contaminants and/or connected bacteria or viruses.

  • Professional restoration companies provide cleanup and containment of:
  • Crime scenes
  • Deaths in the home or business
  • Animal infestations
  • Hoarding situations
  • Meth and other drug labs
  • Feces removal
  • Human decomposition
  • Trauma scenes

Restoration professionals can help you work with your insurance company to determine if your situation is covered and to communicate and coordinate with them throughout the claim process. Many policies cover our services in the cases of accidental death or suicide.


Unpleasant odors in an apartment, house or commercial property can lead to various problems. Learning how to get rid of odors is important. If you oversee rental properties, conducting routine inspections to ensure proper use of the space, and offering free or discounted professional cleaning packages to tenants can be a great tactic. If you are a realtor helping owners sell their house or buy their new dream home, one of the fastest ways to fix an odor problem is partnering with a professional restoration company.

For help with your cleaning needs, including water damage, fire damage, and mold removal, consider STOP Restoration. Our independently owned and operated franchise locations span across the United States. The owners and their team of expert employees will be glad to help. CLICK HERE to get in contact with STOP Restoration today.