Consumer Reports

How to Fight Funky Household Odors

Consumer Reports offers tips on how to find odd smells and fix them

NBC Universal, Inc.

It happens to all of us from time to time: We search high and low to find where a yucky smell is coming from. Is it the trash can? The refrigerator? The bathroom drain? Whatever's causing it, you want it gone.

This is where Consumer Reports comes in with some easy ways to find and fight those funky odors.

For starters, excess detergent and fabric softener can build up in your washer, and it can become a smelly haven for mold and mildew, so always measure your detergent and fabric softener. And when a wash cycle is finished, remove damp clothing right away. Wipe down the door gasket and leave the door open if there are no small children around so the machine can dry out. 

Your kitchen can harbor some strange odors, of course. When Consumer Reports asked dishwasher owners whether they cleaned their machine’s filter, most said they weren’t aware there was a filter. A dirty filter smells bad and prevents the dishwasher from cleaning as effectively. Cleaning it is easy. Twist out the filter, gently wash it under running water, then put it back. Don't neglect to sponge out the corners and floor of the machine, too.

On to the fridge: Spills can leak into the bins and crevices in the shelves. Remove them and soak them in warm soapy water. Use a solution of a tablespoon of bleach in a gallon of water to wipe down and sanitize the inside of the fridge.

Another source of mysterious smells could be the garbage disposal. To freshen the drainpipe, layer in six ice cubes inside the disposal, then add a tablespoon of baking soda, three lemon slices, a teaspoon of bleach, and six more ice cubes. Rinally, grind it, rinse, and enjoy the non-aroma.

Always be sure to run water when using a garbage disposal in order to keep it from getting gunked up in the first place.

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