Removing unpleasant odors can be one of the most challenging issues in a home. Some odors are easily recognizable ie. cigarette smoke, but removing them can take a lot more work than most people usually expect.
The first principle for odor removal is to identify what the odor is. Once the nature of the odor is identified that should give you some idea of where to find it. Once you find the source then you can start to remove it. For example:
Cigarette smoke – removing the residual cigarette odor from a weekend guest is a lot easier than cleaning up after a habitual smoker. Cleaning up a room/property lived in by a long term smoker is a difficult job. The cigarette smoke contains many oils and tars that coat surfaces, get into light fixtures, behind outlet covers, get into hvac ducts and can actually penetrate into the surface of drywall. All that residue needs to be removed with special cleaning agents. Simply painting over it will not work. The oils and odors will leach back through very quickly.
Pet urine – this can be particularly difficult to deal with. Finding the urine spots generally requires using a UV light to find them. The thing that makes urine difficult to deal with is that its chemical nature changes with time. So removing fresh urine is a different process than removing old urine. When pets urinate on carpet the urine can go through the carpet into the carpet pad. Depending on the type and age of the carpet pad it may go through that too into the wooden floor itself. This could mean that to deal with the odor properly the carpet may have to be lifted and the pad replaced and then the carpet can be treated. That would be a last resort situation though.
Dead Animals – the odor from a dead animal is unmistakable and is very pervasive. However, it can be simple to remove. Assuming it can be found. An animal that dies in a crawlspace or attic is much easier to deal with than one inside a wall cavity. How you deal with the odor will depend on the state of decomposition and where it is located. Generally the area affected is quite small.
Some sports equipment can simply be thrown in the washer but expensive shoes and things like football helmets cant be treated as simply. There are wet cleaning methods that can be used but often times an ozone treatment is sufficient to neutralize the offensive odor. Until they are worn again… Ozone is a good end of season treatment for sports equipment before it gets put into storage for the next season.
Sports equipment – we all love our kids and want them to enjoy playing sports and do well at it. But their shoes and equipment can stink something awful! I know many sports parents who have a ‘Don’t take your shoes off in the car!’ rule. And when the season is over that sports bag with its noxious contents gets thrown in the back of the closet waiting for some brave individual to deal with it!