Pet odorsThe two most common sources of difficult and offensive odors are pets and cigarettes; neither of which, Gupta says, is easy to remediate.
The point might seem obvious, but the first line of defense in any smelly situation is to remove the source of the problem, even if that means a beloved pet must board elsewhere for a while.
"It's kind of cruel," Gupta says, "but if the pet is in the house, you're introducing new odor every day. For people who have pets, over time, it's a losing battle to get rid of the odor."
Cat urine, among the worst of the bad odors, can seep into carpet fibers, carpet padding, concrete and wood floors, upholstery fabrics, and furniture cushions and pillows.
"Oftentimes," he says, "you have to remove the carpet, remove the pad and seal the floor, and then replace the carpet and the pad."
Cleaning the carpet might help. But Gupta warns that any humidity will raise the odor from the padding or floor beneath.
No smokingCigarette smoke can cling to furnishings, drapes and other window coverings and work its way inside walls. Some topically applied solutions can help to reduce the stench, but an ozone generator, or air scrubber should be more effective, Gupta says. These approaches are "very effective in absorbing odors," he says, though there is no guarantee that an odor can be eliminated completely.
One more tip: If someone suffers a long illness or dies in a home, a good airing may be adequate to remove any odors. In the case of a violent death, however, professionals who handle what's known as "trauma cleanup" should be called to do the job. The cost could be $1,000 or more depending on the type of remediation and the square footage.
"It's not like buying glass cleaner in a store and cleaning your windows," Gupta says. "If you have that type of situation, it's probably best to call a professional. It may be traumatic for you to do it yourself."