How to Eliminate / Get Rid of Stinky Odors

by AngelaJohnson

Some odors smell bad for a while and then go away. But bacteria feed on certain substances like pet urine, vomit, etc,. and the smell won't go away until you clean up the source.

Sometimes you can get rid of bad odors by opening windows, turning on a fan, spraying air fresheners, burning candles, etc.

Some odors are easily identified and you know what's causing them, but you may have to do some investigative work to find the cause and location of smells embedded in carpet, flooring, vents, and other places.

And sometimes NOTHING works to get rid of the stinky odor, especially with carpet and carpet pads. The only solution is to take them up and throw them out.

Getting Rid of Gas (Fart) Smells

stinky skunk signFlatulence (farting) is partly caused by fermentation. Food particles that aren't absorbed in the intestines end up in your colon, where bacteria ferments it and creates gas.  The gas odor depends the types of food and bacteria you have in your colon. 

 What causes gas in one person may not be a problem for someone else.


Foods such as cauliflower, eggs, meat, corn, bell peppers, cabbage, milk, bread, beer, and raisins usually cause smelly farts.

Beans produce large amounts of gas but don't usually smell bad. 


You may not always know what foods make you have gas.  Gas is usually produced within four hours of eating, so eat only one or two types of food at each meal and then see if they affect you.  Keep a food diary until you can identify all your gas-producing foods.

Gas can also be caused by swallowing air.  Try to eat more slowly, don't talk while you're eating, and don't chew gum or drink carbonated beverages. 

If you can't avoid eating foods that affect you, try an over-the-counter gas control product.  Since we're all different, what works for one person may not work for another, but over time, you can try several different brands and find the one that works for you.

Photo by Roadsidepictures on flickr

Getting Rid of Stinky Shoe Smell

old shoesStinky shoe odor is caused by bacteria. Our feet are covered with sweat glands and when our shoes are damp and dark inside, bacteria appear to feed on sweat and dead skin cells from our feet.  The bacteria's waste product causes the bad smell.


Wash your feet often; especially in between your toes.

 Let your bare feet air out without wearing socks or slippers.

 Wear cotton socks since cotton "breathes" more than most materials. There are also socks made of newer materials that "wick away" moisture.

 Let your shoes dry out completely before you wear them again.   If you can, remove the insoles, too.

 Get two pairs of shoes and wear each pair every other day. This gives the shoes a longer time to dry out.

 Sprinkle baking soda in your shoes and leave them overnight. Baking soda helps draw moisture out of the insoles and make the shoes smell better. Tap out the powder before wearing your shoes.

 Put your shoes out in the sun - sunshine is a great deodorizer. 


Foott and Shoe Odor Fighting Products

Mini Moso Natural Air Purifying Bags. Naturally Absorbs Odors in Shoes, Gym Bags, Backpacks, and ...

Moso air purifying bags, made of linen and filled with bamboo charcoal, absorb unpleasant odors and dehumidify the air. The porous structure of the high density bamboo charcoal ...

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Dr. Scholl's Odor-X Odor Fighting Insoles, 1-Pair Packages (Pack of 4)

Concentrated layer of ultra-effective activated charcoal absorbs and neutralizes unpleasant odors. Insoles absorb perspiration to keep feet fresh, dry and comfortable all day. D...

$17.99  $15.68

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On Your Toes Foot Bactericide Powder - Eliminates Foot Odor for Six Months, 21 grams (One Pack)

Why bother with messy daily use of creams when one safe, simple treatment of On Your Toes will eliminate odor for OVER six months or your money back! On Your Toes' unique "Micro...

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Getting Rid of Pet Urine Odor

catMale cat urine usually smells the worst because they have a high protein diet and testosterone in their urine.  Urine from female cats has the next strongest smell and then dog urine.  

And older animals' urine smells bad because their kidneys don't filter as well as when they were younger.

It's hard to get rid of the smell of pet urine in a carpet. Most of the urine sinks into the pad and subfloor where cleaners can't reach. If you can't totally remove the urine, bacteria feeds on it and the smell keeps returning.

Citrus and disinfectant air freshener sprays can help for a while, but the smell returns if you haven't removed the urine.

Don't use vinegar to try to clean up urine; at least not at first. Vinegar sets stains; just like when you use it to to set the dye in cloth or Easter eggs. 

An ammonia solution can clean up a urine stain, but not the odor. You can try vinegar afterwards, and the combination may neutralize the odor.

If you don't discover the urine when it's fresh, you'll have a hard time finding where the smell is coming from. 

Professionals cleaners use blacklights to locate the urine.  Blacklights can be used to find human and animal bodily fluids, even if dry

 Photo by bandvela on Pixabay.

Get Rid of Tobacco Smoke Odor

cigarette buttsIf you have smoked for many years or move into a place where a smoker previously lived, you'll have to do quite a bit of work to get rid of the smell.

If you don't want to do it yourself, use the services of a home disaster company. 


~~  Open all your windows and air out the house as often as you can.  

 ~~ Use window fans if you have them, making sure they suck the air out of the room and outdoors..

 ~~ Use a dehumidifier.  Since cigarette smoke is sticky, any moisture that mixes with it causes it to smell more. 

 ~~ Clean or throw out your drapes and window blinds.  Clean your windows and screens.

 ~~ Clean your ceilings and walls to remove the nicotine.  Also, use a primer like Kilz of Bulls Eye before you paint.  If you don't take these steps, the nicotine will just bleed through the paint.  Make sure the ceiling and wall surfaces are COMPLETELY DRY before priming and painting. 

~~ Clean your light fixtures, including the light bulbs.  Clean or replace your electrical outlet covers.

 ~~ Wash windows, both sides of doors, and door frames.  

 ~~ Check your closets to see if they smell of smoke. 

~~ If your bathroom smells of smoke, clean it thoroughly.  If you have tile, clean the grout well and seal it. If you have an exhaust fan, take it apart and clean it or replace it.  

~~ Furnace/Air Conditioning - Replace filters and clean the registers and vents.   


NOTE:  Make sure you have plenty of ventilation so the cleaning fumes don't bother you and also so your ceiling and walls will dry faster.  If you have fans, run them to circulate air in the room(s).


UPHOLSTERED FURNITURE -  Mix 50/50 water and clear ammonia and lightly mist the cushions, etc.  Or spray on Febreze or use an upholstery cleaner. 

WOOD FURNITURE - Take a damp cloth with a small amount of cleaner and wipe the wood.  Follow with a clean damp cloth moistened with water.  Don't soak the wood.

CARPET - Sprinkle baking soda on your carpet and leave on at least overnight.  Vacuum and then shampoo.  Make sure you let your carpet thoroughly dry.  Open windows or run fans.

NOTE:  Our walls, ceilings, furniture, floors, carpets, etc. are all not made of the same materials. So try a cleaner on a small area first to see if it cleans well.   Also make sure the cleaner won't cause staining on upholstered or wood furniture.

 Photo from flickr creative commons.

Air Sanitizer and Personal Air Filter

Ozium Glycol-Ized Professional Air Sanitizer / Freshener Original Scent, 3.5 oz. aerosol (OZM-1)

Ozium aerosol air sanitizer / freshener will effectively eliminate bad odors anywhere it's sprayed. Each use will release a pleasant fragrance that kills odor-causing bacteria a...

Only $7.99

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Smoke Buddy - Personal Air Filter/ Purifier Brand New - Blue

Eliminates smoke and odors Brand New - Includes Smoke Buddy Keychain Convenient and compact for travel and storing discreetly /Travel Caps Included Lasts Up to 2 Months Color: Blue

$15.89  $14.01

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Getting Rid of Bathroom Smells

The Stinky Smell of Poop

toilet with flushIt's normal for your poop to have an unpleasant odor.  Anytime you eat food you don't normally eat, your poop may look and smell different. This usually only lasts until the food clears your digestive system.

Usually, poop smells worse if you eat foods or drink liquids with many artificial flavors or chemicals in them. Try eating more natural foods to reduce the bad smell.

Often, when you eat foods with spices, the spices aren't digested and add to the odor of poop. People who eat a vegetarian diet produce poop with less odor than those who eat large amounts of meat.



A quick way to get rid of a bad bathroom odor is to strike a couple of matches.  Let them burn for several seconds, blow them out, and wave the burnt matches around in the air.  The sulfurous smell from the match striking and the smoke will cover up the bad odor.  Be sure to run water over the matches before you discard them.

A bathroom exhaust fan helps eliminate odors, but you'll want to make sure yours is clean and vents properly or it won't do the job.  And you'll need to leave the door partially open so fresh air can be brought into the bathroom.

Scented candles in the bathroom are nice, but some people are allergic to certain scents, so you may want to burn unscented ones instead.  But be aware of safety; make sure the candle is out of reach of children and that you don't place it near a curtain of other object that might catch fire. And if you think anyone will use hair spray or other aerosol, don't burn candles.

Solid room air fresheners or air fresheners that plug into electrical outlets may keep the bathroom smelling nice, but won't work to eliminate an especially strong odor.  And it can be hard to find a scent that everyone can tolerate.  People with asthma or allergies often have reactions to strong scents.

You can leave a can of spray air freshener sitting on the back of the toilet or on the sink counter for you and your guests to use at their discretion. Most air fresheners only cover up odors rather than eliminate them, but they work for the short term.

Another option to eliminating poop odors are products like Poo-Pourri or Just A Drop that you spray / drop into the toilet water BEFORE you go. These products create a film over the water to trap odors under the surface.   You can order these products from Amazon (see below).


Photo from Wikipedia

Toilet Odor Eliminators

Keep Handy in Your Bathroom or Carry With You
Poo-Pourri Before-You-Go Toilet Spray 8-Ounce Bottle, Original

Some say the secret to a happy relationship is separate bathrooms, but those people have never tried Poo~Pourri, the classy, sassy, ultra effective way to leave the bathroom sme...

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Just A Drop Toilet Personal Odor Reducer and Neutralizer - 6 Ml 3 Pack travel size

1/2 the size of the Daily Use bottle. With over 200 uses per bottle your bathroom will always stay fresh, no matter where you are. Natural eucalyptus scent.

Only $14.99

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Get Rid of the Awful Smell of Vomit

mop and bucketYuck!  Vomit smells terrible and the smell can linger on for days.

If someone vomits on the floor, you need to mop it up QUICKLY, especially if the vomit is on a wooden floor. Wood is porous, and the liquid from the vomit is absorbed quickly, making it hard to get rid of the smell. Use a mop, old rags, paper towels or any material that will absorb the liquid of the vomit.  

If vomit has been absorbed into couch cushions or carpeting, scrub it off with a brush or a sponge. Dry the area under the sun, or use a warm hair dryer or portable heater.

To remove the vomit odors you can try:

Strong-scented soap.

Pet odor removal soaps.

Mix shampoo and conditioner together.

Mix vinegar and water together and add a few drops of liquid soap.

Or buy SCOE 10X, an Odor Eliminator that works by destroying the bacteria's food source.

Use SCOE 10X for Urine, Feces, Vomit, Pet Odor, Rotting Garbage, Perspiration, Skunk, and more. It's guaranteed to work.   Read the reviews here.


Photo of mop and bucket by Karen on Flickr Creative Commons.  


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Updated: 08/14/2016, AngelaJohnson
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Mira on 11/12/2014

These are great tips. I learned quite a few things.

I was expecting to find candles for tobacco smell as well. That's what I used at one point, and while it didn't completely remove the tobacco odor, it did seem to work to a great extent.

DerdriuMarriner on 11/12/2014

burntchestnut, Your article pinpoints the odor culprits. I like that your suggestions are completely doable.

Telesto on 09/25/2014

Yes, I can vouch for the difficulties in getting rid of cat urine smells. I have a steam cleaner, which is pretty good. Good article, thank you.

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