You should start with the basics first; chances are, if you've reached the point of looking for help in terms of getting rid of sour house smells on the Internet, then you need to do some serious cleaning. Set aside a day, or a weekend, specifically for cleaning.
If you don't want to or you can't do it alone, enlist the help of those you live with. Perhaps you can also ask for your friends' help. Bribe them with pizza and beer or brochettes and wine if you have to. Afterwards, use the following suggestions to get rid of your house smell, and maintain a fresh, aromatic or at least breathable living space.
Sour House Smell Removal
* Dry out the living quarters first, and then clean out your basement so it is empty of anything that can hold moisture and run it down there as well. Remove cardboard boxes.
* If you have a forced air heating and cooling system with ducts on your home, get the ducts checked. Decades-old houses can have mold, lots of built-up of dirt and other nasty stuff that can cause a foul odor. Your ducts can also be rusting now, so you may need to have them changed.
The newer ducts available on the market today are much more energy efficient. You'll save air conditioning costs this summer by getting new ducts. You can also hire a company that cleans ducts to inspect the ducts you have right now. Some have a camera that can show you what is in your ducts. Be careful who you get! Use a reputable company and check with the Better Business Bureau. Ask them for references. Some only clean a short way and spray a deodorizer. The estimate to get your ducts cleaned can be hundreds of dollars less than getting new ones.
* Check your carpets. Sometimes carpets are steam cleaned unprofessionally and a lot of water remains. This causes mildewing and a related musty odor.
Remove your carpets and put in hardwood or similar type flooring, with area rugs that can be cleaned outside of the home and dried before returning to the area. If your carpets are ten years old, it doesn't hurt to remove them.
* You may have a mold of some sort growing in your carpet or behind your wallpaper. Create a bleach solution (1:10 to start, then up to 1: 4 if it does not work) and gently wash down all of your walls and mop boards. Rent a hot water carpet cleaner and put a bleach solution into the reservoir rather than the soap they try to sell you. Add a drop or two of dish soap, but add no more. It is the water that cleans, not the soap. Adding too much soap will actually make your carpet dirty because it does not rinse out of the carpet and soap bonds with dirt.
* Though chlorinated bleach is very notorious in discoloring a lot of things, you may risk using that for really heavy-smelling jobs, even on dark carpets. If you're still wary, there's always oxygen bleach. It kills "everything" that may be causing an odor and the hot water cleaning really helps allergies as well.
Keep babies off the rugs as breathing chemicals of any sort is especially bad for them. If the smell comes back more quickly than you think it should, get a dehumidifier.
* Never run a dehumidifier where you have an open window or you will dry out the immediate atmosphere of your home. An air conditioner actually works even better because of the filtering system in it, but if it is too cold where you live to still be using one, then stick with the dehumidifier.
* To rid your linoleum or hardwood floors of that not-so-fresh-smell, simply mix a 3: 1 solution of warm water and white vinegar in your mop bucket and get to work. Remember to crack a window or two. Vinegar has a good clean smell, but it's a strong one.
Sour House Smell Removing Products
* Buy a large pump of Febreze since it works on everything. Smelly hampers, sticky cars, sleeping bags that reek of camp fire … you name the smell, Febreze can quell. You can get it at most supermarkets.
Another idea is to use a citrus odor neutralizing spray; it's so effective that beauticians actually use this at salons to get rid of perm smell.
* An Ozone Generator or Air-born Hydrogen Peroxide Device can also work, but they tend to be expensive and may not get to the root of the problem. Covering or filtering odors is always more costly than eliminating their source.
* If you want something a little cheaper, you can try Ozium Air Freshener-it's the best way to keep the air in your home or work space clean and smelling fresh. Ozium does not cover up the odors associated with sour smelling houses – it eliminates them!
Ozium, the original air purifier, is a chemical agent that actually eliminates unpleasant odors and reduces airborne bacteria. Ozium actually cleanses the air through glycolized action. The Ozium glycolized formula acts directly on odor causing particles in the air.
* Electrostatic Air Filters are good for getting rid of dust buildup, but can be bad if they don't operate properly. Electrostatic air filters work by ionizing the air that passes through the filter, collecting dust from the air by creating an electrostatic field, like a comb collects particles after being run through dry hair quickly enough.
Why are electrostatic dust collectors be bad for you? If they don't operate properly, they can produce ozone, which is a respiratory irritant. So make sure you do your research before investing in one of these air filters.
* Try Renuzit, in any scent. If you can, try to find the Super Odor Killer scent. The fragrance in SOK (introduced in 1972) is not readily identifiable, because SOK uses a blend of perfumes left over when fragrance manufacturers produced a little too much for another company's orders.
This blend is not only good at masking a variety of odors, it can slightly be used at higher fragrance levels without overwhelming the user. The popular and more readily available Country Kitchen scent will also suffice.
* Fresh Wave has an array of all natural, non-toxic and earth friendly products for laundry, upholstery, floors and ventilation that are designed to attract, capture and neutralize sour house odors.
Sour House Smell Prevention
* The best way to stop sour house smell from building up is to clean as you go. Put things away as soon as you're done using them. Throw things away as soon you know you won't use them. Everyday maintenance is the key to a breathable, livable home.
Have a presence of mind when it comes to cleanliness. Create a small space for things to be donated and recycled and clear it out as soon as it gets full. Limit your storage space and "junk" drawers so you don't have the opportunity to just toss clutter in a closet and forget about it.
* People will tell you that the best way to get rid of mold – one of the main contributors of bad house odor – is to use an ionizing air purifier to help pull the pollutants and mold spores out of the air. Well, they're half right.
An air purifier isn't a bad idea for preventing mold growth, but those ionized air filters can cause health problems if they're not constructed properly. Sometimes if an ionizing air filter isn't built right, it will spit out ozone which, as scientists will tell you, is good for the atmosphere and bad for your lungs.
Serious complications can arise if you're using the wrong air purifier. Choose wisely and make sure you buy from a reputable company.