Eliminating Odors: A Guide to Deodorizing a Hoarder House
When considering buying or investing in a hoarder house, it's important to keep in mind that the property may come with a variety of unpleasant odors. These can range from pet urine and feces, to spoiled food, and mold. These odors can not only be overwhelming, but they can also be a red flag for potential health hazards and costly repairs.
In this blog post, we will provide you with valuable information on identifying and eliminating common sources of odors in a hoarder house. This will help you to assess the true condition of the property and make an informed decision when buying or investing in a hoarder house.
Uncovering the Root of the Problem: Common Sources of Odors in Hoarder Houses
Common sources of odors in hoarder houses include pet urine and feces, spoiled food, mold, and mildew. Pet urine and feces can be particularly difficult to remove and can leave behind strong odors. Spoiled food can also contribute to unpleasant smells, especially if it has been left in the house for an extended period of time.
Mold and mildew thrive in damp and humid environments, which can be common in hoarder houses, and can emit musty and earthy odors. Other sources of odors may include cigarette smoke, chemicals, and even garbage that has been left to accumulate over time.
Now that you have a little knowledge of what might be causing the odors, it will be easier to track down the source or sources.
Tracking Down the Smell: Identifying the Source of Odors in Hoarder Houses
Identifying the source of the odor is crucial for effectively eliminating it. Without knowing where the odor is coming from, it can be difficult to determine the best course of action for removing it.
Start by walking through the house and taking note of any strong odors. Pay attention to areas that have a high concentration of clutter, as these are more likely to be the source of the odor. Look for signs of moisture or mold, as these can also contribute to unpleasant smells.
Tips for identifying specific odors:
- Pet urine and feces have a distinctive smell that can be difficult to miss. Look for signs of pet accidents, such as stains or discoloration, and pay attention to areas where pets are known to spend time.
- Spoiled food has a sour or rancid smell that can be easily identified. Look for spoiled or rotting food in the kitchen and other areas of the house.
- Mold and mildew have a musty or earthy smell. Check for visible mold growth and look for signs of moisture, such as water stains or peeling paint.
- Other odors, such as cigarette smoke or chemicals, can be identified by their distinct smell.
Using a professional odor detection service can be a useful option, especially if you are having trouble identifying the source of the odor. They are trained in detecting and identifying odors and can provide you with a detailed report of the results and recommendations for removing them.
Now that we've identified the sources of odors in hoarder houses, it's time to take action. Next, we will be discussing various methods for eliminating odors, including cleaning and sanitizing, deodorizing products and methods, professional odor removal services, and maintaining a fresh living space.
It's important to keep in mind that while eliminating odors is an important step in making a hoarder house livable again, it's crucial to address any underlying issues that may be contributing to the odor such as moisture or mold.
Taking Action: Eliminating Odors in Hoarder Houses
Once the source of the odor has been identified, the first step in eliminating it is to remove all of the larger debris. If the home is in really bad shape you might have to rent a dumpster. For a full hoarder cleanup check out this post.
Once the home is cleaned of garbage or clutter in more minor hoarding cases, you can start the deodorizing process. The cause of the smells will each have different solutions.
Urine Odor Removal
If the odor is caused by pet urine, it is important to use a pet urine enzyme cleaner to break down the urine crystals and neutralize the odor.
Often it can be bad enough that you will have to remove materials such as drywall and flooring. Once carpets are removed you can spray the neutralizers again and in some cases, you might have to buy a sealant before putting new floors in.
Eliminating Odors From Homes that Have Heavy Smoke Odors
If it's a light odor, neutralizing spray, candles, and plug-ins can often work. It's worth a try before going to the more labor and costly solutions. Activated charcoal, baking soda, and white vinegar can also be used as a natural deodorizer, and if it's in the walls, try scrubbing them down. You will have to paint anyways.
Methods such as ozone treatment and thermal fogging can also be used to neutralize odors. A combination of the above will then ozone will usually get smoke out of the walls. Often carpet can be steam clean cleaned but every once in a while the smell is so bad that replacing the carpet and pad will be necessary.
Removing Mold Odor
If you have established the smell is from mold then you need to be careful. If it's minor you might be able to handle it but it's worth considering a professional. Mold can cause serious health issues if not removed completely, and if you don't fix the cause of the mold it will come back.
If you choose to tackle this yourself be thorough and remove any materials that have been covered by mold. Look for the cause as well. Leaky windows, roofs or areas of high humidity can all keep the mold coming back.
Professional odor removal services
In some cases, the odor may be too strong or persistent to be eliminated with cleaning and deodorizing products alone. In these cases, it may be necessary to hire a professional odor removal service. These companies specialize in eliminating odors and can use advanced techniques such as ozone treatment and thermal fogging to neutralize even the toughest odors. Get an idea of how much some of these and other costs might be.
Repairing your Home After the Odor Is Eliminated
Once the smell is gone, you can now begin putting everything back together. If you had issues with walls and need to repaint, consider extra coats of paint as an extra precaution or better yet killz paint to help cover and seal.
Replacing your floors? Consider sealing the underfloor and definitely change your pad under the carpet. Sometimes the odor can find its way back after time. So spend a touch more for that reassurance. It's also possible that you get used to the smell while trying to remove it and once most is gone you don't notice it.
The extra precautions will help future-proof your home.
Odors in hoarder houses can be overwhelming and challenging to deal with. However, with the right approach and techniques, it is possible to effectively eliminate them.
By understanding the common sources of odors, identifying the source of the odor, and taking action to eliminate it through cleaning and sanitizing, deodorizing products and methods, professional odor removal services, and maintaining a fresh living space, you can make a hoarder house livable again.
Additionally, it is important to address any underlying issues that may be contributing to the odor such as moisture or mold. By following the tips and advice in this guide, you can take control of the odors in your hoarder house and enjoy a fresher, cleaner living space.