Oooh…oooh that smell……Can’t ya smell that smell?

badsmellEver walk into somebody’s house and immediately wish that one of those oxygen masks would fall from the ceiling like they have in airplanes so you wouldn’t have to inhale the wall of odors that smacked you in the proboscis?  (For those unfamiliar with W.C. Fields, that means “nose”)

Now image that you’re looking to buy a house and the same things happens when you step foot in that really cool looking house with the awesome curb appeal.  Now let’s take it one step further…. your home is for sale and the oxygen mask scenario is being played out in a prospective buyer’s brain.   Can you say “turned off”? I knew that you could….

Every house has a smell of some kind, some less than others .. unless you live in a hermetically sealed home which means I’m busy the night of your dinner party.  Just because you can’t smell it isn’t a guarantee that your home doesn’t smell like your grandmother’s attic.  Barb Schwarz, the originator of the concept of home staging says “ If you can smell it, you won’t sell it”.  Total corniness aside,  she’s absolutely correct.

As a stager, I’ve literally walked in a home (as opposed to hovering on a cloud of rarified air which is my usual mode of travel) and expected to see a wet dog smoking a cigar while standing at the stove and stirring what can only be described as a pot of stale cabbage being boiled in fetid water.  I’m pretty sure I faked my own death on that job.

Animal odors, litter box odors, somebody keeps missing the toilet odors, last night’s dinner or even worse, last week’s dinner odor, cigarette or cigar odors , etc. will turn off even the most hardy of buyers so…pay attention here because this is important…when your Realtor or home stager gives you this news, believe it and remedy it NOW.

And here’s what you do:  launder or dry clean drapery, bedding, etc., shampoo your carpets, sacrifice a lemon to the garbage disposal gods, give your shower/tub and any other area prone to mildew a thorough cleaning with a citrus scented cleaner.  If an overall funky smell has moved in and is fighting to stay, pour vinegar in a jars or bowls and leave them in the corners of each room overnight.

When all else fails, there is a magnificent product called “Pure Ayre” that’s a food grade (that means totally harmless) product that’s guaranteed to eliminate all household odors. It’s something having to do with enzymes. This stuff can be sprayed, poured, injected (into carpets), fogged, used as carpet shampoo, and the list goes on.  I have personally used it when one of my own carpets got wet from a leaky pipe and started to smell like cat urine. I cast a very suspicious eye at my two cats but when they went so far as to hire an attorney, I decided it’d be cheaper to blame the water. And the stuff worked.  You can buy it online at or in some local stores.  The website also has all sorts of tips for cleaning and all that really fun stuff.  So what are you waiting for? Go get some. Scoot.

This has been another message from Karen Negrete IRIS™, your friendly stager.
Interior Redesign Industry Specialist™


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