How to Remove Odors From an Old House

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Things You'll Need

  • Antibacterial products

  • Activated charcoal

  • Vinegar

  • Spray bottle

  • Baking soda

  • Vacuum

You can safely remove odors from old homes.

Vacant old homes often have poor air circulation, which results in a stale, musty odor. If you purchase or inherit an old home, you need to get rid of these odors. You won't be able to live in, rent or sell the home if it doesn't smell fresh. Fortunately, you don't need strong chemicals to get rid of the smell. A few common household products will do.


Step 1

Open all of the windows in the old house and draw back the curtains. Fresh air and sunlight go a long way in getting rid of stagnant air in a home.

Step 2

Clean the home with antibacterial products. You won't completely get rid of any stale odor in an old home if you don't get rid of the source of the odor through cleaning. Antibacterial products will kill any bacteria that may be causing the odor.

Step 3

Place bowls of activated charcoal in any areas that smell musty. The basement and closets are good places to start. The charcoal absorbs any moisture and bad odors. Let the bowls remain in the area for a day or two.


Step 4

Spray vinegar throughout every room in the old home. Just poor the vinegar in a clean empty spray bottle. Vinegar is a powerful odor eliminator. You can also spray it on any furniture that was left in the home to make it smell less musty.

Step 5

Sprinkle baking soda on the carpets and flooring of an old home. Let the baking soda sit overnight so that it can absorb any bad odors. Vacuum or sweep up the baking soda the next day.


Setting out bowls of vanilla can also help remove bad odors in your old house.


Stay away from products that claim they freshen the air. If it is not an odor eliminator, it only masks the present odor.


references & resources

Alicia Bodine

Alicia Bodine

Alicia Bodine has been a professional writer for 13 years. She has produced thousands of articles for online publications such as Demand Studios, GoBankingRates and WiseGeek. Bodine is passionate about gardening, travel, education and finance. She has received awards for being a top content producer.