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Homes have their own unique bouquet. A fine mixture of smells that change depending on the time of day and who is home, but a consistent fragrance all their own. Usually the house smells of cooking food, various soaps and detergents, and clean laundry. The inhabitants get used to the smells in the house and don’t pay any mind to it; they have become “nose blind” or hard of smelling. They don’t notice when something in the house is off until an outsider comes in and calls attention to it. The top reasons your house stinks are a cornucopia of foul-smelling invaders.

There’s Mold Somewhere

A musty, moldy smell in your house is one of the least offensive smells on this list. But it’s still bad and makes your place smell like a retirement home. Mold will grow just about anywhere it can find moisture and a food source. The biggest problem is that they don’t need much of either. Mold spores will feed on drywall if given enough time. Take a tour of the house and start by opening doors and cabinets. Once you find the mold, eradicate it and be certain it never comes back.

Dingy, Old Carpet

Old, ratty carpet is another great place to harbor odors. Carpet is a favorite hangout for mold, bugs, pet dander, and who knows what else. There comes a point where vacuuming the carpet isn’t enough and more drastic steps are needed. Add detergents, steam-clean it, or get rid of it all together. The only way to be certain is to get rid of the carpet and put down hardwood or laminate.

Sorry, but Your Pets

This is sensitive ground, but your pets might be the reason your house stinks. Dogs and cats bring with them their own musk, and as young’uns, they tend to pee and poop on the floor. That doesn’t go away all the time and can leave smells behind. If you keep exotic pets like ferrets, snakes, or birds, they can funk up your place too.

Something Died, Literally

The last reason your house stinks may have dark origins. If you’ve scoured the house, gotten rid of all the mold, and sent the pets outside, then there is the possibility that something dead is lurking—or rotting—in a hidden place. This is the worst reason your house stinks. There could be a rotting corpse of a squirrel, bird, or mouse somewhere that is assaulting your nose. Your pets like to bring gifts home from time to time, and you don’t know it. Start looking around in the attic, under cushions, in your shoes, and anywhere else a critter might end up.