Horrible Smell Inside of a Building - How to Get Rid of Bad Odor


04.21.2006 - This was an interesting job. I perform dead animal removals on a nearly daily basis. The jobs are always the same - someone calls me with a horrible odor inside the home or building, and suspects that it's a dead animal carcass, and they call me out to address the problem. Most of the time it is a dead animal. However, every now and then the odor is from a different source. Sometimes it's rotting meat - such as the bag of rotting hamburger meat I once found on top of a fridge, the rotting chicken I found behind a stereo, or the rotting and forgotten steak inside a microwave. Sometimes it's mold. And in this case, it was an abandoned plumbing system.

I entered the building, and yes, it smelled horrible. However the stench was not that of a rotting animal, or rotting meat of any kind. I worked very hard to find the source, but I had great difficulty. The people in the office building, meanwhile, had pretty much abandoned half of the building due to the odor, which had gone on for over a year, and were desperate for a solution. I crawled all around in the ceiling and attic, which was in fact two attics, since someone had built a second roof over the first roof.

After a long and frustrating search, I was almost about to quit, when I finally stuck my nose atop one of the old abandoned plumbing stacks on the old roof. WHAM, I got a snootfull of one of the most gag-inducing odors I've ever laid my nose upon. I'd found it alright. Something in the abandoned plumbing system was rotten, and stunk to high heavens. I simply blocked off the old plumbing stacks, all of which blasted forth the foul odor. I don't know if the airflow was necessary, or if anything should have been vented, but they told me to block 'em, so I did. I really saved the day, and I should have gotten more pay. No no, the smiles on all of their faces was payment enough for me.

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If you have a building on your property that you don't use every day, you are most likely storing equipment or something else in the building that doesn't need frequent attention. You may go to the building every few weeks to get something or put something back but you don't spend a lot of time there. Over time, buildings that are left alone can become homes for wild animals, such as bats, rats and mice, snakes, raccoons, squirrels, even skunks and possums. When these wild animals move in, they can cause the building to develop an odor because more than likely the wild animal is urinating and defecating all over the building. This can be difficult to remove once it sets in. If you want to redo your building or utilize it in a different way, how can you get rid of the horrible smell inside the building? Here are five helpful tips to help you get rid of bad odors.

Tip #1: Clean it out completely

If you smell an odor in your building, you need to go ahead and take everything out of the building; including in the loft if you have one. Get everything outside and cover it with a sheet so that the items you had inside will get aired out because they too will smell. Once you have everything out, completely open all windows and prop the doors open so they will stay open throughout the next couple of days. Air can remove odors buried deep within wood that you can't scrub out because it goes further down than the top surface.

Tip #2: Soap it up

If your building is not insulated, you should be able to take the garden hose and spray down the interior walls allowing the water to soak down deep inside each board to grab the odor and bring it to the surface. Once you scrub the top surface with soapy water, rinse it off and allow it to dry again, leaving the doors open to allow the air to circulate and dry it up. The next day, if you need to, go ahead and repeat this step if you still smell the odor. Sometimes painting the surface of the walls and floors will lock in whatever smell is left so it doesn't continue to ooze out after you have scrubbed it.

Tip #3: The items that go inside the building

You now need to decide if you still want to store the items inside that were in there originally as these items also hold odors and will need to be cleaned. If you decide to put them back inside, they will need to be scrubbed down as well and allowed to dry.

Tip #4: Seal up the building

If you don't want the odor to come back, seal it up and make sure there is no way that bats, snakes, and any other wild animal can make its way back into that building to build a home. Tip #5: Air circulation

When possible, install a ceiling fan or open the windows and leave them open or at least cracked for consistent airflow inside the building.

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