homes

8 Highly Dangerous House Smells That Should Not Be Ignored

by Kate Taylor
Kate is a writer who laughs at her own jokes and likes to pour too much hot sauce on her food.

By nature, houses are full of smells. From what pets you have to what laundry detergent you use, every house and family has a signature smell.

In fact, we’re all probably so used the smells around our home that we have gone nose-blind to them.

Of course, when something smells unusual, we are bound to notice it. For instance, the smell of chocolate chip cookies baking in the oven will always grab your attention.

As you probably know, not all house smells are good ones. Unpleasant wafts of stinky garbage and stubborn cat urine come to mind.

However, the smells you should really be worried about are the ones that suggest something is seriously wrong around the house.

Like any scent, you may even grow used to some of these dangerous house smells, so it’s important to be hyperaware of the following smells to keep you safe.

Thumbnail Photo: Instagram / Dawn Mendez

1. Musty Smell

1. Musty Smell
Laura Caseley for LittleThings

The thought of a musty smell probably makes you think about mothballs. However, if it’s coming from your kitchen, bathroom, or basement, you may have a serious problem on your hands.

Since a musty smell is often the result of mold, you should check that you aren’t suffering from a plumbing leak from your kitchen sink.

 

Quick and Dirty Tips suggests turning off your water supply while you take care of the problem and letting your under sink storage dry.

If you detect mold anywhere, particularly black mold, call in a professional for removal.

2. Smoky, Burning Smell

2. Smoky, Burning Smell
Laura Caseley for LittleThings

A smoky, burning smell can be lovely when it’s coming from your fireplace, but otherwise, it’s something to be worried about.

If you don’t have an obvious fire, it might be happening out of sight in your walls or an appliance.

Kolb Electric recommends checking your outlets to see if any are sparking. You may notice this when plugging something in, or you may notice burn marks around the outlet.

This is an indication that the wiring needs a repair and that you should call your electrician.

3. Bathroom Odor

3. Bathroom Odor
Laura Caseley for LittleThings

No one wants anywhere in their home to smell like sewage.

If your bathroom odor seems a little too pungent, consider calling your plumber right away.

 

According to How Stuff Works, the smell can be a sign of sewage backup in your plumbing system.

Other than smelling bad, it can also be dangerous due to the buildup of highly flammable methane.

4. Stinky Dog (Especially If You Don't Have A Dog)

4. Stinky Dog (Especially If You Don't Have A Dog)
Laura Caseley for LittleThings

If you have a dog, chances are you’re used to and have probably even learned to love all of their smells.

In the event that you begin to notice the dog smell getting especially bad, and your dog is well-bathed, then it could be something else.

This is even more important if you don’t have a dog at all. A stinky dog or slight rotting meat smell is probably coming from rodents or other small animals dying in your walls.

5. Cigarettes

5. Cigarettes
Laura Caseley for LittleThings

A cigarette smell might make sense if you or your neighbor is a smoker, but what if there aren’t any cigarettes that you know of around?

According to the Mayo Clinic, it may be third-hand smoke, or the cigarette smell that can linger for years after a smoker has left the premises.

Tobacco residue gets stuck on surfaces and in carpets. It can become activated at random times. You might want to deep-clean your carpet to get rid of this smell, and to prevent any impact on your health.

6. New Paint Smell

6. New Paint Smell
Laura Caseley for LittleThings

I’ll be the first to admit that a new paint smell can be unexpectedly pleasant.

However, this is a sign that you shouldn’t be sniffing this paint at all.

According to How Stuff Works, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in paint are released as it dries and create hazardous chemicals to breathe.

Most paints these days contain safe levels of VOCs, but it’s something to be aware of when purchasing paint.

7. Rotten Egg Smell

7. Rotten Egg Smell
Laura Caseley for LittleThings

The smell of sulfur and rotten eggs is so infamously unpleasant that it’s practically synonymous with bad odor.

According to Hunker, this smell could mean a number of things. First, it could mean that your garbage disposal or sewage pipes are backed up and releasing a rotten odor.

It could also indicate a buildup of sewer gas in your plumbing system.

People who have sump pumps on site should be particularly alert to this, because the last thing you want is seepage or leaking into your own water supply.

8. Gassy Smell

8. Gassy Smell
Laura Caseley for LittleThings

Gas technically has no smell, but additives are put in it to give it a skunk-like odor. This is to make sure you can smell it if there’s a leak.

If you smell gas, make sure that your stove isn’t leaking and, whatever you do, don’t light a match! Call your gas company and emergency services right away.

Be sure to SHARE this information with your loved ones to keep them safe!