Rental Maintenance

DIY Odor Removal Tips for Your Rental

88 views January 11, 2024 Karina Jugo 1

Whether you’re a tenant or a landlord, at some point or another, you’ve had to deal with a stinky rental. These are the stenches so strong that you can almost see the pea soup green stink cloud chasing the butterfly and rainbow cloud of FeBreeze away. You can practically hear it yelping in terror as it goes.

If you’re showing a property, the very last thing you want is a lingering odor fouling up your walk-through. You can chuckle awkwardly all you want, but if the unit smells reminiscent of the business end of a port-o-potty, it tends to be off-putting.

Though there are tenants for whom this isn’t a big deal, and for you, oh brave stench adventurers, we have some tips to help rid your place of those sulfur-scented memories. Or that of a former smoker. It’s funnier to imagine potty smells, but there are many things that make bad scents and quite a few things you can do about it.

diy odor removal

Know where the smell originates

Understanding where scents come from is the first key to getting rid of the stench. This holds particularly true of cigarette smoke. If you’ve ever cleaned out a unit or home that housed smokers, you know exactly where the smell is. It’s everywhere. That does not mean it’s impossible to rid yourself of.

The reliable vinegar solution

While it’s true you can paint over nicotine with latex paint, it may not remove the scent. For one thing, you’ll also have it in the carpets and on the fixtures. A vinegar and water solution will not only effectively remove nicotine from the walls, but you can also use it on the carpet and other fixtures. It’s a simple half and half solution that doesn’t cause damage in the process.

Make sure you air out

While you are doing this, if at all possible, be sure to air the unit out. Exposing any kind of odor-riffic enclosed space to moving, fresh air is very beneficial in getting rid of odor. You should have oscillating fans going to help keep the air moving. Repeat this for a few hours over the course of several days.

pet odor removal

Dealing with toilet-y stench

A fantastic cure for more toilet-y scents is a product called Simple Solution. Now, bear in mind, if you have extensive pet urine and fecal smells, the carpet and subfloor may need replacing. However, if it’s just a bit of farty dog smell or animal body odor, Simple Solution can definitely come to the rescue. Spray it on any porous surface, carpets, fabrics, and other areas.

You can also prep a non ruined but smelly carpet with baking soda overnight. Simply shake a layer over your surfaces and then vacuum up in the morning.

Get professional help

Unfortunately, one of the biggest hiding places for a stinky home or unit is in the ventilation. This is one area where it is a bigger benefit to hire a professional to clean than to attempt to DIY, if you aren’t sure how. This holds particularly true if you have had a smoker in the home, and is the best way to make sure that all the scents are gone.


  • Karina Jugo

    Karina Jugo is a content administrator at RentPost who works directly with real estate and property management experts to create resources and guides for property managers. She has more than 15 years of experience in content research and writing for various industries.

  • Jacob Thomason

    Jacob Thomason is the CEO and co-founder of RentPost, software platform providing property managers, landlord or owners with the tools necessary for property management. Jacob is a software entrepreneur with with a vast array of expertise ranging from business concept design to software architecture and development. He is running RentPost for more than 14 years and helping property managers and property owners.

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