Sour, Mildew Smell: Check for Standing Water
If you’ve noticed a sour, mildewy smell, check your home for any standing water that may be trapped in the washing machine, dishwasher, bathtub or sink. Another possible cause is that the previous residents left behind some old wet rags, sponges or water in buckets. Remove and dry up any unwanted water and the smell should be gone as well. Wet basement? This is the best way to dry it up.
Carcass Smell: Look for Dead Animals
It’s hard to describe this odor, but you know it when you smell it—something’s dead. Search beneath the house and around it for dead animals or birds. It’s not uncommon for wildlife to get into attics or walls and chimneys, as well. Once you remove the carcass, you’ll want to spray the area with an enzymatic cleaner in order to break down the organic materials and eliminate diseases and odors. Be sure to let the solution sit for 10 to 15 minutes before wiping.
For further deodorizing, you can use an open box of baking soda or a container of freshly ground coffee with holes in the lid, to absorb the odor. Finally, be sure you to cover, plug or put a screen over all exterior holes larger than one- half inch in diameter, and all vents, chimneys, crawl spaces, gaps and cracks. Read this first-time home buyer’s guide to home maintenance.