How to Know What Your House Smells Like: Fix “Noseblindness” to Home Odor

Have you ever walked into your home and been hit with a funky smell, only to realize it’s been lingering for who knows how long? Or have you ever had guests over who politely mention a strange odor that you can’t even detect? You may be suffering from a common condition known as “noseblindness,” where your nose becomes desensitized to the smells around you.

But fear not, there are ways to banish those pesky odors and ensure your home always smells fresh and clean. Keep reading to learn how to fix noseblindness and become the ultimate home odor detective.

What causes noseblindness to house odors?

1. Stimuli receptors

The nose contains two main olfactory systems: the main olfactory system, which detects volatile stimuli, and the accessory olfactory system, which detects fluid-phase stimuli. The vomeronasal organ, located in the vomer, between the nose and the mouth, is responsible for detecting stimuli in the accessory olfactory system.

The sensory receptors in these systems are responsible for detecting different types of odors, including pheromones. However, repeated exposure to certain smells can cause these receptors to become desensitized, leading to noseblindness or the inability to detect certain odors. This is because the brain becomes accustomed to the smell, and the receptors stop sending signals to the brain.

2. Scent receptors

Scent receptors are specialized cells in the nose that detect and transmit information about different smells to the brain. These receptors are located in the olfactory epithelium, a thin layer of tissue in the nasal cavity.

When we inhale, odor molecules enter the nose and bind to the receptors, triggering a series of chemical reactions that generate electrical signals. These signals are then transmitted to the olfactory bulb, where they are processed and interpreted as specific odors.

Noseblindness, or the inability to detect certain odors, can occur when there is a loss of sensory cells in the nose or a decrease in nerve fibers and receptors in the olfactory bulb. This can happen as people age or due to other factors such as illness or injury.

When the number of scent receptors decreases, it becomes more difficult to discriminate between different smells, making it harder to identify specific odors like those found in a house. Additionally, deterioration in the central nervous system’s cognitive processing functions can also contribute to noseblindness by impairing the brain’s ability to interpret and distinguish between different odor signals.

3. Response to odors

While the research provided does not directly address the topic of “noseblindness,” it can still provide some insights on how our sense of smell works. Noseblindness refers to the phenomenon where we become desensitized to certain smells in our environment, making it difficult for us to detect them.

This can be caused by sensory adaptation, where our sense of smell adjusts to constant odors, or exposure to strong and persistent smells. Common household smells that we may become noseblind to include pet odors, cooking smells, and cigarette smoke.

To combat noseblindness, it is important to regularly air out our homes, clean surfaces and fabrics, and use air-purifying devices. Additionally, taking breaks from exposure to certain odors can help reset our sense of smell and improve our ability to detect them.

4. Memory formation

The formation of memory plays a crucial role in noseblindness for house odors. Research suggests that the release of nitric oxide (NO) in brain regions such as the hippocampus can mediate synaptic plasticity changes and influence long-term potentiation (LTP) and memory formation.

In sheep, the increased sensitivity of mitral-to-granule cell synapses that results from learning the odors of their lambs might involve potentiation of glutamate release by NO through modulation of cGMP. In the olfactory bulb, NO is released by glutamate acting on both NMDA and AMPA receptors, which are present on the main olfactory bulb mitral and granule cells.

The activation of both receptor types is required for the formation of pheromonal olfactory memory. Therefore, memory formation can contribute to noseblindness by making individuals less sensitive to the odors of their house as they become more familiar with them over time.

5. Exposure to odors

Exposure to odors can cause noseblindness, which is a decreased ability to detect odors after prolonged exposure. This can lead to a lack of awareness of unpleasant odors in the home. One way to prevent noseblindness is to regularly air out the house and clean surfaces where odors can accumulate, such as carpets and upholstery.

Using air fresheners or odor-absorbing products can also help. Additionally, regularly switching up the scents in the home can prevent habituation to a particular odor. It’s important to note that noseblindness can occur in both young and older adults, but it is fully reversible after a week of exposure to different odors. By taking these steps, you can keep your home smelling fresh and prevent noseblindness.

What are the signs and symptoms of noseblindness to house odors?

1. Difficulty identifying house odors

People with anosmia, also known as noseblindness, have difficulty identifying house odors because their sense of smell is impaired or completely absent. The causes of anosmia can vary and include genetic disorders, infections, head injuries, and sinonasal disorders.

Treatment options depend on the underlying cause and may include smell training, zinc supplements, corticosteroid drugs, or surgery. However, some cases of anosmia may resolve spontaneously without treatment.

One of the challenges for people living with anosmia is identifying and distinguishing the condition, which can lead to difficulty finding appropriate care. T

2. Difficulty identifying the source of house odors

Individuals experiencing noseblindness, or anosmia, may have difficulty identifying the source of house odors. This is because they cannot rely on their sense of smell to detect and distinguish different scents.

Additionally, some individuals may have acclimated to certain smells, making them difficult to detect. This can be especially problematic if the odor is a result of a dangerous substance, such as carbon monoxide.

3. Lack of reaction to house odors

Noseblindness is a common condition where a person becomes accustomed to certain smells in their environment and no longer notices them. This can be a problem when it comes to household odors, as some of them can be a sign of indoor air hazards.

For example, stale or stuffy air, abnormal and noticeable odors, and a clear lack of air movement can all be indicators that there is a problem with the air quality in the home. Some common household smells that noseblindness can mask include cigarette smoke, cooking odors, pet odors, and mold and mildew.

If these smells are not detected, it can lead to health problems such as respiratory issues, headaches, and allergies. It is important to regularly check and maintain the heating and air conditioning systems, remove water-damaged materials, and ensure proper ventilation to prevent noseblindness and potential health hazards.

4. Increased stress or anxiety due to house odors

While there is limited research on the direct effects of specific odors on human stress, studies on animals suggest that certain odors, such as predator odors, can activate the stress response and lead to post-traumatic stress disorder. In daily life, being noseblind to unpleasant house odors, such as pet odors or cooking smells, can lead to increased stress or anxiety for individuals who are sensitive to these smells. This can manifest as discomfort, agitation, or even avoidance of certain areas or activities in the home.

How to know what your house smells like

1. Identify Odor Culprits

To identify odor culprits in your home, start by taking note of where the odor is coming from. Here are some common odor culprits and how to identify them:

  • Trash: check your trash cans and take out the garbage regularly.
  • Cooking: identify the source of the odor by checking your kitchen appliances and cooking utensils.
  • Refrigerator: check for spoiled food and clean the fridge regularly.
  • Dishwasher: check the dishwasher for any clogs or build-up.
  • Drains: run water down the drain to check for any unpleasant smells.
  • Bathrooms: check for mold or mildew in the shower or toilet.
  • Bedding: wash sheets and pillowcases regularly.
  • Closets/Laundry: check for dampness or mildew in closets and wash laundry regularly.
  • Fabric Furniture: check for pet hair or stains on furniture.
  • Carpet: vacuum regularly and steam clean occasionally.

Identifying and removing these odor culprits can help keep your home smelling fresh and clean.

2. Identify Home Fragrances

To identify different home fragrances, start by describing the scent you are smelling. Is it sweet, floral, or musky? Next, try to locate where the scent might be coming from. Is it coming from a candle, air freshener, or laundry detergent?

Once you’ve identified the source, decide if you want to keep the fragrance or get rid of it. If you want to get rid of it, open a window or use a fan to ventilate the room.

If you’re trying to find a specific fragrance, avoid wearing any other fragrances and try to smell the product with a clear nose. Remember, investing in a signature scent can make all the difference in creating a pleasant home environment.

3. Investigate Dampness and Mold Problems

To investigate dampness and mold problems in your home, start by inspecting areas that may be prone to moisture, such as basements, bathrooms, and kitchens. Look for any visible signs of mold growth, such as discoloration or a musty odor.

Address any leaks or standing water immediately, and ensure that your home is adequately ventilated to prevent moisture buildup. Use a dehumidifier or air conditioner to keep the air dry, and consider using a mold testing kit to identify any potential problem areas.

If you do find mold, it’s important to address the underlying issue and clean the affected area thoroughly to prevent future growth.

4. Identify Appliance Cleaners

Identifying appliance cleaners is crucial to eliminate household odors and prevent potential hazards. Overheating appliances can emit fishy or acrid smells, indicating melting plastic or rubber. Commonly overlooked appliances include the dishwasher, washing machine, and dryer.

Neglecting to clean these appliances can lead to unpleasant odors and even fires. It’s important to call a repair expert to determine if the appliance needs to be fixed or replaced.

To avoid hazards, a solution-oriented approach is necessary: identify the source of the odor, shut off the circuit breaker, and seek professional help.

5. Identify House Dust Problems

To identify house dust problems in your home, start by examining the surfaces in each room. Look for a visible layer of dust on furniture, shelves, and floors. Check air vents and filters for buildup, and inspect curtains and upholstery for signs of dust accumulation.

Once you’ve identified the problem areas, take steps to eliminate dust, such as using a high-quality vacuum with a HEPA filter, regularly washing bedding and curtains, and using an air purifier.

How to Know What Your House Smells Like: Fix "Noseblindness" to Home Odor

Keep your home well-ventilated and consider reducing clutter to minimize dust accumulation. By following these steps, you can keep your home clean and healthy for you and your family.

6. Define Roof and Gutter Problems

Roof and gutter problems can have a significant impact on the smell of your house. If your roof is damaged or has leaks, water can seep into your home and create a musty smell. This can also lead to mold growth, which can further worsen the odor.

Additionally, clogged gutters can cause water to overflow onto the roof and walls, leading to water damage and a damp smell. If left untreated, these issues can lead to more severe problems and costly repairs.

It is essential to take preventative action and address any roof or gutter problems promptly to avoid potential odor and damage to your home.

7. Identify Lint and Clothes Hangers

Lint is made up of tiny fibers that come off of clothing during washing and drying. If left unchecked, it can accumulate in the lint trap of your dryer and cause unpleasant odors.

Clothes hangers, whether plastic or wooden, can also contribute to household odors. If they are too narrow, they can cause clothes to become compressed, which can trap moisture and lead to mildew and musty smells.

To prevent this, invest in wider hangers that allow air to circulate around your clothes. For delicate garments like silk dresses, padded hangers can also help to reduce pressure and keep clothes fresh in storage.

8. Identify Cat Pee Smells

To identify cat pee smells in your home, start by thoroughly cleaning all areas where your cat may have urinated. Use an enzyme cleaner to break down the uric acid that causes the smell.

If the smell persists, investigate other possible sources such as mold, leaking Freon, or smelly plants. Check for stains from previous pet owners if you recently moved in.

If you still can’t find the source, consider hiring a professional cleaner with a black light to locate any hidden spots. Be sure to identify the root cause of your cat’s behavior to prevent future accidents.

9. Identify Trash and Garbage Problems

If you’re experiencing unpleasant odors in your home or office, it could be due to trash and garbage buildup. Here are some tips for identifying trash and garbage problems and how to properly dispose of them to prevent odor buildup:

  1. Check your garbage cans: If you notice a foul smell coming from your garbage cans, it’s time to take action. Even the sturdiest garbage bins will start to absorb food and waste odors after a certain time. Consider lining your garbage cans with trash bags to provide a buffer between the waste and your trash can.
  2. Dispose of food waste properly: Food waste is a common cause of unpleasant odors. Make sure to dispose of food waste properly by placing it in a sealed container or bag before throwing it in the trash.
  3. Clean your garbage cans regularly: Even with trash bags, garbage receptacles can still absorb odors over time. Regularly cleaning your garbage cans with soap and water can help keep them fresh and odor-free.
  4. Consider using scented or deodorized trash bags: You can find scented or deodorized trash bags that can help reduce the smell of garbage as they collect it.

By following these tips, you can help prevent trash and garbage problems from causing unpleasant odors in your home or office.

Remember to dispose of food waste properly, clean your garbage cans regularly, and consider using scented or deodorized trash bags to help keep your space smelling fresh.

Top 4 Smells to Be Concerned About in your Home

1. Pet Funk

Pets are beloved members of our families, but they can also bring unpleasant odors into our homes. Pet funk can come from a variety of sources, including urine, feces, saliva, and sweat. To eliminate these odors, it’s important to clean up accidents as soon as possible and regularly groom your pets.

You can also use odor-eliminating products like Home-Pourri’s Air + Fabric Multi-Purpose Odor Eliminator, which neutralizes odors at the molecular level with essential oils.

Another option is the Brooklinen Bright Idea Room Spray, which offers a fresh scent for your home. By taking these practical steps, you can keep your home smelling fresh and clean, even with furry friends around.

2. Mustiness

Musty smells in your home can be caused by a variety of factors, including poor ventilation, high humidity levels, and the accumulation of dust and mold. Addressing these issues is important because mustiness not only affects your home’s air quality, but it can also cause health problems like allergies and respiratory issues.

To eliminate musty smells, you can use dehumidifiers to reduce moisture levels, improve ventilation by opening windows or using fans, and clean surfaces regularly to prevent dust and mold buildup.

It’s also important to identify and address the root cause of mustiness, such as fixing leaks or improving insulation, to prevent it from recurring in the future. By implementing these practical tips, you can eliminate musty smells and improve the air quality in your home.

3. Smelly Bedding

Regularly washing your bedding is crucial in preventing unpleasant odors from accumulating in your home. Fresh sheets not only provide a clean and comfortable sleeping environment, but they also contribute to a pleasant and inviting atmosphere.

Neglecting to wash your sheets at least once a week can lead to musty smells and the buildup of bacteria and allergens. By keeping an extra set of sheets on hand and replacing your bedding when necessary, you can ensure that your home smells fresh and clean.

For more information on proper bedding care, check out the recommended blog.

4. Fridge and Freezer Grime

Cleaning your fridge and freezer is an essential step in maintaining a fresh and odor-free home. Neglecting these appliances can lead to unpleasant smells and even harmful bacteria growth.

  1. To prevent this, start by removing all items from the fridge and freezer and placing them in a cooler or insulated bag. Next, take out the shelves and drawers and wash them with warm soapy water.
  2. Wipe down the interior with a mixture of water and baking soda to neutralize any lingering odors. Don’t forget to clean the door seals as well.
  3. Finally, replace the Arm & Hammer Fridge Fresh filter to ensure your fridge air is always clean and fresh. By following these simple steps, you can keep your fridge and freezer smelling great and your family safe from harmful bacteria.

Tips on how to deal with bad smells in your home

1. Identify Source of Smell

To identify the source of a bad smell in your home, it is important to conduct a thorough investigation.

  1. Try to locate the area where the smell is most concentrated.
  2. Check for any visible signs of damage or decay, such as water stains or mold growth.
  3. Consider any recent changes or events that may have caused the odor, such as a new pet or a spill.

If the source is still unclear, try to identify the specific type of smell, such as a musty odor or a chemical smell. This information will be helpful when contacting a professional odor removal company, who can assist in pinpointing and addressing the source of the odor. Being diligent in your investigation will ultimately lead to a more effective solution for eliminating the bad smell in your home.

2. Eliminate Cause of Bad Smell

Identifying and eliminating the cause of bad smells in your home is crucial for maintaining a clean and healthy living environment. Common causes of bad smells include dirty carpets, pet odors, and mold.

Once you have identified the root cause of the odor, address it directly by cleaning the affected area or fixing any underlying issues.

Simply masking the smell with air fresheners or candles is not enough, and can often lead to more harm than good. By taking the time to eliminate the source of the smell, you can ensure a fresh and pleasant living space for you and your family.

3. Clean Up Source of Smell

To clean up the source of a bad smell in your home, start by locating the area where the odor is coming from.

Clean the area with hot, soapy water and an antibacterial cleaner or detergent. Fresh air can help improve the situation, so open windows when possible. Regular vacuuming helps neutralize odors absorbed into the carpeting.

Baking soda is an inexpensive and effective form of odor control; sprinkle it on carpeting and allow it to sit for a few hours before vacuuming. If all else fails, it may be best to contact a professional cleaning company to locate and remove the source of the odor.

4. Air Out Your House

Airing out your house involves increasing the air exchange rate, which can help reduce indoor air pollution. To do this effectively, open all your windows and doors for at least 10-15 minutes every day.

If the weather outside is unpleasant, use mechanical ventilation devices like fans or air handling systems to circulate fresh air throughout your home. This will help get rid of stale indoor air and replace it with fresh outdoor air, leaving your home smelling fresh and clean.

5. Use Odor Neutralizers

Odor neutralizers are products that work to eliminate bad smells in your home. They work by either absorbing or chemically altering the molecules that cause the odor. There are several types of odor neutralizers available, including sprays, candles, plugins, and beads. Examples of specific products within each type include Febreze Air Effects for sprays, Yankee Candle for candles, etc.

To use odor neutralizers effectively, it’s important to identify the source of the odor and choose the appropriate type of neutralizer. For example, if the source of the odor is a pet, a product specifically designed for pet odors would be most effective.

It’s also important to not just mask the odor but actually neutralize it. Finally, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and keep odor neutralizers out of reach of children and pets.

In addition to using odor neutralizers, it’s also recommended to clean up the source of the odor and open windows for ventilation. By following these steps, you can effectively combat bad smells in your home.

6. Add More Airflow

If you’re dealing with bad smells in your home, adding more airflow can be a helpful solution. One option to consider is a separate, through-the-wall HRV (heat recovery ventilation) system where you can control the location of the air inlet. The Lunos products, distributed by 475 High Performance Building Supply, is one option to explore.

How to Know What Your House Smells Like: Fix "Noseblindness" to Home Odor
Heat Recovery Ventilation

By installing an HRV, you can create positive pressure in your apartment, which helps prevent uncontrolled air entry. This is especially useful if you’re dealing with odors from outside your home.

While adding more airflow won’t necessarily eliminate the source of the bad smell, it can help improve indoor air quality and make your home more comfortable to live in.

7. Use Natural Home Cleaning Products

Using natural home cleaning products can be incredibly beneficial when it comes to eliminating bad smells in your house. Unlike harsh chemical cleaners, natural products are not only effective at getting rid of odors, but they also don’t release harmful toxins into the air.

Baking soda is a great natural option for eliminating odors as it absorbs them. Simply sprinkle some baking soda on carpets, upholstery, or in the fridge, and let it sit for a few hours before vacuuming it up.

Vinegar is another great option, especially for getting rid of pet odors. Mix equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle, and use it to clean surfaces or spray in the air.

It’s important to avoid harsh chemical cleaning products as they can worsen the problem by releasing more harmful toxins into the air. By using natural cleaning products, not only will your home smell fresher, but you’ll also be creating a healthier environment for you and your family.

8. Clean Lint Traps and Kitchen Sinks

To clean the lint trap in your dryer, start by removing the lint screen and using a vacuum to remove any leftover lint. Wash the lint trap screen with warm soap and water while it dries.

Use your vacuum to clean the slot the lint trap slides into, and consider removing a cover on the machine if you have a handy model. To clear any clogs in your kitchen sink drain, begin by boiling a pot of water and pouring it down the drain.

Then, pour a mixture of equal parts baking soda and vinegar down the drain and let it sit for 5-10 minutes. Finally, pour boiling water down the drain again to clear any remaining debris.

Regular cleaning is important to prevent bad smells from recurring. Use natural cleaning agents like vinegar and baking soda to disinfect and deodorize the sink.

9. Wash Clothes and Litter Boxes

Washing clothes and litter boxes regularly can help eliminate bad smells in your home. For clothes, it is recommended to wash them after every use or every other use to prevent bacteria buildup.

For litter boxes, it is important to scoop out waste daily and completely replace the litter every two to three weeks. You can also add baking soda to the litter to absorb odors.

Additionally, consider using a self-cleaning litter box to make the process easier. By following these steps, you can ensure that your home smells fresh and clean.

10. Have Professionals Clean Your Home

If you are struggling with bad odors in your home or business, hiring professionals to clean your property can be the solution you need. There are various types of professionals who can help with this issue, such as restoration companies, cleaning services, and odor removal specialists.

Restoration companies have experience in dealing with property damage caused by natural disasters, fires, and floods. They have the necessary equipment and expertise to clean and restore your property to its pre-damaged state, including eliminating any lingering smoke odors. They can use specialized techniques such as ozone treatments and thermal fogging to remove smoke particles from various materials in your property.

Cleaning services can also help eliminate bad odors in your property. They can clean surfaces, carpets, and upholstery to remove any smoke particles that may be causing the odor. They can also use air purifiers and dehumidifiers to improve the air quality in your property.

In summary, hiring professionals to clean your property can be an effective way to eliminate bad odors, including smoke odors. Restoration companies, cleaning services, and odor removal specialists can all help with this issue by using specialized techniques and equipment to clean and restore your property. If you are struggling with bad odors, it is recommended to seek the help of professionals to ensure that the problem is fully eliminated.


What is “noseblindness”?

“Noseblindness” or olfactory adaptation is a natural process in which our nose detects an odor, determines it’s not a threat, and then shuts down the receptors for that smell. This is useful when there are changes in our environment like when something starts to go bad or when there’s a sudden odor.

However, this process becomes less helpful when it comes to lingering smells in our homes. As a result, we may not be able to detect a funky smell in our homes because our nose has become accustomed to it.

How do I find out why my house smells?

To identify the source of unpleasant odors in your home, it is important to systematically go through each room and try to pinpoint the source. Start by checking for any obvious sources such as dirty dishes, trash, or pet messes.

If these are not the cause, move on to less obvious sources such as mold or mildew, dirty carpets or furniture, or even the HVAC system. It may also be helpful to open windows and doors to air out the space.

Once the source is identified, take appropriate action to eliminate the odor, such as cleaning or repairing the source, using air fresheners or odor eliminators, or seeking professional help.

Can you smell your own house smell?

Yes, it is possible to become accustomed to the smell of our own homes, including any odors left behind by our pets. This is because our brains filter out constant stimuli, such as the scent of our own homes. However, guests or prospective buyers who are not used to the smell of our homes may notice these odors.

This is similar to how we may not notice the smell of our own perfume or cologne after a while, but others around us can still smell it.

How do I find my own smell?

Here are some steps to finding your own odor-eliminator scent:

  • Consider what scents you typically enjoy in your daily life, such as perfumes or candles.
  • Take note of any smells that you are particularly sensitive to and avoid those in your odor-eliminator search.
  • Try out a variety of scents to see what you like best. Look for samples or travel-sized options to test before committing to a full-size product.
  • Keep in mind the area where you will be using the odor eliminator. For example, a warm and woodsy scent may be more appropriate for a living room while a light citrusy blend may work well in a bathroom.
  • Don’t be afraid to try unscented options if you prefer to have no added fragrance.

How do I know if my room stinks?

If you suspect that your room has an unpleasant odor, there are several ways to identify the source of the smell. The first step is to identify the type of odor. If it smells musty, it may be caused by mold or mildew. If it smells like rotten eggs, it may be caused by a gas leak. If it smells like cigarette smoke, it may be caused by smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke.

To determine the source of the smell, you can try to isolate the area where the smell is strongest. You can also try cleaning the room thoroughly, including carpets, curtains, and furniture. If the smell persists, you may need to call a professional to help identify and eliminate the source of the odor.

How to detect smells in the house

To detect smells in the house, it is important to use our sense of smell effectively. First, try to be aware of any unusual odors in the house. One way to do this is to step outside for a few minutes and then come back inside, as this can help reset your sense of smell. Next, take note of the specific areas where the smell seems to be coming from.

Check the usual suspects such as the kitchen, bathrooms, and garbage cans. If the source of the smell is not immediately obvious, try to follow your nose to locate it. Additionally, it may be helpful to ask others if they can smell the odor as well, as this can confirm that it is not just your imagination.

Finally, remember that worrying about whether or not your house smells can actually help you detect foul odors. So, take note of any concerns you may have and use them to your advantage. By following these tips and tricks, you can effectively identify and locate the source of any unpleasant odors in your home.

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