DIY Home Improvement, Remodeling & Repair Forum

DIY Home Improvement, Remodeling & Repair Forum (
-   General Home Improvement Discussion (
-   -   Cleaning up the filth (

sunnyhouse 02-12-2007 07:47 AM

Cleaning up the filth
We just bought an 1979 brick home in the country, and I don't believe it was ever remodelled, except for pipes and electrical. The people who lived in the house before were so filthy, I can't even begin to tell you what horrible filth they were living in!!!!!! :eek: There were roaches everywhere, even dried up roaches stuck in the doorways, dried up roach droppings inside wallpaper and behind every single nail where they apparantly had pictures hanging. We are not currently living in the house (thank God!:rolleyes:), but getting close to making it liveable, so we can move in by the end of this month. The exterminator visited the house once and is scheduled to visit it again in a week or so, we spread Boric Acid in the corner of every room to help get rid of the bugs and slowly begin to see less and less bugs. We put a primer coat on every wall, tore out old lenoleum, wall paper and carpet. We can't afford to do everything at once, like completely replacing every toilet and bathtub in the house, and will have to do some of the work slowly, as long as everything is clean. Before moving in, new pergo flooring and carpet will be put in the house and the filthy kitchen cabinets will be repainted with oil-based paint. My concern is the smell we are still assaulted with every time we come into the house. It's not horrible, but bad enough. It's just one of those typical older dirty home smells. I am wondering if new flooring and paint will be enough to completely be rid of it. Is there anything else we can do to get the house to smell clean again? Right now, every time we come home after a day of work there, our clothes smell. :eek: Would hate to start smelling this way every day after we move in.

Any suggestions? Thanks. :)

Kerrylib 02-12-2007 09:38 AM


I haven't used the stuff but febreeze claims to clear out odors. Probably need to get it in industrial 5 gallon pail by the sounds of things.

Get some big bags of baking soda and start spreading that around to soak up odors. Probably just dump it out and spread around, then shop vac it up after a few days and repeat.

Once you are living there, there should be more air circulation simply due to opening and closing doors, running furnace/water heater, having windows open, cooking, etc. That will help keep more "fresh air" in the house.

I don't know how well this will work, but good luck.

Make sure basement or crawl space is dry.

sunnyhouse 02-12-2007 10:25 AM

Thank you for the advice! Some very good useful points, and we'll definately try them. :)

The house doesn't have a basement or crawl space, it sits on a concrete slab foundation. But there's an small attic.

cibula11 02-12-2007 12:26 PM

We moved into a house that sounds just about as dirty. If there is any carpet in the house, get rid of it. Carpet, more than anything will hold in odors. To answer your question about flooring and paint, yes and no. It will help a lot but probably not all the way. It will take a little time to make the place smell like your own. Febreeze is a start, as is any air spray that takes on odors. Check the furnace filter if you have one. If its dirty replace may want to have your ducts cleaned. Burn candles, air freshners, etc. It will get there. Grease in the kitchen holds in smell too. Make sure all appliances are clean. Get a humidifier for the basement if it is damp. This will help a ton. Anything else, just ask....I'm sure I've tried it.

asbestos 02-13-2007 02:44 AM

Cibula has some good ideas with the carpet and the kitchen and the basment (but I think it is a DE humidifier they were thinking of)
as well as kerry with the crawlspace.

Fabreeze won't work. that's like trying to put out a forrest fire with a garden hose. remove ever surface possible wash everything else. On surfaces you know there is a smell try any of the "oxy" products (sodium percarbonate & sodium carbonate) these will oxidze the particles of stank. this needs to be mixed up fresh and the hotter the better. Let the oxy stuff work for a while then dry things out. Tri sodium phosphate or a TSP substitute work well for general gook and grime on walls (use gloves ) rinse and dry.
Do everything twice. you will have years in this place to enjoy the work you do now, The tubs and toilets should be the easiest to clean as they are non , pourous, (sp?)

cibula11 02-13-2007 07:51 AM

I stand corrected. a DE humidifier. Please don't use a humidifier, that could get ugly.

Kerrylib 02-13-2007 09:00 AM

Good ideas asbestos. I kinda figured the fabreeze would be mostly futile. I hadn't thought of the Oxy cleaners.

G.C. Nailbanger 02-14-2007 05:09 PM

One thing that could help is renting an Ozone machine and letting it run for a few days. I've used them on insurance jobs after a fire to help eliminate the smoke smell, it might work on your problem and definately won't hurt.

WilliamC 02-14-2007 08:53 PM

I'm new here and in a similar circumstance. When i'm at work we use an air freshner calles Oust( it's febreeze based) and it works wonders for getting rid of olders. This is a temporary fix only, possibly use when you go there to do some work so you don't come back with that bad of a smell. AS was posted, carpets will hold the smell longer and the hardest to remove them from completely. For that reason the house I bought today is goind to be stripped of all carpeting as soon as I clean out all the junk left behind from the previous ocupants. Bleach is another of my friends. As long as the surfce can't be stained my it( wood, textiles,etc...) it will help in killing the germs and bacteris that cause the odors. If you going to use bleach test a few areas so you don't accidently create a new project. Also be sure to check all areas where plumbing is involved to make sure there arent any leaks giving a location for bacteria to germinate. One more personal note. While checking out locations for dirt and odor causing elements, a box of disposable latex gloves will go a long way for personal protection and safety ( as well as a mask).

gregs10206 12-30-2009 06:11 PM

Check out IQAir Air Filter. Hepa and charcoal based filter cleans the air. Removes pollen and dust and fried fish smells from the air. Only problem is it is a little pricey. But will handle up to 900sq ft easily. Getting rid of carpet will help a lot as well as just overall cleaning. Pinesol and chlorine are your friends. Good luck.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 06:05 PM.