How To Get Rid Of Bad Smells At Your Rental Property

rental property

Tenant move-outs are a fact of life when you own a rental property, as is the process of getting the rental ready for your next tenant.

During the process of cleaning the property, you may find that your last tenant has left the property with smells that continue to linger after they’ve moved out.

Smells should be eliminated quickly because some people have a strong sense of smell and they may be deterred from submitting an application to live in your rental due to the smell that they noticed while touring the property.

Thankfully, getting rid of smells in a rental property is easy, especially if you follow these tips.

Start by sanitizing the unit and tackling the carpet at your rental property

Deep cleaning a rental unit in between tenants will often take care of most lingering smells. Start by sanitizing all hard surfaces to get rid of bacteria and lingering causes of odor, like old food, cooking oils, and other messes.

After you’ve sanitized, it’s smart to shampoo carpets, rugs, and upholstery to clean out any lingering odor-causing bacteria or other messes. You may also want to replace air filters and clean any mildew in the bathrooms, windowsills, or other potentially damp areas.

Doing this can help get your rental property smelling like new. But it doesn’t stop after the first round of sanitizing. It’s always a good idea to return the following day to see if the smells have gone for good—or if the unit needs more attention than just the basic sanitizing method.

How to get rid of cooking smells in a small apartment

Smells from certain foods and spices can linger in the unit long after tenants have vacated the property. For example, pungent spices, like cumin and curry, can permeate soft furnishings, like drapes, chairs, carpets, and couches—especially if they were used regularly. What that means is that in a small apartment, these types of cooking smells can seep into every room.

If you need to get rid of overpowering odors leftover from cooking, it will typically require you to scrub all hard surfaces in the unit. That’s because things like oils and spices can permeate the air and land on surfaces throughout the unit—and you’ll want to wipe them off of every surface to get rid of the smell.

Once that’s done, you may need to use professional-grade cleaning equipment with deodorizing chemicals that can neutralize smells in upholstery—especially if the rental unit is being rented as a furnished unit. Depending on what you’re trying to clean, though, it may be easier and more cost-effective to simply replace the item. For example, it may be cheaper and easier to replace the drapes than to spend the time and money cleaning the current ones in the unit. 

How to get rid of musty smells at your rental property

If you’re dealing with musty smells, it can be tricky to get rid of them in an empty rental unit. The source of the stale air could be due to the prior tenant not opening the windows and airing out the apartment. Or, the musty odor could be due to mildew or mold issues in the unit. 

Opening the windows and letting fresh air into the unit should be the first step to eliminating musty smells left by the prior tenant. Ventilation fans, a dehumidifier, or electric fans can also be useful to increase airflow and remove damp, stale air. However, if the musty stench remains after you’ve employed these methods, you may have to check the apartment for mold growth being caused by water damage. 

And, it’s also important to remember that breathing in mold spores is a health risk. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), you should fix plumbing leaks and water problems to avoid these types of issues—or stop them from happening again if they’ve already occurred.

It’s also extremely important to dry the surfaces throughout the home. However, mold can get into porous materials, so if you have a problem with mold or mildew, it may be necessary to replace these materials or surfaces. And remember, you may be able to remedy minor issues with mold, but with more widespread or serious mold cases, it’s important to call professional mold remediators to remedy the issue.

How to get rid of cigarette smell in apartments

If you find your prior tenant smoked in the unit, you’ll need to get rid of the lingering scent of smoke in the unit. That said, getting rid of cigarette and nicotine smells can be incredibly challenging. The smell of cigarette smoke gets everywhere—and it can be problematic when trying to rent out your unit to a nonsmoker.

But, it’s not just the stench of stale smoke you have to contend with at your rental property. Cigarette smoke odors contain nicotine residue, which can create serious health issues associated with third-hand smoke. That’s true for any tenant but is especially true for children or adults with severe allergies or other preexisting health conditions.

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