London, United Kingdom Online Community Manager
We recently had guests stay for the weekend who, when I met them on arrival, seemed very nice. ( Mum, Dad, kid and Grandmother)
However after they left on the Sunday, I went in to strip beds and get towels etc, and the most repulsive smell was in the guesthouse. I’m a nurse and have a strong stomach, but the smell was so disgusting I was gagging as I ran to open windows.
it took a week of airing the house out, washing everything possible (bed skirts, mattress protectors etc) and shampooing the rugs to get the smell out. Thankfully we didn’t have back to back guests, as there was no way the house was habitable with the stench as it was.
So…what do I do in future if this happens? It was not a cooking smell (there was nothing in the trash or recycling that could account for the smell) so putting up signage about cooking fish etc wouldn’t have helped in this case. I didn’t say anything to the guests…how do you say to someone that they smell like they are decomposing?
can I refuse them as guests if they try to return without being penalized? Does anyone know of a way to get rid of smells that doesn’t take a week and involve washing absolutely everything including carpets?
A friend told me about an ionizing machine to remove smells. Anyone know about these? I worry about them being bad for the environment.
Any help or suggestions gratefully received.
I put white vinegar in a bowl and set it out in the offensive-smelling areas. Not only does it work, it’s cheap too. Here’s a link for different uses for vinegar.
Thanks for the suggestion Gwen, but I did put 4 large bowls of vinegar in for 5 days and it made no difference at all. I have used vinegar in the past, and it does help, but sadly not this time. :frowning_face:
Good morning @Sarah4643 ,
Heat one cup of vinegar in a pot on your stove. Do not use high heat. A very low simmer. The steam from the pot will freshen the air while you tidy up the house.
Another tip, pour a half-cup of vinegar right out of the bottle into a bowl, place the bowl in the refrigerator, or cupboard or closet, etc. if guests leave an odor behind.
Hi Deb. Thanks for the suggestion of putting vinegar on the stove…I’ll try that next time ( hoping never a next time!)
I did put vinegar in the fridge, but it wasn’t a food smell it was a body smell so it did t help.
Hey Sarah, people can and do generate some ferocious smells. I was sure
two lovely lady guests seemed to have been cooking 'road kill ' an one time, it took me days to rid the house of the smell. On another occaisson a guest seemed to have ordered up every garlic dish on the menu and spent the time eating in bed and wiping her hands on the pillows and vintage quilts, this took a while also . curry , certain types of curry can often linger beyond comprehension . These are the hazards and they make you want to charge for extra cleaning but everyone smells in one way or another,no matter what they think , so maybe an ozone machine is a good idea. H
Hi Helen, yes all people have their own smells, and I’m sorry that you have had to deal with some dreadful ones too. As a nurse for over 30 years, I have never smelt anything as dreadful as the one left in my guesthouse, and it wasn’t food related, so I think I will have to invest in an ozone machine. :frowning_face:
@Helen744 Your answer made me think of a movie I saw years ago. I think the comedian was Richard Pryor on his first visit to Africa. He got into a taxi at the airport and as they were on the way to his hotel, he wound his window down and stuck his head out the window, saying, “pee-ew, what is that funky smell? Do Africans not put on deodorant?” At the same time, the African had his window wound down with his head out the window saying, “pee-ew, what is that funky smell? Do Americans just slather on cologne?
I never laughed so loud and for so long. Tears were streaming down my face.
So true! Funny thing was that when they arrived they complimented me on how clean and beautifully smelling the guesthouse was! I spend hours cleaning after guests…and truly the house was uninhabitable for days.
you need an Ozone machine, they are amazing! they do absolutely get rid of smells, usually in 1-2 hours. They have some serious rules to be followed as o3 is dangerous, but once you follow the instructions you will love it. It's not bad for the environment and afterwards it kinda smells like a thunderstorm, but somehow also neutral.
Also, you could charge guests if you have to use the machine, say $100, and you'd have it paid off in 2 events. I've only charged for it once, but have used it 4 times this year following sneaky smoking guests.
I always have to suspect a decomposing rabbit, rat or possum in these situations.
Thanks for this suggestion. I have a similar problem, but not from a rental guest. I had family members living with me for 18 months. They've been gone for over a year and I still sometimes smell them in the guestroom. 😞 I think I'll get an ozone machine.
hi Gillian… I’m thinking this may be the only option I have.
Our guesthouse is brand new so it’s doubtful we have any decomposing animals in it…and I searched for anything that could be the cause. Even went through the trash like a CSI agent!
@Gillian166 Technically low altitude Ozone IS bad for the environment but I suspect the quantity produced by an Ozone machine for a couple of hours is less harmful compared to say leaving windows open for days in the winter.
@Mike-And-Jane0 just googling that
"Elevated exposures to ozone can affect sensitive vegetation and ecosystems, including forests, parks, wildlife refuges and wilderness areas. In particular, ozone can harm sensitive vegetation during the growing season."
so if it's in a room with a pongy smell and you run it for 1 hour, how does it effect forests and wildlife?
here's some info (but as i'm not a scientist i can't say it's correct):
As ozone is created it floats freely in the air and water. By nature it is an unstable molecule and has a half-life of approximately 20 minutes. Shortly after ozone is created it begins to break back down. It will cast off the first ozone atom, which will recombine with either another oxygen atom, reverting back to simple Oxygen (O2), or it will recombine with another gaseous element forming an inert gas losing all of its odor characteristics.
If this is true, it's not really doing any harm in your living room situation.
There's people in society who have private medical matters who also have the joys of a bag attached to their bodies for toileting purposes.
Not everyone is so fortunate in life to go through life in a breeze.
Perhaps your Guest was one such person who is carrying a Bag attached to their body and they didn't wish to disclose such a personal matter.
These people are also sensitive to the smells they carry around with them.
Write it off as a lesson in life and be thankful for the life you are blessed with.
All the best
Hi Helen…thanks for your reply. As a nurse with over 30 years of ER and ICU experience, I am well aware of colostomies and ileostomies. This was not the smell…I actually think it was a fungating wound (which is in essence, a wound where the flesh is decomposing. A dreadful diagnosis to have but it still left me with an uninhabitable guest space for a week. Thankfully I didn’t have my usual back to back guests, I certainly would not have stayed in a place that smelt so disgusting, and would have demanded my money back.