In search of ways to get rid of old-home smell

in
Atlanta, GA
Level 3
374 Views

My Airbnb is a 55 year old property which in and of itself packs a lot of charm / personality.  The thing is, it also comes with a slight old-home smell, which I'd like to get rid of (that's been mentioned, in fact in more than one review). . I use an ozone machine, & open the windows but I still need something to bring in a layer of freshness. Anyone with older / historic Airbnb's have any ideas?  I don't love the artificial smelling plug ins and/or incense . Luckily the holidays allows for the pleasant scents from the Carolina Cypress Christmas tree and wreaths to float throughout the property, but other times of the year, I'm stuck . .

 

Thanks

Jean

26 Replies

Re: In search of ways to get rid of old-home smell

in
Sayulita, Mexico
Level 10

@Jean118  I read your reviews and couldn't find one that mentioned "old home smell". You have wonderful reviews that talk about how great the place and your hosting is. Did guests tell you this in private feedback?

 

I see you have a lot of carpets and upholstered furniture- maybe this is what is retaining odors?

 

You're quite right about air fresheners, scents should never be used in an Airbnb. No plug-ins, no diffusers, no incense. What may be a pleasant scent to one person may smell terrible to another.

Re: In search of ways to get rid of old-home smell

in
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Level 2

@Jean118 @Sarah977 , Sarah you are so right.  Jean if you get rid of them it will definitely help or send them to laundry to wash. 

After I experienced this problem, I washed a few times which was expensive then finally decided  to get rid of my floor carpets and rugs. And it worked. 
Besides you can try using candles. The smells last very long and works like magic for odor. 

Re: In search of ways to get rid of old-home smell

in
Daylesford, Australia
Level 10

I love how you describe the property in the listing, certainly works for me. In regards to fresh smell, some flowers and plants along with manic beating of all textiles that cannot be washed should do it.

Re: In search of ways to get rid of old-home smell

in
Atlanta, GA
Level 3

That review was actually on VRBO

Property manager took a screenshot of the comment

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Re: In search of ways to get rid of old-home smell

in
Sayulita, Mexico
Level 10

@Jean118   What that looks like is a review from an entitled guest who didn't read the listing information. 

 

You don't need to take those sort of outlier reviews to heart and make changes. Those types will always find something to complain about.

 

But I would suggest that you get any upholstered furniture professionally cleaned, as well as the carpets, and wash down undersink cupboards, etc, with some bleach solution, if you actually detect some musty smell yourself. 

Re: In search of ways to get rid of old-home smell

in
Berlin, Germany
Level 10

@Jean118  If the culprit is something fabric like curtains, the smell will be strongest at close range. But if you're just getting a general whiff of something musty and ambient, that sounds like mold growth in somewhere just out of sight.

 

 I notice that you're in a relatively humid city, and your home appears to have central A/C and heating. With that combo in mind, I'd have the ventilation ducts and filters checked for mold and accumulated dust.

Re: In search of ways to get rid of old-home smell

in
Mount Barker, Australia
Level 10

@Jean118 

Jean, you have to make an attribute out of what you offer! Not many of us have an endless swimmer outside the entry door, or a manicured golf course through a gate in the rear boundary fence. If your house has character, promote it.

I have a library of a bit over 1,000 books, some of them dating back more than a century and I can tell you.....old books smell musty. I say to guests...."You may or may not be offended by the smell but it's a fact of life old books smell. I have a choice, get rid of the books or have guests put up with the smell, which would you prefer?"

Jean, they all say it's fine the way it is! I don't bother to spray an air freshener, guest regard that smell as part of the experience just the same as they do when they roam through the rose garden and smell the fragrance from the roses.

IMG20181027191633.jpg

 

Jean, it's what makes your listing, promote your 'charm and personality'!!

 

Cheers.........Rob

Re: In search of ways to get rid of old-home smell

in
Atlanta, GA
Level 3

Beatiful roses!

Re: In search of ways to get rid of old-home smell

in
Frederick, MD
Level 10

@Jean118  as a self-confessed old house nerd and historic architecture buff, I am familiar with what you speak of.  We own 3 properties currently, but have owned as many as 6 at once, and none of them younger than 1929. 

 

Candles are your friends. We swear by the DW Home "Richly Scented" brand of soy candle. You can get them online and surplus at TJ Maxx, Marshalls, etc.  Go with a vanilla base-- that seems to "cling" more than a lot of floral scents and smells like something delicious baking.

 

Make sure your exhaust fan works in the kitchen and leave it running for a half hour while you clean. Same with ceiling fans and bathroom fans. Open your windows every time you turn over.

 

Boil vinegar on the stove and let the fumes dissipate.

 

Replace or get rid of old carpets they are often the biggest culprit of trapping scents.

 

Consider an ionizing air filter system if all else fails. 

Re: In search of ways to get rid of old-home smell

in
Pensacola, FL
Level 10

@Jean118 I looked at the property and its so lovely. But I'm confused on one listing its Smoking is allowed.....the other no smoking. So folks smoking will make any place and all fabrics not smell lovely. You say you use an Ozone machine and such.....like @Andrew0  says check for mold, check vents but I wouldn't be allowing Smoking!! Esp. when its 6 ppl staying....wow, imagine all of them chain smoking for the week/week end. 

Also, cheap white vinegar lightly boiled / heated up in bowls in every room will help, provided there's no mold or such.  Usually it will take away the worst of smells within 30 mins. Good luck, Clara

 

Re: In search of ways to get rid of old-home smell

in
NY, NY
Level 10

@Jean118  You’ve gotten a ton of great advice that I’m sure you’ll follow - get ducts cleaned as @Andrew0 said and make distilled white vinegar your friend as @Laura2592 and @Clara116 said.  At my apartment I also have a scent machine.  It and the cartridges are expensive but for what it’s worth, here’s a link to a good one for the home:  https://scentairhome.com/Catalog#!/c/p/Results/Format/grid/Page/1/Size/9/Sort/Relevance?category=Dif...

The scents offered are delicate and unobtrusive, unlike the cheap ones @Sarah977 mentioned.  I got one because I had stayed at a hotel that used one and I loved walking in to the light diffused scent.

Re: In search of ways to get rid of old-home smell

in
Zagreb, Croatia
Level 10

@Jean118  my Airbnb is in the building built at 1880 🙂  I don't have any diffusers, candles, vents... just windows and no problem at all.

 

I grow up in a building from 1900 with antique furniture and old, Persian carpets... no smell

 

The only apartment I had problems with the smell is one on the ground floor when it wasn't aired properly and the mold has built up.  When we dried and repainted the walls and bought a hygrometer and a dehumidifier to control the moisture (has to be under 60%) there is no smell anymore. So I would agree with @Andrew0 , I also think the mold could be the problem

 

 

 

 

Re: In search of ways to get rid of old-home smell

in
NY, NY
Level 10

No candles, one pillow (I remember that from a few years ago) - your Old-World old-school approach is always bracing and delightful @Branka-and-Silvia0 

 

I’m at a hotel right now and won’t tell you how many pillows I’m using (yes, of course I called down for more!).  And I’ve already asked where I can buy the scent they use in the lobby 😆😁😂

 

But you are right, this sounds much less like a smell issue than a damp issue.  I keep buckets of Damp Rid in my Maine basement at all times.  It really works wonders.

Re: In search of ways to get rid of old-home smell

in
Zagreb, Croatia
Level 10

@Ann72  How many? 😄

Btw, we give 2 pillows, not just 1 and nobody asked for more yet  🙂

 

I use an electric dehumidifier in that ground floor apartment when the weather is very humid and it is great, in 1 hour it drops the humidity by 10%  ( 50 sqm apartment) and this is usually enough to keep the place dry the entire day. Whoever has a humidity problem I recommend buying one. It is worth every penny

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