My shed stinks!
We hear that alot. Maybe it was because someone used to smoke in it, or because it has had mold issues for years. Or maybe, you have a few cats and they tend to leave a cat urine gift in the dark corner. Or maybe you have a mouse problem in your shed, and what you smell is them.
Every odor is a little different. If you’re asking yourself how to get rid of odor, you have to ask another question in reply: What kind of odor are we talking about? With that question answered you can then tailor your cleaning strategy appropriately.
Best Steps Toward Eliminating Shed or Garage Odors
Identify and remove any obvious causes of the odor.
The first step in getting rid of any smell or odor is going to be getting to the root of the problem and removing it. If you saw the event that caused the odor then it shouldn’t be too hard to figure out what to do next. But sometimes smells and odors are sneaky. In the case of some pet odors the odor-causing agent might permeate a fabric or carpeted surface and dry without leaving a stain. This happens specifically if the cat/dog happens to use a corner that you don’t often go into. Mildewy smells are usually related to excessive humidity or leaking water. Or perhaps the car that you park in your garage has a leak you don’t see. In the worst cases, both of these examples might require removing material and replacing it.
Wash the area to get rid of odors.
One of the things about living in a consumerist society is that there is a product for every problem. Some might argue that this isn’t a good thing. It just means we have a lot of choices when we decide to clean something. For most odors scrubbing with a basic detergent will do the job quite nicely. Some other options include power washing, steam cleaning, enzymatic cleaners, oxygen-based washes, and bleach solutions. With all of these it is important to rehydrate the area, scrub it around, and then rinse and remove the odor-producing substance. A wet/dry vacuum cleaner might be helpful in this situation.
Ventilation will help to get the odor out of your shed or garage and keep an area dry.
This should go without saying. A lot of odors in our houses could be eliminated with a little more airflow. This is tough in the winter months, but there is little that is more refreshing than cracking a couple of windows on a nice day. Things get stale and stagnant when there is no airflow. It can also make certain areas of our houses warmer and wetter than others, which increases the potential for mildew growth. This is also true for areas that could soak up liquids and dry slowly. You could go from getting rid of one smell to creating a new one, so be careful.
For this reason, if anyone is ever building a new shed, we always recommend including multiple windows. The cross air flow can really help get rid of odors.
Ionizing air filtration and ozone machines can be an effective way to reduce smells and odors.
Although these two styles of products are often mentioned in the same breath, they are actually quite different. The air filtration machines, ionizing or otherwise, work by drawing air in one end, forcing it through a filter to remove particulates, and letting it out the other end clean as a whistle. Ozone machines create a form of oxygen that likes to bond to stuff in the air and leaves it chemically un-smelly. Both machines require maintenance and the gas created by an ozone machine, in high concentration, can be unhealthy for living things—so follow the directions. If you want to try an ionic air purifier, you can check out the Envion Therapure Ionic Air Purifier at Amazon.
Masking with deodorizers doesn’t really get rid of odors.
However, deodorizers can make life tolerable. I tend to burn a lot of incense and scented candles when I’m home because I prefer those smells to the odor of stale mastiff fart (I have four). Some people also like the fruity plug-in fragrance dispensers or the flowery aerosol spray, but either I find them overpowering or they do a poor job of masking the odor. If you are able to find the source of the smell, remove it, clean the area, and then keep the air around it moving. Most odors should be eliminated by doing this. Unless of course they’re leaking out of your dog’s rear end.
Besides, who wants their lawnmower shed to smell like flowers?
Professional Odor Removal
Unless you are dealing with something like a dead body, sewage backup, damage from floods, or cleaning up after a hoarder, most odors can be eliminated with a little bit of detective work and elbow grease. However, we always have the option of calling in somebody else to do the job for us. A quick glance through your yellow pages should yield a couple of options for you to investigate. Be sure to ask if they have experience cleaning up odors similar to the ones you have, and make sure they’re insured/bonded. Also insist on getting a quote for their estimated costs as sometimes services like this can get quite expensive.
Natural Odor Removal
This little box of wonder is great for absorbing odors in enclosed spaces like cabinets and refrigerators. It can also be used as an odor absorber on the floor. Sprinkle it all over your floors and in dark, unfinished corners, and let it sit for a half hour or so, then vacuum it up. For this, you may need a bit of baking soda, so we’d recommend the 4lb box of Arm & Hammer from Amazon.
For stains and odors that have a base in something biological like proteins, carbohydrates, and lipids, enzymatic cleaners and their odor-eating bacteria are effective at breaking those stains and odors down into smaller parts that are easier to remove.
It is the base for about a hundred DIY cleaning solutions. It’s cheap and effective at removing stains and odors. Use in tandem with ammonia, water, and washing soda to make a great cleaner for removing stubborn odors like cigarette smoke.