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Every home is full of different smells – some better than others. From laundry detergent and air fresheners to dirty bathrooms and cat litter than needs to be changed, and everything in between. We tend to gloss over these familiar scents and categorize them as either pleasant or unpleasant. Obviously the unpleasant ones need to be taken care of – take out the trash, clean the bathroom, etc.

However, there are some other smells you might not even be aware of around your home unless you take the time to do a bit of digging. You may be tempted to write these smells off or cover them up with more air fresheners, but that could be a dangerous mistake. Let’s take a look at 5 dangerous smells that should never be ignored.

Musty Smell


“Musty” probably conjures up images of mothballs and second-hand stores, but if your kitchen, bathroom, or basement has a musty scent, it could be mold. Check the areas for water damage, especially around the sink, toilet, and dishwasher. The mold could be close to the source or scattered in the walls and flooring, depending on how big the leak is.

There are a few different kinds of molds most commonly found in homes. Check out this article for more details and when to call in an expert for removal.

Burning Smell


Typically when you smell smoke, you’re aware of a fire and the need to get out and get to safety. Or, at the very least, check the oven to make sure the cookies aren’t burning. But there are more subtle ways a fire can start in your home – the most common being the electrical wiring of the house.

For electrical fires, smoke often isn’t the first smell that indicates something is wrong. You might smell burning plastic, like if a plugin is melting as shown by the photo above. It might even smell like cooking marshmallows over the fire – a pleasant smell on its own, but not so much if you don’t have a campfire around! It may seem obvious, but should still be stated – don’t try to mess with the electrical wiring yourself if you’re not a professional! These things get out of hand fast, and you do not want to mess around with a house fire.

Smelly Bathroom

Public Domain

Sure, bathrooms are going to smell from time to time. There’s just nothing that can be done except clean and air out the room. However, if you notice persistent and overwhelming sewer smell, especially after cleaning the bathroom, you may have an issue. This is an indicator of a sewage backup.

Aside from the obnoxious smell, sewage backups also cause dangerous amounts of methane to build up, which could contribute to a house fire or other dangerous and damaging things. This is another instance where you really should call a professional instead of working on it yourself.

Wet Dog Smell

Dog owners are familiar with the wet dog smell. It’s kind of musty, kind of earthy, with a hint of bad breath. Or maybe that’s just my dog. Either way, if your dog is clean (or if you don’t have a dog!!) and you still get a whiff of that wet dog smell, it’s time to do some investigating.

Unfortunately, the wet dog smell – or sometimes identified as a rotting meat smell – could mean you have rodents decomposing in your walls. It’s unpleasant, to say the least, but certainly a problem you want to take care of sooner rather than later!

Rotten Egg Smell


I know you know exactly the smell I’m talking about. Sulfer and rotten eggs are so infamous, they’re practically synonymous with “bad smell.” There are a few reasons this shouldn’t be ignored, aside from the fact that it’s unpleasant. First, rotten egg smell can indicate a backup in your garbage disposal. This would cause rotting food and other gross smells to be released, even after cleaning the sink and kitchen.

The other, more serious thing it could indicate is a buildup of sewer gas in your plumbing system. If you have a sump pump in your basement, you’ll want to be on high alert for the rotten egg smell, as you don’t want the sewage to leak into your water supply!

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