First Response Odour Removal Guide

Foul odours in the home are off putting at best, and hazardous to your health at worst. Learn about common odour issues and how to deal with them.

Contact Us

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Odour Removal for
Health & Happiness

There is nothing more off putting than a foul odour. When it comes to your home, bad odours can make living uncomfortable for you, your family and your guests. Odours can be subtle but noticeable, pungent and overpowering and anything in between. In some cases, these odours are a mere inconvenience. However, sometimes odours in your home could be an indicator of a more serious issue that could have a negative impact on your health. In any case, it is important to know how to identify these underlying causes and how to properly eliminate them to improve air quality and the smell of your home. In many cases, you can handle this yourself. For larger odour issues that are harder to fix, and are potentially hazardous to your health, a professional odour removal company like First Response is your best option.

woman experiencing bad odours in her home
person in hazmat suit extreme cleaning

Sources of Foul Odours

There is no shortage of sources for bad odours in your home. All you need to do to find them is to follow your nose. To make your search easier, check these things to see if the odour is stronger to find the source.


Many kitchen appliances and items can be a breeding ground for mould, mildew and bacteria that can cause foul odours. Be sure to check the following things in your kitchen:


A dishwasher that sees regular use is a breeding ground for mould, mildew and rotting bits of food. Make sure to wipe down the interior of the dishwasher periodically, and run a normal cycle with a small bowl of white vinegar in the lower rack while the dishwasher is empty to clean and destroy odours in the parts that you can’t reach. First Response often deals with dishwashers that are filled with dirty dishes that haven’t been washed in months or even years and contain massive colonies of mould and bacteria.

Woman cleaning the filter of a dishwasher
Woman removing trash bag from a trash bin

Garbage Containers & Garbage Disposal Units

Garbage containers, even with bags in them can gather all sorts of sticky food particles, liquids and grease over time. This is an environment that bacteria loves. Be sure to clean your garbage cans regularly to keep odours away. If you have a garbage disposal unit in your sink, then the area on and under the blades needs to be cleaned as well. Using cleaning tablets regularly will keep your garbage disposal unit clean and odour free.


The fridge is a common place for odours to come from, especially if the fridge isn’t clean. Keeping some baking soda in the fridge can help, but if the odour gets too strong, then a more rigorous cleaning will be required. Make sure any spills are cleaned up, throw away spoiled food and wipe down the interior periodically. If the smell in your fridge is extremely persistent, place some activated charcoal in there to neutralize the smell. Seriously neglected fridges, and fridges in drug labs or crime scenes often contain biohazardous materials or dangerous chemicals which First Response is specially equipped to handle.

Thorough cleaning of a refridgerator
Dirty plumbing under the sink

Mould Under the Sink

Odours can come from under the sink if your plumbing has sprung a leak recently. The darkness of the space combined with the moisture from the plumbing is a recipe for black mould to form. Check the area and if you see any black mould there, don’t try and clean it yourself. Contact First Response for mould removal services. This is a common source of mould in a hoarder’s home or a seriously neglected space.

Living Room

Most living rooms have plenty of soft fabrics that can trap and emit odours in a number of ways.


Carpets take a real beating in your living room. Everyday dirt, pet hair, dander, and urine, food and drink spills, or cigarette or cannabis smoke easily gets trapped in carpeting and allows mould and bacteria to grow and emit a bad odour. Regular vacuuming is important, but it is also important to have a professional carpet cleaning service give your carpet a deep cleaning at least once a year to eliminate those persistent odours. Drug labs, and hoarder homes require especially thorough cleaning, or replacement of carpets to eliminate odours.

Before and after vacuuming line on a carpet
homeowner covers up odor on furniture with chemicals


Fabric curtains are notorious odour traps. These odours can come from outside if your windows are open, or they can be caused by smoke, food odours, or pet odours. Having your curtains cleaned periodically will help keep your living room smelling nice.


Fabric upholstery on furniture trap odours from food and drink spills, body odours, pet odours as well as smoke odours. These fabrics also need a deep cleaning at least once a year to remain odour free. In most cases that First Response deals with, furniture is too damaged to save with odour removal and needs to be replaced.


You may think a hard surface couldn’t be the source of a bad odour, but you would be wrong. If you smoke cigarettes or cannabis indoors, the smoke can adhere to the paint or wall paper, causing unsightly stains and trapping the odour so it remains in the room. Smoking should be done outdoors to avoid this, and if there is a smoke odour in your living room, then contacting a cleaning service that specializes in odour removal like First Response is your best option remedy the odour. Drug labs that store and use dangerous chemicals often have odours trapped in the walls that only a company like First Response can fix.

A man smokes a cigarette indoors, leading to extreme and difficult to remove odors in the home.
Dirty Bedsheets


The bedroom is another place where odour trapping fabrics are commonly found. If you are experiencing a foul odour in your bedroom, look at these potential culprits.

Bed Sheets

Bed sheets absorb body oils and sweat and are a breeding ground for mould and bacteria if not cleaned regularly. Sheets should be washed once per week using hot water to kill any bacteria, especially if the person sleeping in the bed has been sick. Hoarding cases often have odour issues with bed sheets (if they are even being used at all) which leads to issues with our next culprit.


Mattresses are also notorious for trapping odours, especially if bed sheets aren’t changed and washed regularly. Lab tests from 7 year old mattresses found more than 16 million colony-forming units of bacteria per square inch. Mattresses should be replaced every 5 years, and should have a professional deep cleaning at least once a year to keep it clean and odour free. Hoarding cases often have very old and poorly kept mattresses. In some cases, we can give the mattress a deep cleaning to remove odours, but sometimes replacement is the only option.

Vacuuming a mattress
Very Dirty & Dated Bathroom


The primary causes for bad odours in the bathroom are mould and mildew. Cleaning your toilet, sink and shower weekly is the best way to prevent these odours from getting worse. Better yet, regular cleaning will also keep black mould from growing in your bathroom. It is the room with the greatest amount of moisture, so if you don’t clean it regularly, you will eventually have black mould grow in there that will need mould remediation services to fix. In extreme cases, bathrooms could be covered in biohazardous fecal matter that requires biohazard cleanup services to remedy.

Laundry Room

Odours in the laundry room usually come from a front-load washing machine. These machines need proper maintenance to remain odour free. Moisture can get trapped in the door seal and detergent drawer which allows foul smelling mould and mildew to grow. Leaving the door and detergent drawer slightly open after a wash cycle will allow it to dry out and prevent mould and mildew from growing, and cleaning your washing machine with cleaning tablets will help keep it smelling fresh.

Clean Washing Machine
Dirty Basement Full of Mold & Smelly Odours


Unfinished basements often have musty smells. Since the furnace, and hot water tank are usually found here, there is no shortage of moisture in the basement of an unfinished basement. If you experience a leak in your hot water tank, the moisture will likely lead to mould growing in the nooks and crannies of the space. This is the leading cause of musty smells in the basement and need the assistance of a mould removal company to properly address. In the extreme cases handled by First Response, we often find hazardous chemicals used in drug labs, and biohazardous objects in crime scenes.

Improve Air Quality & Eliminate Odours

The thing about odours is that they are essentially airborne particles that come from mould, bacteria, smoke, and other sources. Treating the source of the odour is only the first step towards eliminating the odours from your home. Finish the job with a professional indoor air quality treatment from First Response to fully eliminate any odours from your home. We will also test your air quality to see if there are any odour-causing issues you may have missed. Our services are guaranteed to find and eliminate any odours in your home. Diligent cleaning and maintenance will help, but sometimes a professional service is needed. Hoarding cleanup, drug lab cleanup, biohazard cleaning and crime scene cleanup needs to be handled by cleaning professionals to ensure the space is clean, odour free and save for living again. Contact First Response today to see how we can help!

a woman sitting on the couch enjoying the clean, fresh air

First Response Can Test For & Eliminate Any Odour

With a wide variety of pollutants that can cause foul odours and affect your health, it’s important to trust a company that can test for, and deal with any and all of them. Improving indoor air quality is not a DIY job.

First Response Cleaning is Eastern Ontario’s leader in air quality testing and remediation. If you are experiencing any symptoms like the ones described here, then don’t wait. Contact us today to have your air quality tested and cleaned!


Client Testimonials

Client Picture Placeholder

“Timothy B.”

Ryan and his team were excellent to work with. Ryan answered all our questions and concerns with great detail and always had time for us.

Timothy B.

Google Review
Client Picture Placeholder

“Frederic B.”

They were punctual and courteous and patient. We would definitely use this company in the future should need be.

Frederic B.

Google Review
Client Picture Placeholder

“Sue P.”

They were amazing to deal with and professional. We are happy to suggest them to anyone who needs help with mold.

Sue P.

Google Review
Client Picture Placeholder

Julie D.

Ryan was able to address my questions and concerns. It was nice to deal with a business that’s quick to respond and willing to accommodate customer needs.

Julie D.

Google Review
Client Picture Placeholder

Matt P.

Big thank you to Ryan and his team! I hope I never need mold clean up again, but if I do, I’ll be calling First Response!

Matt P.

Google Review
Client Picture Placeholder

Patrick L.

I would recommend them to anybody who is in need of their services. They made a tough time easier to deal with.

Patrick L.

Google Review

Our Ontario Indoor Air Quality Testing Service Areas

Contact Us

First Response is Ottawa & Eastern Ontario’s extreme deep cleaning service. We are IICRC and ABRA certified crime scene cleaning specialists and have the experience, expertise and equipment you need.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.