The garage is one of the most useful spaces in your home. Though often viewed as merely a safe storage area for vehicles and a catch-all for items that can't be stored in the home, a little garage remodeling can quickly turn this space into a man-cave, fitness room, home office or kids' playroom. But even the best garage makeovers may suffer from strange and lingering odors (it is, after all, still a garage). So how can you freshen up a stinky garage and keep it smelling good?
The garage can be home to you vehicles, your "toys"
and other treasured items... as well as a number of bad smells.
What's the Stink?
Before you can eliminate an odor, you must identify it. Smells in a garage may be caused by a variety of things, with garbage cans or bags the most common culprit. Sink and floor drains can also be the source of strange smells. If the garage space tends to be damp or has pour air circulation, you may have a chronic mildew issue.
The things that are in the garage may also cause it to stink. Paint, lawn chemicals, and cleaning solutions can release fumes that linger in the air. If the garage is home to any pets, their litter, bedding and kennels may smell.
Your best friend may be the source or your garage's worst smells.
So Fresh and So Clean!
Now that you've identified the source of the odor in your garage, it's time to get rid of it. Begin by moving everything from the area where the smell is originating from, then clean and deodorize. Use an all-purpose cleaner to scrub the area, preferably with a disinfectant. Allow it to dry very well before putting anything back in the area. If mildew is an issue, clean the area with a solution of water and bleach. The bleach will kill the mildew and mold, and may also remove the tell-tale stain they leave behind.
If garbage cans are the source of the smell, scrub them out with cleaning solution. Make sure that the lids seal tightly and, if necessary, relocate the garbage cans in the garage, preferably as close to the garage doors as possible.
The garbage can should be cleaned regularly and the lid kept tightly on.
Drains in the garage, whether in a sink or in the floor, can be easily cleaned out and deodorized. Baking soda makes a very good deodorizer and can be safely used on a regular basis to keep the drains smelling good.
Get Some Air!
If the source of the smell in your garage is something like paint fumes, cleaning solutions, or pet odors, improving the ventilation in the space may be the solution. Poor air circulation can also contribute to conditions such as mold and mildew, so improving air flow can eliminate garage smells all the way around.
Ceiling-mounted ventilation system or fan can keep air circulating and bad smells at bay.
A ceiling fan or wall-mounted heating and cooling system can address the issues of poor air flow as well as irregular temperatures.
Keep the Stink Out!
Now that you have gotten rid of the smells in your garage, the trick is to keep them out. Keep the temperature and moisture levels stable and normal to discourage the growth of mildew and mold. Improve the ventilation with a fan or other air flow system. Contain garbage in secure cans. Check cabinets regularly for anything that might cause odor problems, such as leaking cans or bottles, or spoiled food.
Air fresheners can help to keep the space smelling good, but may also cover-up smells. Stick with fresheners such as kitty litter, which will absorb moisture and odors, or baking soda, which will help eliminate smells. Activate charcoal is another great odor absorber.
Air fresheners, such as baking soda, can help to keep eliminated smells from coming back.
Enjoy Your Sweet-Smelling Garage
The garage is a place where you work, play and relax. It houses your vehicles, your toys, your "stuff". It is part of your home, and no one wants their home to smell bad. If your garage is smelling less than savory, taking a few steps to clean and neutralize the odors will make your garage the inviting place it was once more.
Gabriella Messina is an author who has written online content on a variety of subjects, including interior design and maintenance, budget renovations and garage makeovers.