We've assumed there are a couple of factors at play:
Lack of Ventilation
When we're home, we tend to have lots of open windows with fans blowing, thus airing out the house. When we're on vacation, the house is shut up tight. There's no air circulation and no fresh air from outside.
There's no way to sugar coat this one. Pets smell. It's a fact. If I get close enough to our living room rug, it smells like our dog. I treat it with baking soda once in a while, but not nearly often enough. We also have a litter box for our two cats. It's covered, kept in the utility room and we change it frequently, but it still smells. Worse, as I've posted before, one of our cats is naughty and pees outside the litter box sometimes.
This time, we were on vacation for 10 days and asked our pet sitters to keep the cats outside as much as possible. It helped. I didn't smell cat urine when we walked in after our long drive.
Still, it took a bit longer for the general odor to dissipate even without the cat odor. I swore it was worse in the kitchen than anywhere. Turns out, I might be right.
According to a Yahoo! article by C. Jeanne Heida called Why Does My House Smell?, exhaust fans and drains may be a source of odor.
I'm embarrassed to say that I've never cleaned the mesh screen on our hood vent. It never occurred to me that this could be a source of odor. But, it makes sense. There has to be old grease and other particles trapped in there.
Drains tend to be breeding grounds for odor-causing bacteria. Heida suggests we pour boiling water down our drains on a regular basis. I think I should do this before we leave on vacation the next time. It'll only take a few extra minutes and could help make a difference in odor control.
|Could this be the source of your household odor? Photo courtesy of Griet49 at Morguefile.|
It's not the kind of thing people admit. But, here's an article that makes me feel a bit better from The Wolfe Realty Group's website called Vacant House Smell. They've got a few tips for real estate agents to deal with house odors in vacant, closed-up houses, including running a lemon through the garbage disposal.
Anyone else deal with house odor after a vacation? What do you do to prevent it? Or, do you just deal with it when you get home and hope the pet sitter doesn't notice it?