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Getting your bedroom to smell nice and fresh is one of the actions we recommended in our ‘how to turn your bedroom into a sleep sanctuary’ guide. A smelly and stuffy bedroom can actually keep you from getting good sleep.
But getting rid of bad odors can be tough especially if you cannot figure out exactly where it’s coming from. Is it your old mattress, the laundry basket in the corner, the adjacent bathroom, or is there a dead rat under my bed?
In this post, we put on our detective hat and help you figure out why your bedroom smells plus what you can do about it. If you still can’t catch the culprit, leave a comment and we’ll try and help you.
Common Sources of Bad Odors In The Bedroom (and How to Deal With Them)
1. Your Bedding
If your bedroom is smelling, the first place to check is the bed. Because it’s the one place we come into contact with for prolonged periods, it’s easy for odors to develop when we leave our sweat, oils, body fluids and dead skin cells on the sheets.
The mattress, pillow and sheets are perfect places for odor-causing bacteria to thrive.
What to do:
- Wash your bedding regularly - at least once a week.
- Deodorize your mattress often by spreading baking soda on it then vacuuming it.
- Air your mattress daily to keep it dry and fresh.
- Get antimicrobial bedding such as our Jax Sheets or comforter. Bacteria doesn't grow on antimicrobial bedding, so they don't smell even if you go for weeks without washing them.
- Get a waterproof mattress protector. It will protect your mattress from dirt, stains and fluids that can make it smelly.
2. Upholstery, Carpets and Curtains
Soft surfaces like upholstery or curtains are very good at absorbing and holding onto odors. They can also get smelly if the humidity is high.
What to do: Air your bedroom daily by opening the windows. This prevents odors from building up in soft surfaces and also dries any damp surfaces. Vacuuming the curtains, rugs and upholstery will also help keep them smelling great.
3. The Bathroom
If your bathroom doesn’t have good ventilation, it will smell musty and it will stink up your bedroom too. Over time, all that dampness can encourage mold and mildew to grow, making your bedroom even smellier.
What to do:
- Get a window or wall exhaust fan for the bathroom to help keep it dry.
- Place a dehumidifier in the bedroom and open the door to the bathroom.
- Open bedroom windows to help drive out the moisture. Make sure you keep the bathroom door open.
- Place activated charcoal around the bathroom and bedroom to absorb excess moisture and odors.
The bathroom is not always to blame if your bedroom smells musty or earthy. There could be mold or mildew right inside your bedroom.
What to do:
- Locate where the mold is and clean it up using baking soda and vinegar.
- Next, figure out what’s causing the mold. It could be a water leak, poor ventilation or moisture from the bathroom.
- Find the best way to reduce humidity in your bedroom. Ideas include opening the windows and turning on a fan to get rid of moisture, using a dehumidifier or using activated charcoal.
5. Dirty Laundry/Shoes
Your laundry basket could be stinking up your bedroom. Dirty clothes are full of sweat, dirt and bacteria that release all kinds of odors.
Dirty shoes can also stink up your bedroom especially if they are not breathable or if you have sweaty feet.
What to do: Find another location to put your dirty laundry and shoes. If you have to keep the laundry basket in the bedroom, avoid putting in damp or very dirty clothes. Gym clothes should also not go in there. You can also try using baking soda as a deodorizer. Put it in a container and make holes in the lid. Place the container in the laundry basket.
Other Possible Sources
- AC Air Vents - If the smell in your bedroom gets strongest when you turn on the AC, the problem could be in the ducts. There could be mold or mildew growing in there. The ducts and filters may also need a cleaning. Have a technician take a look at the air vents and filters for any sources of the smell.
- Eating/Drinking in Bed - Empty food containers as well as food crumbs can make the bedroom smelly. They can also attract roaches, rodents and other pests that can cause an awful stench in the bedroom. The solution is to stop eating in bed. If you have to, vacuum the bed and bedroom daily and don't leave containers lying around.
- Indoor Plants - Potted plants in the bedroom can smell for a wide variety of reasons such as too much water, bacteria activity or rotting plant matter. Try moving the plant to another room and see if the smell gets better.
- Yourself - We hate to say this but you could be what’s stinking up the bedroom. It could be your body odor or flatulence. As you figure out what you are giving off a bad smell (could be diet, health etc.), the best solution is to make your bedroom more airy. Open a window or door when you go to sleep to prevent the smell from building up. Alternatively, get an air purifier.
- Your pet - If your cat or dog spends a lot of time in your bedroom, it will inevitable begin to smell. If you don't want to bar your cat from your bedroom, we recommend keeping your pet well groomed, washing whatever they sleep on (whether your bedding or their own bed) regularly and, in extreme cases, getting an air purifier.