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How to Get Rid of Those Tough Odors in Your Properties

Sharon Vornholt
3 min read
How to Get Rid of Those Tough Odors in Your Properties

The Smell of Money

If you’ve been investing in real estate for any amount of time, I’m sure you have come across properties that just smell terrible. Now I’m not talking about regular odors such as dampness or mustiness; I’m talking about the ones that you just can’t get rid of with regular cleaning products. I think that one of the worst things you can ever deal with is pet urine, but there are other odors that are almost impossible to get out of a property such as curry, and cigarette smoke from a long term heavy smoker.

What do real estate investors like to say that those odors are?

You guessed it; “The smell of money”. 

3 Surefire Ways to Get Rid of the Odors

There are a number of products that you can use to attack this problem. Here are three that I know you can count on.


One of the best products I have found for odors is called Nilium. I love this product! I have personally used in rental houses to get rid of odors.

This product is a highly concentrated, water soluble liquid. It can not only be used for cleaning, and water extraction systems, but it can added to paint to get rid of long standing odors in drywall such as cigarette smoke. I have used it in paint with great success. Nilium is very economical and there are several pleasant fragrances to choose from. In my area, a quart of this product costs roughly $10.00-$12.00 and you can purchase a gallon for less than $35.00. You only use about 1 or 2 ounces per gallon of water or paint so a little goes a long way. You can find this product locally without any problem.


One of my daughters is a professional property manager who currently manages over 500 units. Her carpet cleaning professional regularly uses a product called Hydrocide. As you can imagine, they have a lot of issues with pet odors in carpet and also from problems that occur after water leaks.

It’s important to know that pet odors often remain even after the carpet has been replaced. You can use Hydrocide to seal concrete floors in slab houses before installing new carpet. It eliminates odor permanently on contact. It also destroys odors in carpet, upholstery, mattresses and grout. Hydrocide works on urine and just about any other really bad odor you can think of.

Hydrocide costs about $24.00 for a pint or about $90 for a gallon of this product. You can look online to see where these products can be purchased in your area.

Ozone Machines

Ozone machines are the last line of defense in a many cases. Ozone machines change oxygen (O2) into ozone (o3) by the high voltage electrical charge the machine produces. Professional grade machines can only be used in unoccupied rooms.

Not only will these machines permanently get rid odors that are hard to remove like curry that have a tendency to permeate areas, but they kill surface and airborne mold in unoccupied rooms. These machines are particularly useful for places like apartment communities where they a larger volume of water leaks.

These machines are light weight and easy to use, but professional quality machines can set you back $1500.00 or $1600.00. If you have a lot of property, this still might be something you would want to invest in.

There is one thing I need to caution you about regarding these types of machines. You can only use them in unoccupied properties.

Because they remove all of the oxygen from the room, not only do you need be sure no animals are left behind but it will damage anything that once was “part of an animal”. By that I mean leather and suede boots, shoes, belts, bags, sofa’s etc. These items will be seriously damaged or ruined if not removed or put in a tightly closed garbage bag. Large items like sofa’s can be wrapped in plastic or kind of “shrink wrapped”. The professionals that use these machines can give you more information.

You can find information about all of these products online.

Photo: Christian Guthier

Note By BiggerPockets: These are opinions written by the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of BiggerPockets.