Have you ever found yourself wondering, “Why does my apartment smell?” If you live in an apartment or a multi-family building, it’s possible the smells from your neighbor’s home are spreading into yours. From food to smoke to pet odors, The New York Times explains that smells can move through pipe shafts, electrical outlets, cracks in the walls or ceiling, hallways, elevators and ventilation ducts.
Some of these smells are more of an annoyance, while others may be more serious and might need to be handled in a certain way. The best way to determine how to resolve the situation is by finding out where the smell is coming from and what is causing it.
In addition to drifting into other spaces, cigarette smoke can leave small particles on fabrics, making the odor long-lasting — even after the smoker moves out. According to the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (NACHI), the following can help temporarily absorb or help neutralize cigarette smells:
While smoke may travel between apartments, other smells can also transfer from your neighbor’s home to yours. Odors from pets, mildew, cooking, paint or even garbage can be a big nuisance if they are an ongoing problem. To try to counteract those smells, the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) suggests putting baking soda, vinegar or other odor-eliminating items around the home, such as:
Whatever the odor, if you are bothered by a bad smell coming from another apartment, the New York Times says the first step should be talking to your neighbor. They may not be able to change anything immediately, but if they are aware they are causing trouble, they may be more courteous when possible. If not, you can get the landlord involved to mediate the situation.
Finding out the offensive odors might actually be coming from your apartment may be hard to take, but if you are the one causing the problem, you probably want to remedy it. If you are a smoker and your neighbor complains, the Consumer Product Safety Commission suggests taking it outside and away from the building so you aren’t subjecting other people to secondhand smoke in enclosed spaces. Should a neighbor complain about smells, start by being more aware of the things you do and make a greater effort to keep your home cleaner going forward. For instance, an air purifier with a charcoal filter could help combat the smoke in your home, says The New York Times.
The NACHI also offers the following tips for removing smoke odors from your home:
No one wants to deal with a bad smell from a neighbor’s apartment, but by trying these suggestions, you might be able to better cope with your neighbor — or become a better neighbor yourself.