Tips to Make Your Garage Smell Good

Garages can be the curb appeal of the home. These areas originally intended to house vehicles are often used for much more than that – everything from tools, a home gym, a recreation room, and much more. Like any other part of your home, they have their fair share of maintenance issues – everything from insulation to basic cleaning.

They do have a unique construction all their own though and it results in employing some different skills compared to the rest of your home. For instance, because garages typically contain all sorts of volatile chemicals, storage overflow, and a wide variety of unique items, they often have an interesting smell that’s often not pleasant.

Tackling that bad odor in your garage is no easy task – thankfully there are many methods for eliminating these smells and way to prevent them from happening in the future. Before jumping into these tips, it’s best to get a proper understanding of where these odors come from.

make your garage smell good

Source of Garage Odors

One of the first and most obvious sources of bad smells come from trash. Many homeowners often use the garage for the garbage overflow, especially in the winter seasons. Even if it’s removed in a few days the garbage smell can imbue itself into surrounding items and even the ground itself.

This rotting smell can become amplified in the face of old storage boxes and containers – paper and cardboard are susceptible to mold and mildew, giving a stale smell. This mildew problem is especially an issue in garages that have limited air circulation.

More potent smells often come from the wide variety of chemicals often found inside of garages. Things like gasoline are especially powerful, along with other chemicals like bleach, ammonia, lawn chemicals, and paint. It can create a permanent area of bad scents if any of these chemicals are ever spilled.

Animal by-products such as litter, bedding, and kennels can reek of your furry friends – and this isn’t even counting if they have an accident in the garage! More often than not, the smell of a garage isn’t any one of these things but rather a swirling concoction of all of them.

Methods to Eliminate Smells

Now that you have a good handle on where some of the bad smells in your garage come from, now it’s time to tackle them head-on. If you find that your garage is in a state of disrepair the best course of action you can follow is to clean it up. Basic wipe down and sweeping procedures should be followed, but don’t be afraid to start throwing away things as well.

If you have a lot of old storage then start looking through them. Oftentimes, mold and mildew can grow in places not easily seen. If your garage isn’t climate controlled, you probably want to either throw away or move any cardboard or paper products that have started to absorb the moisture in the air.

If you keep your trash cans inside the garage then take them out or if you’re inclined to keep them in, try cleaning them out. A mixture of baking soda, water, and essential oils can be baked into a small deodorizing brick that can then be placed inside the garbage can.

Kennels and anything related to your animals should be cleaned out periodically, and there’s no better time than the present. If there are any obvious spills from gasoline, oil, or other chemicals in the garage then it’s the best time to start cleaning them up. Because some of these liquids are not easily absorbed with towels or washed away, try adding some kitty litter.

The clay found in the mixture will soak up the moisture allowing you to easily sweep it up and dispose of it. To get a really fresh smell to consider cleaning the floor – a pressure washer or just a hose with a high-powered nozzle should be able to do the trick in blasting away the years of accumulated filth.

Even after removing all the sources of the smells you might have a subtle tinge still lingering about. Opening your garage door and any windows for a couple hours can help air out the area, replacing the stale musty air with fresh air. To help with this process you can use a fan to blow the old air away.

There are also a few home remedies you can do to absorb some of the bad smells from your garage. Putting charcoal powder or bowls of vinegar around your garage and leaving them overnight can greatly reduce bad smells. If the smells still stick around then replace the containers every day or so until it goes away.

organized garage

Preventing Smells in the Future

The best way to ensure that your garage smells good year round is to prevent it from going bad in the first place! The number one method to do this is to get into a strict organizing procedure. There are all types of garage organizers out on the market today – everything from specially designed shelves, sturdy cabinets, cork boards, tool chests, and hook systems.

Get creative with how you use all of it too. Take advantage of all prospects of your garage so you know you’re getting the most out of it. The ceiling can creatively be used for storage with the right set of products, and just about any wall should be able to hold all those yard tools. Chemicals should be properly marked and in their specific spots.

If you find mold a constant problem you might want to see how airtight your garage is – excess humidity in a garage often comes from poor insulation around doors and windows.
If you cleaned your garage floor, you can take additional steps to ensure that it stays clean. Your local hardware store should have powerful etching compounds to make your garage floor ready to absorb sealers and paint.

Sealing and painting your garage floor is no easy task – not only do you need to make sure everything is clean beforehand, but you have to put in the work to paint everything thoroughly and then wait to have it dry. All in all, you can expect at least a couple days of work and wait, but it pays off for years to come.

clean and organized garage

Final Thoughts

Following good maintenance, cleaning, and organizing techniques over the course of the years is probably the best way to keep your garage to smell great. A small bit of investment can help you keep your garage well ordered, reducing the possibility of any unsavory smells from creeping up on you. If you find that your garage is already smelling bad following some basic cleaning procedures will do wonders.

For a bigger boost try using vinegar or charcoal to absorb the latent smells in the air. Overall, the nefarious stenches that come from garages can have many different forms – trash, chemicals, mold, and much more. Getting rid of them need not be impossible though as long as you follow the methods outlined here.

Top Choice for Garage Construction

The only thing that’s holding you back is your small garage. Your garage can only hold one motor vehicle and the roof is on the brink of collapsing. At Danley’s, we have detached garage styles that have a steep slope which can cause rain and snow to slide off the roof. On top of that, we have customized garage sizes to meet your specific needs and match your style. Speak to a specialist and get a free quote today.



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Since 1959, Danley’s has been Chicagoland’s top choice for garage construction. Since then, we’ve built over 100,000 garages, making us Chicago’s largest and most trusted garage builder.

We offer an unbeatable combination of products, service and value for homeowners across Chicagoland.

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