xYou smell it every time you walk in the door: that offensive odor that reminds you of a cross between your high school locker room and a wet dog. It drives you crazy to the point that you do not even want to come home. As for having guests over, forget about it. No amount of essential oils can get rid of the smell. What do you do?

You obviously have to find the source and then get rid of it. You have checked all of the obvious possibilities, including the garbage cans and kitchen cupboards. You have scoured the house looking for mold. You don’t know where else to turn. Well, you’re in luck. Below are the top five sources of hidden odors in the home. Check each one and there is a good chance you will find out what is fouling the air.

1 Your Shoes

It is hard to imagine the kinds of odors that can emanate from a closet full of shoes, yet there they are. Shoes are one of the leading causes of odors that people fail to identify. Those odors can come from a number of different sources.

Maybe there’s a pair of shoes you wore to the park a couple of weeks ago. Without knowing it, you stepped in one of the many nice gifts left in the grass by neighborhood dogs. You brought that gift home with you and put it in the closet.

A lot of shoes reek from the natural odors produced by the feet. And if you live in a warm weather environment, your shoes are more likely to smell compared to people who live in colder climates.

2. The Dishwasher

A second source of hidden odors in the home is the dishwasher. We tend to think that the dishwasher as being clean inside, but guess what? Your dishwasher can accumulate the same kind of gunk that accumulates on the walls in your shower. That can lead to all sorts of strange smells.

3. The Utility Sink

The utility sink is yet another source of hidden odors. Every time your washing machine discharges into that sink, it is flushing all sorts of nasties down the drain. Some of that nasty stuff can accumulate on the pipes just underneath the drain, creating ambient smells that seep up from the basement and putrefies the air.

4. The Carpets

Carpets are known to absorb and hold odors. If it’s been a couple of years since you had your carpets clean, get down on the floor and do the sniff test. You may discover that what you are smelling is the result of dirty carpets in need of a thorough steam cleaning. This is a big one because even something like the Zephyr Fresh whole-home air freshener cannot get rid of odors locked in carpets.

5. The Walls

Our final source of hidden odors are the actual walls in your home. Unfortunately, paint and wallpaper are very adept at holding onto large particulate matter in the air. The walls in your home continually hold onto particulates until they reach a point of saturation, as it were. At that point they can start releasing the particulates as odors. So just like you do the sniff test on your carpets, do the same test on your walls.

A whole-home air freshener is an excellent way to freshen the air after you find and eliminate the source of the foul odors. But make sure you find those sources before you freshen the air. Otherwise, you will only be masking them temporarily.