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Why Does My Bedroom Smell?

Updated on September 22, 2023
Written by
James Booth
James has over ten years experience as a content producer and editor. He focuses on writing articles that are compelling, clear and, more importantly, helpful to the readers. He honed his research and copywriting skills working as part of NeoMam Studios, the parent company of HouseFresh.

Our verdict

The bedroom can quickly become a smelly, stale place that isn’t conducive to a peaceful environment where you can relax and get a good night’s sleep. Whether smells emanate from your bedding, pets, or even the trash, it’s easy to get on top of the situation and banish bad odors for good. 

Simple solutions include investing in an air purifier, charcoal bag, or air cleansing plants to capture odors and give your bedroom a fresher feel. Alongside some painless cleaning and maintenance tasks that will cut smells out at the source.

After a long day, nothing beats returning home to a cozy bedroom. However, every now and then, the calming environment can quickly become tarnished by an uninvited smell. 

To help you recreate the ideal rest and recuperation room, we’ve outlined some of the most common causes of unpleasant smells that can occur in the bedroom and how you can eradicate them once and for all. 

Why does my bedroom smell?

  • Your Bedding

As we spend approximately a third of our lives tucked up in bed, it’s no wonder our sheets can begin to whiff after a while. Bedsheets are a magnet for dust, dirt, and bodily odors that become captured throughout the night. All of which contribute to the unpleasant smell that can plague your bedroom. 

  • Poor Ventilation

Many homes or apartments are severely lacking when it comes to adequate ventilation. Whether you’re limited to how much fresh air you can bring in with small or even no windows, or perhaps you don’t feel comfortable leaving windows open, this can make the air inside your bedroom feel stale, stagnant, and ultimately smelly. 

  • Mold and Mildew

From time to time, mold and mildew can start to appear in your home. Whether caused by rising damp or household chores such as drying your laundry indoors, the issue can quickly take root and begin to smell. If you notice the unmistakable musty scent, take action right away as breathing mold spores can cause serious health complications as well as make your room smell. 

  • Dirty Laundry

There’s nothing more satisfying than slipping into something more comfortable after a long day. However, leaving your dirty clothes strewn across the floor will only add to the putrid pong lingering in your bedroom. Even worn clothes in a basket can soon begin to fester so aim to keep on top of your laundry each week.

  • Your Pets

Our furry friends may love to spend time with us in the bedroom. However, this can wreak havoc on the aroma of your space. Just like humans, your pet will shed hair, dander and bodily proteins that will spread around the room, cling to your belongings, and begin to smell. 

  • Dust

Many of us will have visited an old building and noticed a particular musky scent. This will most likely be thanks to a buildup of dust within the space. As dust is made up of a wide range of nasty ingredients, from skin cells to dead bugs, when large quantities accumulate you’ll soon begin to notice the scent at home.  

  • Body Odors

While ye olde proverb states ‘better out than in’, all the burps, farts, bad breath, and sweat that escape from our bodies will unsurprisingly make your room a tad smelly. Of course, there’s no shame in bodily odors, we all have them after all. However, as these unsavory scents are released, they can latch onto soft furnishings and begin to pong out any bedroom. 

  • Trash Can

So you’ve taken the first step to a cleaner room and bought a trash can. Now the hard part begins, remembering to empty it regularly. We’re all guilty of forgetting to empty at least one trash can or waiting for it to fill up completely before taking out the trash, but this build-up will release rather rotten smells as time goes by. 

  • Carpets

Carpets act as a huge sponge for scents in your bedroom. Thanks to the tightly woven fibers that make up a carpet, pollutants can easily become trapped. Whether from the dirt and grime trodden in by our footwear or gaseous scents that linger inside, the carpet is often the prime culprit for a smelly space. 

  • Dirty Dishes

While breakfast in bed (or any meal for that matter) always tastes that much sweeter, this could be a reason your bedroom is beginning to smell. Besides the aroma that will emit from any food and its crumbs and spills, dirty dishes will inevitably be left behind, leaving their scent to linger too.

How do I stop my bedroom from smelling bad?

1. Use an air purifier
To tackle smells head-on, invest in an air purifier with an activated charcoal filter. Consisting of a bed of charcoal, these filters boast excellent odor-catching capabilities thanks to their porous makeup. Utilizing carbon filters in tandem with a HEPA filter will capture gasses and any airborne particles that could contribute to smells further down the line. We recently published a guide to the best air purifiers for bedrooms that is worth looking at if you are interested in investing in one for your room.

2. Hang a charcoal bag

Much like an activated charcoal filter found in an air purifier, these charcoal bags work wonders at absorbing smells. Despite not having the means to draw in air, if utilized in a way to target smells at the source such as above a laundry basket or trash can, they provide a budget-friendly option to keeping your bedroom smelling fresh.

3. Open the windows

Get the fresh air feel by opening your window as often as possible. While it may seem simple, by opening the window you allow fresh air into the room whilst cycling stale smelly air out. If opening your window will let other airborne pollutants in, only do so for a short blast in the morning and use an air purifier to capture any incoming particles.

4. Clean your bedding
The average person sweats around half a pint’s worth of liquid every evening, alongside other smelly bodily functions, most of which are being absorbed directly by your bed linen. Change your bedsheets once a week to keep them feeling fresh and smelling pleasant.

5. Take out the trash and clean the trash can

Get into the habit of emptying your trash can at least once a week. Avoid leaving perishable waste such as food in your bedroom trash can and instead dispose of this waste in the kitchen. Don’t forget to clean your trash can from time to time too, as dirt and grime will latch onto the vessel and continue to stink out your room. 

6. Dust and clean the surfaces
Keep on top of cleaning chores, methodically dusting from top to bottom, and wipe down walls and surfaces. Remember to work around clutter and hit hard-to-reach areas like under the bed. If you find mold spores on any of your surfaces, ensure you carry out the necessary safety precautions and scrub the affected area with bleach or detergent.

7. Vacuum the floors
Dislodge any stubborn smells that may be trapped in your carpet fibers by vacuuming regularly. Utilize a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter or steam cleaner to tackle severe build-ups and ensure each particle is captured. If you have rugs inside your room, take them outside and beat them the old-fashioned way or wash them on a high-temperature cycle if possible. 

8. Keep your pets and their bedding clean

Keep your pet clean by bathing and brushing them once a week. Implementing a grooming routine will help to reduce the amount of dander, fur, and proteins spreading around your home. Remember to vacuum or wash their bedding on a regular basis to minimize potentially smelly pollutant build-ups too. 

9. Put out some air-purifying houseplants
Plants not only provide the fresh oxygen we breathe but also help remove harmful toxins from the air too. Head to your local garden center or plant store and pick up some purifying plants to help cleanse the air of unpleasant smells and create a more calming and beautiful environment in the process.

About the author

James Booth

James has over ten years experience as a content producer and editor. He focuses on writing articles that are compelling, clear and, more importantly, helpful to the readers. He honed his research and copywriting skills working as part of NeoMam Studios, the parent company of HouseFresh.