How to Remove Odor from Air Ducts

Dryer Vent Cleaning from the Inside

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Does your house have a strange odor? As in, you thought it might have been the kitchen or something in the kids’ rooms, but even after cleaning absolutely everything, it still stinks? The source may be the air ducts, as impossible as that may seem. As a homeowner, learning how to remove odor from air ducts is just one of the many tasks that you might not have seen in your future. If you approach the task methodically, you should be able to rid your home of unwanted odors.

Identifying the Odor in Your Air Ducts

The first step to successfully removing an odor from your air ducts is to figure out the source of the smell. Try to pinpoint a location and a type of odor. This may be difficult, since most air ducts connect around the house, but try to determine which room smells the strongest.

The type of smell will also help you pinpoint how to remove odor from air ducts. Can you identify a musty mold or mildew-type smell? If so, check the air filter to make sure it hasn’t gotten damp and moldy. If you smell decay or a dead animal, you might have a recently deceased mouse or other creature in your ducts. Removing this sort of odor will require removal of the animal, so if you choose to do this yourself, be sure to wear safety gloves and check with local wildlife guidelines for disposal. Indoor tobacco use is another cause for lingering scents in ductwork, which can require cleaning anywhere tobacco is used.

While the cause of the smell could be just about anything, if you have pets or children, consider whether they might have deposited anything in a vent, as well.

How to Remove Odor from Air Ducts

Once you have discovered the source and location of the unpleasant odors, it’s time to get to work.

Before you get started, gather up the following materials to help you remove odors from your air ducts:

  • screwdriver for removing vent covers
  • ladder, if necessary
  • mild cleaner, such as dish detergent
  • bucket of clean water
  • long wire brush
  • vacuum cleaner
  • rags

First, remove the vent covers. If they have been impacted by the source of the odor, such as through a splash or dropped object, you may wish to soak them in a solution of water and vinegar or baking soda to fully remove any sticky or unpleasant residue.

Next, use the long wire brush and vacuum to sweep any smelly debris from the vent. A long flexible brush and the crevice attachment for your vacuum cleaner will be very helpful here.

Then, use a rag and cleaner to thoroughly remove stinky residue from the duct. If this is something you can’t reach from the room vent, you may need to access the vent from the crawl space or central ductwork. You may also wish to use a mop to reach as far as possible, but be very cautious not to force anything or puncture the air ducts.

If you are unable to remove odor from air ducts on your own, call 844-962-2681 to connect with experts in your area. A trained HVAC technician will be in touch to evaluate your needs and provide a no-obligation quote for the air duct cleaning you need.

Having central air and heating is a great benefit, but you’ll definitely need to know how to remove odor from air ducts in order to enjoy them year-round. 

Learn more about us here: Specialty Air Purifiers.

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