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How do I Get Rid of Bad Smells in My Garage?

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Q: With the weather starting to warm up, I'm noticing that my garage stinks! How do I get rid of the smell?

A: With more and more garages being used for more than just housing cars (like storage for random things you're not sure what to do with), it's important to treat the inside of your garage like you would the inside of your home. 

In other words, keep it clean and neat. 

But realistically, because your garage is where you might store items that shouldn’t live inside your home (like trash cans and containers of oil), you might have noticed that your garage has started to be a bit smelly. So what do you do when your garage starts to smell?


The first step in properly eliminating odours from your garage is to figure out what's causing the smell. There could be any single or multiple cause; for example:

  • Recycling bins

  • Trash cans

  • Mold or mildew

  • Floor drains

Just to name a few.
This may seem like an obvious source for the unpleasant odour in your garage, and one that can be remedied by taking the trash to the curb...

But the RESIDUE of dinners past at the bottom of your trash cans may be the real culprit!

Rinse the bins with water and then wash them with hot soapy water. Allow them to dry completely before using them again. 

If it’s at all possible, you may want to consider storing your trash cans outside - especially in warmer months.

(But make sure you have secure lids to keep the creatures out.)


Mold and mildew can make a garage smell musty. In moist conditions, mold can even smell like wet socks or rotten wood. 

If you think mold or mildew is the cause of the smell in your garage, carefully combine a cup of bleach with a gallon of water and wash the floors and walls of your garage. 

(For your safety, make sure your garage door is open when using bleach.)

Rinse the floors and walls with clean water and allow to air dry for 24 - 48 hours before closing your garage door.


The average floor drain in a residential garage doesn’t get much use. 

If the drain in your garage has a trap, old water and other debris left inside the trap may be the cause of that sewer smell in your garage. 

Simply pour 3/4 of mineral oil into the trap. Mineral oil evaporates more slowly than water and keeps the trap from stinking up your garage.

If the drain doesn’t have a trap, it’s possible that the odour in your garage is rising from the sewer. 

To minimize the smell without completely blocking the drain, cover the drain with heavy plastic. Tape three sides down to keep it in place while still allowing standing water to drain.


Now that your garage is fresher, you may be considering how to convert it to a multi-purpose space. 

Whether you’re turning your garage into a man cave, a workshop, or just want to be able to work on your car, you will need a quality garage door to keep your space safe. 

Insulated garage doors help with temperature regulation, if you want to heat or air-condition your garage for year-round comfort.


Let us know if you have any questions that you would like featured in our Wednesday Wisdom Q&A!

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