Ever walk into someone's house and immediately notice a funky smell? Your first thought is usually something like, "Do they not smell that?" Nope, they probably don't.
According to what cognitive psychologist Pamela Dalton told The Cut, "noseblindness" is a real thing — and it's more common than you think.
Dalton explains that noseblindness, or olfactory adaptation, happens when your nose detects an odor, determines it's not a threat, and then shuts down the receptors for that smell. This comes in handy when something changes in your environment — like when a bowl of fruit starts to go bad or your dog has an accident inside. But it's less handy when you're talking about a smell that lingers.
So how are you to know if your house is one of those smelly houses?
Get out ... for a while
"One of the best methods to tell if your home stinks is to leave it. Go away for a day or two, or even a week," says Bryan Stoddard, handyman and interior designer. "Close all windows and doors, shut the blinds, and seal the place up air-tight. On return from your holiday, as soon as you open the door, be sure to take a large breath in through the nose. That way you'll find out what someone new to your home really smells."
Stoddard notes one caveat: If it's your pet that's causing the smells in your house, you might not pick up on it if your pet is out of the house just as long as you are.
"They can be the leading culprit of those bad smells around the home," he says.
Dalton, according to The Cut, says one way to try to get your nose working again is to get more blood flowing. She says perfumers sometimes run up and down the stairs to wake up their noses to scents they've gotten used to. It's a trick she uses in her lab, too.
Curious to see if you're missing a nasty smell in your living room? Take a few quick laps around the block, then take a very deep breath when you walk back into your house.
This tactic might get a little awkward, but it's probably the most effective.
"The best way for anyone to discover if their home smells is to ask a friend to be truthful and tell them," says Julie Finch-Sally, also known as "The Guru of Cleaning."
We all have that one friend or family member who is brutally honest. Invite this guest over and, upon arrival, ask for an honest opinion of what your house smells like. Once you've addressed the problem, bring the person back for a second opinion.
Worry the smells away
Dalton says the simple act of worrying about whether or not your house smells may be enough to help you detect foul odors.
She explains that fear seems to interfere with our nose's process of shutting off familiar scent receptors. Basically, stressing out about not being able to smell your house may be the key to actually smelling it.
This post, "How to Tell If You've Become 'Noseblind' to Your Home," appeared first on Realtor.com®.