Household Smellfilter
July 5, 2006 10:51 PM   Subscribe

The reek of fresh vomit .....

is emanating from the washer/dryer in the kitchen area and refuses to reveal it's source after multiple suspect interrogations. There is no odor in the tub of the washer, as I had first suspected and the drain has been given generous amounts of bleach with no results. During the exploration, I did discover a very old bannana (thankfully with it's peel intact). This was not the culprit, but merely an unpleasant decoy left by the children. Has the washer gone to the dark side? Or has something crawled to an untimely death within my walls?
posted by IronLizard to Home & Garden (11 answers total)
A Parmesan cheese accident?
posted by evariste at 11:04 PM on July 5, 2006

I've already ruled that out, pulling the washer and dryer away from the wall, it needed a good mopping down there anyway. (I can't stand that particular cheese).
posted by IronLizard at 11:13 PM on July 5, 2006

Ok, it's definitely not the washer.
posted by IronLizard at 11:33 PM on July 5, 2006

What's the floor-covering? Old lino can start to smell pretty nasty as it degrades, sort of vomity ammonia, especially when wet.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 11:43 PM on July 5, 2006

It is cheap lino, but it doesn't seem to be it. It's really hard to track, but I'm now thinking it's coming from the flourescent light fixture in the ceiling. Probably wrong there, though. At least, I hope I'm wrong. I'm going to go have a sniff upstairs.
posted by IronLizard at 12:04 AM on July 6, 2006

Could be a light fixture; more likely to be an incandescent than a fluoro though.

There's a particular kind of urea-formaldehyde resin (it isn't Bakelite, but it's something of that vintage) that used to be used to make light fittings, and after maybe thirty years of intermittent heating, it starts to break down and emit a fishy, vomity stink. The fittings in question are usually cream-coloured, and if you examine a faulty one closely you'll find that part of it is turning powdery-crumbly (as well as smelling really really bad).
posted by flabdablet at 1:53 AM on July 6, 2006

There are several "traps" or filters which need to be cleaned out from time to time depending on your brand name. Maybe somthing is caught in one of them?
posted by Wilder at 4:19 AM on July 6, 2006

If it's not something dead in the wall, perhaps something crawled inside the dryer exhaust vent and is living or dieing between the dryer and the wall?
posted by lockle at 4:22 AM on July 6, 2006

Might it be a floor drain? Sometimes the trap can dry out, leaving a open path for sewer vapours to enter the room.
posted by Popular Ethics at 4:42 AM on July 6, 2006

We had a vomity smell coming from the bathroom sink of a previous apartment. Turns out that the exit pipe had long since cracked and there was a spot where water was pooling inside the walls.
posted by desuetude at 6:25 AM on July 6, 2006

Oh, crap. I think I know what's going on, odd that it would take so long to smell funny. And it would explain why it seems to be coming from the light fixture. Some months ago I discovered that the tub overflow wasn't connected properly because water began dripping from the ceiling. But I don't thinks it's happened since then. I've tried just about everything I can do, since I don't own the place, and didn't want to get caught off guard by one of the little surprises the kids leave lying around for me. It looks like I'll have to call the maintenance types. Thanks for the answers!
posted by IronLizard at 7:29 AM on July 6, 2006

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