Good Questions: Fish Smell Mystery?

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Hello AT,

My apartment has a constant smell of fish in the kitchen but despite cleaning it with every product known to mankind the smell won't go away. I live with 2 other girls and my 10 pound dog, and we each cook our own dinner but the smell is just heinous. My dog even left the apartment for a week to see if it was his stuff and the smell was still there. What could it be?

Thanks, Julie

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Dear Julie,

This is SO Cartalk.

A smell in the kitchen that you can't identify? When we lived in Little Italy, we often had smells drifting up from the apartment below through the cracks in the floor especially around the pipes that came up in the corners. First theory: check your downstairs neighbors.

Second theory: one of your roommates is pulling your leg by leaving fish out whenever you are away and then hiding it in her closet when you come home.

Third theory: Fish smell could be coming from something fishy somewhere in your kitchen.

Is it coming from the fridge or the room? We would first clean the cabinets out and wash the walls down. Check inside and behind the fridge. Is there a bottle of fish sauce spilled back there? Questions to ask:
Has the fish smell been a constant or did it just start?
Do you always smell it or only at certain times of the day?

If it's been a constant it's probably IN the kitchen, and may even be in invisible grease by the stove or on the walls. If it's irregular it's probably coming from outside of your apartment.

Anyone else?

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Maxwell left teaching in 2001 to start Apartment Therapy as a design business helping people to make their homes more beautiful, organized AND healthy. The website started up in 2004 with the help of his brother, Oliver.