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How do I deal with my roommate's smells?


SJ85

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I have been living with my roommate now for 5 months. She's a really nice person and we get along really well. She's really neat, never leaves messes around, she respects my privacy, we have similar interests, etc. The only problem is that she smells.

 

She's kind of a naturalist. When she washes her clothes, she uses that natural soap that doesn't contain harsh detergents but it doesn't seem to wash out the smells. She doesn't use a dryer so she hangs up her clothes to dry in her room and bathroom. She also has told me that she never buys new clothes so a lot of the stuff she owns she has had for several several years. She also doesn't wash her hair or herself that often. She is practically vegetarian [eats meat about once a week] and she always makes these stinky green smoothies. I go out into the living room in the morning and it smells like garlic, onions and every other stinky vegetable you can imagine. Over the summer it was nice because I had the windows open and she was also gone for two months. It was fine but now that it's getting colder we keep the windows closed. So the smell is starting up again. I hate when she leaves her door to her room open because the stench just wafts out into the living room. I don't have friends over much because of the smell but when my parents were here they said it smelled really bad like B.O.

 

I put up a curtain in front of my door to prevent the smells from entering my room when I'm gone at work during the day but sometimes it even seeps into my room. I cannot believe how potent the smell is. How do I deal with this? I don't like walking into my apartment to that sour smell. I spray febreze when she's not her but that lasts about 5 minutes. I open the windows when I can in the living room but it doesn't help too long. Just not sure what to do...

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Couldn't hurt to buy cheap boxes of baking soda to open and have around to fight odors. You are in a tough situation if she doesn't take the talk well about her odor. I feel for you on this.

 

If you have to just start dousing her with soapy water until she gets it....

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Thanks guys...

I don't think she realizes she smells. I open the windows when she's gone so the smell won't stay and even though it gets a little cool on the living room it does help.

 

It's just funny because whenever I cook she immediately opens the windows. I was just making breakfast for dinner (pancakes and bacon). Then she came out and was like I'm opening the windows because of the smell of your cooking. I just looked at her like what?! She's done that to me before too... My cats food I keep in a sealed glass container. She told me whenever I open it smells really bad. I don't know if she's confusing her smell with this or trying to pin smells on me and my cat.. But it is not me or my cat.

 

Whenever she walks past me I can smell her. Whenever she opens the door to her bedroom it smells so bad! I guess I shuld start complaining about smells then since she is complaining about my supposed strong smells.

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Well I think living with a naturalist sort, you kinda have to come to peace with and even enjoy some of those different smells.

Where you got me was saying she doesn't clean herself much. That's a different story. Everyone needs good hygiene. And being natural doesn't mean you can't be clean.

 

I don't think she is trying to pin her smell on you - just that she doesn't like the smell of meat and cat food. Understandable from her point of view, it is as offensive as her stink is to you.

 

Maybe if you are friends you can have a frank talk? If you are willing to listen to her end, and her yours, you might get somewhere so you can both be happy.

 

Other than that, what popped in my mind was introducing her to tea tree oil and tea tree oil products. That is my secret weapon when working with people who stink....and it's extra effective if they have an affinity for natural products and environmentalism...hey, check this out, it does everything! And no chemicals! Shampoo, soap, for cleaning the house, everything!

 

well good luck.

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See the interesting thing is that I make my own deodorant and lotions and such. I use tea tree oils along with several other essential oils. I have talked about it with my roommate but she doesn't seem interested in it. I have decided to just use oil diffusers. That seems to work the best. We have a large coat closet at the entrance where we keep our coats. I notice now since I have been needing to wear jackets/coats lately that they have absorbed her smell over the summer. I keep spraying them with febreze before I wear them haha. I might just place a diffuser in there too. I just can't believe how strong the smell is sometimes...

 

Thanks for your input.

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Interesting that you would use febreze when you seem knowledgeable about essential oils. It's great you make your own deodorants and lotions, because that translates right into making your own natural room fresheners! You'll have a blast! Febreze and other synthetic air "fresheners" are loaded with toxins that you're inhaling all the time. They're considered a source of indoor air pollution, emitting chemicals like formaldehyde, benzene, etc. Two good articles on the subject:

 

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Not sure what type of oil diffuser you're using, but be very careful not to use one that has any flame or any other type of heating unit that might cause a fire if left unattended. A heating device in the closet could be a real fire hazard. And remember, any oil that touches a fire/heat source directly could be flammable.

 

It would be better to spritz the clothes with a mist of the essential oils in a spray bottle with water or alcohol (see link below about making home deodorizer aromatherapy spray mists). You could also use natural room fresheners made with essential oils which are on the market. Less dangerous, and much better for your bloodstream than febreze. You can also make your own scent by hanging a bag of spices, like cloves, cinnamon, and orange peels in the closet. Or any other spices you like the smell of.

 

You can also use boxes of baking soda in the closet to absorb odor and around the house, or charcoal or zeolite. You can google these. Examples:

 

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Ready made sprays:

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Also google Aura Cacia brand.

 

Any brand that does not fully disclose their ingredients, and/or contains the word "fragrance" on its list of ingredients, I would not recommend.

 

Make yourself:

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There are lots of DIY pages if you google the topic of natural aromatherapy sprays. You can also find some of these sprays at your health food store. Big commercial chains carry mostly the bad/toxic stuff.

 

Hope that gives you ideas!

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Do her a huge favor and be frank with her. Tell her she has pervasive BO. She is probably living in blissful ignorance simply because most of us are too chicken to say anything to a person about that. I mean, wouldn't you want to know that you have a problem like that? I know I would. I'd be pretty upset if I was living with someone and they never said anything to me about something like that.

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