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ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Why do some people (and their homes) smell so distinctive?

Asked by ANef_is_Enuf (25351points) July 14th, 2011

Have you ever noticed that certain homes have a really distinct smell? Not good or bad, just a unique smell that seems to permeate the house.
It also seems to permeate the people living in it, and their clothes, and all of their belongings.

What causes that?? Really potent laundry detergent? Is it caused by the people themselves?

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15 Answers

SpatzieLover's avatar

As a porperty manager this is what I noticed in apartments:

Actually someone I knew used to tell me how much she loved the smell of my home. It was the natural stuff I clean with that she liked. I gave her a bottle :)

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

I think what I usually smell is laundry detergent. But it seems so strong in certain homes. I think of my in-laws house immediately, and there isn’t a single item in that house that doesn’t smell like “their house.” Even grocery bags. It’s so bizarre, but I notice it in a lot of homes. Makes me wonder if my house has that smell.

SpatzieLover's avatar

Mine does smell like my detergent if I’ve just been washing. It only lingers on us, not in our home.

My husband used to love my smell. Once he moved in he said “Hey, it’s the laundry detergent that smells!” On lauundry day it permeates the yard…in a good way.

Jude's avatar

Perhaps it’s from the food that they cook, their detergent and air fresheners?

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

I wonder if I am particularly sensitive to this phenomenon. I swear it is so powerful to me. If I wash my stepson’s clothing from their mother’s house, I can still smell that scent on them. It even makes my dryer smell like their mom’s house.

LuckyGuy's avatar

My childhood home smelled like mothballs. When my folks moved down to Florida their condo and everything in it did too.
I have been told my house smells a bit like wood smoke. That is not surprising since we heat with wood.
We have Japanese friends and their home smells like tatami and a touch of miso.
I wonder if that should be one of the 47 measures of compatibility on Match .com.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@ANef_is_Enuf I know people that have a distinctive scent. My grandmother and all of her stuff smelled strongly of “her”. It was a mix of her skin, Oil of Olay, and a dusting powder she used. My grandpa smelled like his skin and a woody scent from his chest of drawers (not cedar). The two of them together made their own “scent” that permeated their home. I still take things out of their china cabinet drawers like a tablecloth and it still smells like their home.

marinelife's avatar

It depends on what cleaners they use, and what they cook.

zenvelo's avatar

I had a school friend whose family lived in an apartment building owned by his grandfather and where every apartment was lived in by his relatives. During the winter the hallway never got fresh air and was always kept at around 75 degrees. And when you opened the door you were hit with a blast of boiled cabbage, garlic, and wet wool.

ucme's avatar

Yeah i’ve noticed that too, no coincidence that a family of couch potatoes, have a distinct aroma of…...well, spuds!

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

If it has anything to do with what we eat, then I must absolutely reek of delectable dark chocolate!!

LuckyGuy's avatar

I know who I want to visit! ^^

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

I experienced a good example of this today. My mother-in-law gave me a shirt as a souvenir from a trip today. The shirt had never been worn, never washed, and it was in a bag from the store it was purchased at. It smells strongly like her house. The whole thing baffles me, but I’m glad that other people have noticed it.

Plucky's avatar

I find the scent depends on what they predominantly cook and use for household cleaners/detergents. Even the materials/furniture in one’s home makes a difference in how certain scents behave. Sometimes plants make a difference too.

So, basically what @Jude and @marinelife said.

Pandora's avatar

I think fabric softners. I use one that has a really strong perfume smell to it. Since my laundry room is right next to the enterance, you smell it right away.
Sometimes it can also be the type of food they cook.
Or plug in air fresheners or even scented candles.
But I notice that I can sometimes smell a real strong perfume smell out doors and when I look to see where it is coming from, I will see a dryer vent is in use.

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