There are few things that smell as bad as or worse than the sour milk smell. Not only does this smell actively encourage your gag reflex to do its thing, but the smell sticks around like nobody’s business. That’s because when milk or dairy products are left standing around in an environment that will allow them to ferment, the fermentation process produces that sour milk smell.
While it may seem like getting rid of sour milk smell will require some heavy-duty chemicals, the reality is that the solutions are within your arm’s reach. They’re also very friendly to children and animals, so you don’t have to worry about anything else once you’ve gotten the messed mopped up and cleaned away.
Here are the different things you can do you can do to get rid of that sour milk smell. Remember, when dealing with milk spillage is that you should deal with it immediately or in the soonest possible time. The less time the milk has sitting around turning to gunk, the less gunk you have to deal with.
- Get rid of the excess milk using paper towels. If you have the misfortune of the milk actually crusting, scrape it off using a plastic spoon or a plastic knife.
- Use warm water and detergent to clean up and scrub the area thoroughly. If you have fabrics, it’s best that you launder them properly as well.
- Soak the area and the affected fabrics in white vinegar. Mop up with paper towels, or in the case of fabrics, launder them again and let dry.
- Let the area completely dry. Use a fan or a hairdryer if you have to. Use an air freshener for the meantime to cover up the smell.
- Mop up excess milk or blot the area with paper towels.
- Pour baking soda on the affected area and sprinkle some cold water on top of the baking soda. Let it stand overnight.
- Vacuum the baking soda to remove the residue. If there is still odor, take a bottle of club soda and give it a little shake before taking off the stopper to produce fizz. Spray on the affected area to make it wet but not soaking wet. The smell will get worse and then go away after a while.
This is a method that may cause some dismay for coffee addicts, but it’s all for a good cause.
- Clean up the excess as best as you can.
- Rub unused coffee grounds into the affected area, especially on fabrics and carpets. Leave them there for a few days to absorb and get rid of the odor.
- Vacuum up the coffee grounds.
- Use an enzyme odor remover such as PetZyme, to get rid of the smell for good. The enzyme helps break down protein-based odors and stains, so you will really get to the bottom of the problem.
- Clean up the excess with mops or paper towels.
- Use a steam cleaner and mix white distilled vinegar with a commercial carpet cleaning solution. If you don’t own your own steam cleaner, you can rent one.
- Have the area dried thoroughly. If it’s removable carpets or fabrics, have them sun-dried. Otherwise, train a fan or use an industrial-grade hair blower to help completely dry the area.
This method is usually for relatively small affected areas, since big areas will require a lot of lemons to help clean up.
- Use heavy-duty detergent and some good-old fashioned elbow grease. Put in 20 minutes’ worth of intense scrubbing.
- Sprinkle baking soda on top of the stain or the affected area. Let it sit for 15 minutes.
- Use more laundry detergent and more intense scrubbing with cold water.
- Give the stain a final rinse and finish it off with lemon juice.
- Make sure the area is dried thoroughly.
This method is said to be effective on milk spills on mattresses or futons, especially handy when you have kids in the house.
- Wash the area thoroughly with cold water and detergent..
- Cover the area with a thick layer of bicarbonate of soda while the area is still damp. Leave as it is for 24 hours.
- Clean up the residue; wash the area again with cold water and detergent. Leave another layer of bicarbonate of soda. Repeat steps one and two until the stain and odors are completely gone.
This method is recommended for refrigerators with a sour milk smell, but you can try it on other surfaces and areas as well.
- Thoroughly wash and rinse the area with detergent and cold water. Rinse.
- Make a paste made from the combination of water and baking soda. Use this to scrub around all affected areas.
- Rinse with cold water.
- Leave half a slice of onion, fresh coffee grounds, vanilla extract or a box of open baking soda to help get rid of the smell completely.
Other Things You Can Do
There are myriad solutions to getting rid of sour milk smell, but some are more effective than others, while a combination of different methods may prove most effective. Here are other ideas for you to choose from:
- For leather upholstery, use commercial leather cleaner and odor eliminator. Make sure you leave the area dry as leaving cleaner on the area may cause mildew, which will make things worse.
- You can use brake cleaner, but only moderately and in desperate cases. Dab some of it on a clean rag and apply on the affected area. Rinse in soap and water afterwards and dry.
- While bleach is always a good solution when it comes to dealing with sour milk smells, be careful when using it. Some surfaces and materials may not take well to it, while using it when cleaning your refrigerator may contaminate your food.
- Clothes that have milk stains and sour milk smell can be remedied by filling your washing machine with hot water, or high enough for medium load. Add a cup of laundry detergent and another cup of dish washing detergent. Let the machine run first for a few minutes before putting in the laundry. Launder as usual.
- Cat litter and activated charcoal do wonders when it comes to absorbing odors. Let them sit in enclosed areas (like cars) for a few days before taking them out or vacuuming them.
- If any or all of these solutions still do not work for you, you may want to get professional help. Take your car to your local car detail, or hire a professional cleaner for household spills.
At the end of the day, prevention is still the best cure. Sour milk smells are absolutely disgusting, so it’s probably wise that you restrict drinks in certain areas of your house and in your car. Keeping track of all your milk items also helps a lot to prevent those nasty accidents from happening. If you enjoy reading this article, you'll also enjoy learning how to get rid of sour house smell.