Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Mystery Odor

Julie sent me an e-mail at work today saying that there was some very strong Pine Sol-like odor in the house and she couldn't figure out where it was coming from. At first she thought it was the Vick's Vapo-Rub she had used but then she said this was much too strong for that.

After giving her all my suggestions she still couldn't find it, then later in the day she left to take her mom to a doctor's appointment.

As soon as I entered the house, wham - Pine Sol! Or something very similar. I couldn't localize it, either, although it was by far strongest in the kitchen. I opened the cabinets and sniffed, the dishwasher, checked out the garbage disposal, the fridge.. nothing. The trash had been emptied out so it wasn't coming from there, either.

Our laundry area is in a recessed area in our kitchen, with the washing machine and dryer squeezed in there. The smell seemed to be stronger around this section of the house. Then I spied a sponge mop leaning against the corner of the recessed area. I picked it up and smelled it - whew, no mistaking the odor! The cleaners must have left it there but that was a week ago. I was wondering why didn't it smell before today? And it was wet, too.

I took it outside and expected the indoor smell to disappear but it didn't. There was a mop in the corner as well but it had never been used, with the head still wrapped in plastic. I smelled the mop and yup, it smelled like Pine Sol, too. So outside it went.

But the odor was still present. Then I saw streaks on the back wall in the recessed area that were still wet. Now how could that happen? Did Julie push the sponge mop against the wall and make all the liquid spill out? Why would she do that?

Since she still wasn't home to ask why or if she would do that, I got some paper towels, climbed on the dryer and started wiping the liquid off the walls. Then something dripped on my hand. I stopped and stared at it - just like those horror or mystery movies where someone is doing something and then all of a sudden blood drips on their hands. Eeeeee!

But this liquid was clear so either it was alien blood or something else. I looked up on the shelf and discovered a long-forgotten plastic bottle of drain opener that the plumber had left years ago after cleaning out our main line. The contents must have finally dissolved the container and now it was leaking. So that's the source! Finally everything made sense. Messy sense, but sense nonetheless.

I picked up the bottle, noting all of the hazard warnings listed on the label, wiped it off, wrapped it up and put it in the trash. Then I cleaned off the shelf and finished drying the wall but it seems some of it must have dripped on the floor behind the dryer and I couldn't reach back there.

At least the mystery is solved.. for a while I was thinking maybe somehow a bottle of Pine Sol had rolled under our house and exploded, haha.. I guess there are worse types of odors it could have been.

So for a while I guess our house is going to have that fresh, clean Pine Sol scent! For today's YouTube: just substitute these lyrics into the song -

I can breathe clearly now, the smell is gone..

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