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Question DetailsAsked on 3/3/2016

I have the same cabbage smell coming from a closet

The closet is very tidy and everything is clean. Yet when I go around that corner of the bedroom next to the closet and inside the closet, the smell of stinky cabbage is there. Could it be related to air conditioning vents, animal dead between ceiling and roof? There's enough space there for rats or any other animal to crawl in.

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1 Answer


Dead animals are usually described as rotten meat smell, or sometimes as sewage. Insect nests commonly described as sticky sweet or acrid sweet. Stinky sweaty socks or musty is the normal description for damp dust buildup or mildewy/moldy A/C evaporator coil in HVAC ducts.

Rotten vegetable / cabbage smell I would say is likely fungal - wet rot and fungal growth on wood and/or carpet due to a slow leak. I would start with pulling back the carpet in the closet and see if there is any growth or staining on the subfloor, or wet padding/carpet.

First, smell at multiple HVAC vents right after it kicks on - if smell in multiple vent, likely buildup of dust and lint on A/C evaporator is going moldy - or something going fungusy in the air handler area, which you should be able to easily confirm or rule out by walking around the A/C handler / heat pump / furnace (whichever you have). If coming out of HVAC vents, then I would start with a Heating and A/C contractor on the assumption your coil needs cleaning - assuming you have central air.

If you rule out the HVAC system as a source, then I would call a plumber if that immediate location backs up against a kitchen or bathroom where a leaking pipe could be the source. Otherwise, maybe a Handyman to go on a hunt for you.

If you have attic access of course you (or Handyman) could go up there to check for signs of animal nests, droppings /urine, food items, etc. If that is the source, then Animal Removal would be the normal category for that service - to remvoe the animals, clean up behind them, and block off their entrance points with wire screening or wire and spray foam.

One afterthought - check your closet outside walls - in cold outside conditions, if clothing or stored items are pressed up against the outside wall, it can insulate it enough to cause freezing at that point, resulting in condensation in the clothing from moisture in the air, leading to mildew and eventually mold and fungal growth in the clothing.

Here is a link to another previouys similar questions FYI -

Answered 4 years ago by LCD

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