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Nose Blind: You Might Have a Smelly Home Without Even Knowing It

Have you ever had a friend walk into your home and complain about an odor you couldn’t smell? ‘Nose blindness’, also known as olfactory habituation, is the mechanism behind this temporary loss of smell. When you are exposed to an ongoing non-threatening stimulus, like the smell of dirty laundry from your teenager’s room or your cat's stinky litter box, your brain will eventually tune it out.

This process, known as ‘habituation’, can happen across all senses. When scent is involved it’s called nose blindness. It is theorized that without processes like habituation your brain would be too overwhelmed to focus on more important things. For example, if your brain was always focused on your teen’s smelly laundry it might miss stimuli more important to your safety like the smell of smoke coming from the kitchen.

While it might be essential for normal brain function, nose blindness can be stressful if you want to keep your home smelling clean for guests.

Reversing Nose Blindness

Nose blindness can be temporarily reversed by leaving and re-entering the area the smell is in. This explains why after returning from a vacation you may suddenly be aware of your home’s unique scent.

Focusing on smells in your home can also combat nose blindness. Since habituation causes your awareness of certain stimuli to be perceived subconsciously, thinking about finding a smell might bring it back into your awareness.

In both of these cases, however, you will naturally re-habituate and become nose blind again.

Maintaining A Fresh Smelling Home

In the end, nose blindness is a natural phenomena that can’t truly be prevented. The best way to make sure your home smells clean for guests is by staying on top of household cleanliness and improving your indoor air quality with a whole home air purifier.

You can easily remove smells from your entire home with an air purifier like AirPrizm. This in-duct purifier uses light-activated technology to capture and destroy the actual particles that cause stubborn and unwanted smells in your home.

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