Meth Lab Smell

What does a meth lab smell like?

Meth labs can smell like cat urine, rotten eggs, sewer gas, ether, wet diapers, paint thinners, paint removers, adhesives, cleaning fluids, vinegar, pickled foods, cattle feed lots, and fertilizers.

Meth labs can smell like a hospital due to the common use of ethyl ether as an anesthetic. Nasal irritant. Ether-like: Aromatic, sweet odor often accompanied by a sweet taste.

meth lab smellsSmells like paint thinners, paint removers, adhesives, and cleaning fluids. Type of odor often found in auto body shops or furniture refinishing shops. Eye and nasal irritant.

Smells like odor found in vinegar, mayonnaise, salad dressings or pickled food. Pungent, acrid, or sour smell. Eye irritant.

Smells like wet diapers, glass cleaners, cattle feed-lots, or fertilizers. A sharp, irritating odor.  Eye and nasal irritant.

Note: Meth lab homes that have been allowed to air out for some time may not have any detectable odors. The absence of odor in a home does not mean the home is not contaminated.

Meth Lab Smell
Original publish date Nov. 2, 2008

Source: N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health, Hazardous Substances Emergency Events Surveillance Program (HSEES)

Unusual, strong odors (like cat urine, ether, ammonia, acetone or other chemicals).

Source: W.V. Department of Health and Human Services


  1. terry mcenaney says

    If your smelling a fireplace burning and the temperature outside is 85 degrees,that,s probably not a fireplace !

    • says

      My family & I have been in this rental home for over three years now. I know the owner’s son who used to live here is a meth addict. I had three cats die within 4 months of moving in here. My new cat is has asthma. I have had breathing problems since days after moving in; my husband has asthma now.

      The other day I was in one of the rooms of the house and smelled something like fireplace in several areas of the room. It was a 90 degree day and the fireplace had been meticulously cleaned months ago. Can you explain what you mean about the fireplace smell.


  2. terry mcenaney says

    One Meth Lab can blow up an entire city block if it explodes ! So ignoring the smells is not a good idea. Call the police.

    • lynn says

      I am stuck in a apt. whatever they are doing/brewing is toxic!!! The meth smell docs. I have googled match what I have been going through since May 2009. I have tried the police, they did not show, I have called meth lines etc. etc. can’t find a way to handle this.

      I have witnesses, nothing; “you have to see them doing it.” WHAT? I have done everything you can name…..nothing! I love my apt. It has been sold twice and we are on the 7th manager (in six years.) The police are so helpful, “why don’t I move?” Why are the victims victimized twice?

      Maybe I haven’t moved because I thought I could get “THEM” I can’t just beam up! What can I do to save my home?

      Devastated in Spokane

      • says


        If I wasn’t getting any response to my phone calls, I’d go to the police station and talk to them in person about the situation. As you are probably aware, meth labs can and do explode without any warning before they do. Additionally, the fumes are also putting the health of others in danger, as well.

        Something else you could do: When you smell the fumes, call the police and ask them if they can send someone over to “smell” the air. Tell them that you smell meth lab fumes.

        If there is an active meth cook in process, they can legally enter that residence because it presents “exigent circumstances”. Basically, exigent circumstances will allow the police to enter a property without a search warrant, because they have reason to believe that there is an immediate danger present. Otherwise, police need to have a search warrant, before they can enter a home without permission. In order to get that search warrant, they would need to have sufficient evidence that your neighbors are running a meth lab.

        Good luck!

        • Elaine says

          Don’t forget to call the Fire Department if there are odors of volatile chemicals that might be an explosive hazard. If a fireman can smell a volatile chemical that could be a fire or explosion hazard, they can investigate.

          • Judy says

            On Friday, May 23rd at 9:05 p.m. I walked out to our RV area to check to make sure it was closed and locked. I walked back to our covered patio and was instantly hit with a very strong odor of ammonia/sulfur/cat urine. My eyes began to water, my nose burned and there was an awful taste of metal in my mouth. I was grasping for air and made it into our home. I began to throw up and had a horrible headache.

            I called the police and the officer told me that since Fridays are garbage days, that is probably what I was smelling. I told him that they haul the garbage away, they don’t dump it in our yard. Then he said that I probably had a gas leak. I told him that if I had a gas leak, then it would still be leaking.

            I discovered that a house two doors down is a meth lab. All of their windows are blacked out, they have a large ‘air reclaimer’ in their back yard that has a large aluminum tube connected to one of the bedrooms in the house. They are very reclusive and have three small boys and several dogs. Today they brought in a funny looking stove and a lot of ‘propane’ canisters. On Thursday, their electricity was cut off. That is probably why I smelled the meth residue. Their reclaimer was not working.

            I hope to have them arrested and the children removed by the end of this coming week.

          • DeAnna says

            Dear Elaine,
            Actually, I believe I am dealing with a situation myself. No, in certain towns and cities the FD do not have that authority like say “sewer gases”. I have been smelling acrid, burnt plastic-like yet oven cleaner/bathroom cleaner bitter. I have no taste except bitter and am coughing late at night and am now on MY second night of sleeplessness. So I called the non-emergency police dispatch, who then summoned the FD. All I wanted was a police officer to come check the smell out. I have been coughing and wheezing for several days now as I have asthma and my 3 y.o. has Autism and Seizure Disorder.
            So the FD came lights flashing and sirens wailing. As soon as they pull up. The upstairs lady flings ALL of her windows WIDE OPEN!!!! So they walk around with their gadgets and tell me that THEY CANNOT enter another tenant’s apartment because they aren’t the PD! If I suspect drug use to then call the police…I thought that is what I did, right?
            So this morning, she comes pounding on my door (which I didn’t open, I just spoke to her through it–I didn’t want to scare my little guy). She asks me why I called the cops. It was none of my business, eh?!!? SHE was going call our property managers and get ME in trouble. Ok, she can try. I don’t have any criminal history, but I know for a fact that she DOES!! 😀

      • Ann says

        I sympathize with your terrible situation. I just moved into an apartment and within a couple of days waves of noxious odors started flooding the apartment. It is so bad that I literally can’t eat in my apartment ( the smell is overpowering. I’ve now been here for two weeks and I can no longer sleep because I am overheated and my heart is pounding. The only thing I can think is that the chemical used to create the “speed” effect is effecting my profoundly.

        I too have told my manager, called the police, had the fire department come out and generally do the good citizen practical things. I also received the response that “I have to be able to prove it”. The local police (Chico CA) told me they had no intention of even knocking on the door of the apartment next to mine where this powerful saturating odor come from because they “don’t go around scaring people without cause”. I suspect that even if I die in this toxic environment it will go unnoticed and unabated.

        If you see someone stealing a television set you call the police and they respond. Evidently, since our sense of smell identifies this heighness crime it is not as reliable as our sense of sight. What’s wrong with this picture. How many thousands of innocent people are being exposed to these horrible chemicals and having their health destroyed because we are such a lazy and selfish culture? How many children and elders live day in and day out in apartments, houses, and mobile homes suffering the same way we are? And how many will die and/or grow up to be addicts and manufacturers as a direct result of our complacency?

        I have signed a 12 month lease and my landlord says they won’t let me out of it since I can’t “prove” the smell is toxic. I guess I will move out and either keep paying for an apartment I can’t live in or…or what? I feel like I am suffering the consequences of bad choices that I have never made.

        • lynn says

          OMG Hi Ann,

          Have not been to meth lab homes for months! I am so glad to have a reply, I did move to another apt. across the street it was bad too! Paid for six months on two apts. you have to sign a six mo. lease before you can move in. I love my home, moved back, rather be poisoned in a apt. I like.

          I really need someone to talk too about this if I try to tell anyone, they look at me like I have two heads! They don’t have support groups for those who only think they are living under a meth lab. The “Meth lab smells I have read about, are exactly what I have somehow managed to survive. I have unlimited long distance. If you need to talk, maybe we can find away to handle this. I even googled doctor Phil! Thinking that Patty Murray our Wa. state senator, might be a possibility. Spokanes “finest” are concerned with “click-it or ticket, protecting adults from themselves, but what about from Meth monsters??

        • Eric says

          You need to get out of there NOW. I just experienced the same thing; the chemicals also seep into your possessions, and I am having to give up nearly everything I own. The contamination is like an invisible powder, that very easily gets onto anything your possessions come near. If you want to prove it is meth, you can use this kit developed by NIOSH, Centers for Disease Control (the CDC); however, I did this, videotaped the entire thing starting from the front of the house to the positive result, put it on youtube and sent the link to everybody including the Chief of Police and the Health Department, and still NOBODY did anything to help me, despite the fact that there are at least five local and state agencies who are supposed to help. I paid a thousand dollars to a industrial hygienist to do tests, got a report proving overt contamination, widely distributed this report, and still nobody would do anything to help me. A test might help with your landlord. Get yourself to safety, get your possessions that you absolutely need (birth certificate, picture of Grandma, minimal stuff), and think in your mind that the rest of your things were destroyed in a fire, because you cannot have them in your home and be healthy. You might seek the help of your local legal services to navigate the situation with your landlord, but that apartment is not habitable. You will most likely lose almost everything you own, there is nobody to sue, and the health effects will be awful – but you HAVE TO get out NOW, your health is the most important thing.

        • JB says

          You have a right to peace and quiet in your house / apt. That includes the landlord maintaining it in a habitable state.

          Give notice to landlord you plan to move out immediately . Keep it simple and straight forward. What you’ve seen, heard, smelled and the effects it’s had on you. Get neighbors to write their experiences.
          Get a note from your / a doctor or nurse noting the effects it is having on you.

          Then move out. Go sleep on a friends couch. Get out. Your health is worth the world.

          Tell the landlord your expect full return of your deposit and unused prepaid rent. Or you will seek legal damages. (In California it is 3 times the deposit. )
          Better yet, pay an attorney to write a letter for you.

          How do landlords/managers think? They want your money. They do not care about you. Are you going to be a problem and cost them money? Are you going to file a law suite? Are you backed up with an attorney? Other tenants complaining too?

          If your might go away quietly and at little cost…….. they keep your $$$$
          If you loud, noisy, involve other tenants and neighbors, have an attorney send a letter, might take them to court…………..they give you your $$$$ back. Unless they are stupid.

    • Nancy says

      I’ve been plagued with odors of ammonia, white out, indelible markers, rotten cabbage, crap, and smells like a camp stove is burning. I had a TIA (small stroke) a few days ago from it. They’re making it again and I’m having chest pain and the whole left side of my face is numb. So I called the cops and they said they couldn’t do anything unless they had actual evidence. I told them if they could get a K-9 unit out here they’d have themselves a meth lab. They said they couldn’t do anything.

    • Kimberly says

      been around people who clean up meth lab homes and the new method the shake and bake does not smell like the red p or the nazi method. you have to look for the other warning signs. the ones that i was around working with last year they cleaned 50 and only about 5 had the smell with them please don’t just go by the smell look for the signs, your health and the childrens health and elderly is a lot more important. i have beem to talk to Senators and only 1 in 5 will listen you must keep talking!

      • lynn says

        What is all the hammering drilling ?? What r they doing == mother very sick– cops called– they seem to b in on it== they did not follow up??? House set to appear owner lives there but does not– saw guy running w hot pan from kitchen to shed–people come and go sneak around- windows blocked, All smoke out side–SMELLS–SICK–HOA PRES said oh yes they have been cooking all yr..HOA NEVER TOLD US!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Nancy says

      I agree. I never thought of it as that but it definitely smells like that. I didn’t have a clue what it was until I started looking online.

  3. L.B. says

    Yes agreed. You should advise police, and for heaven’s sake leave that place. Drugs wreck lives in many more ways than one.

  4. nthomas says

    As I was walking my dog this afternoon i smelled a rotten egg/chemical smell. I know what this smell is, and it isnt natural gas. I immediatly contacted the police as my town has a unsatisfiable hunger for meth. Only a single fire truck showed up, asked me where the smell was and simply left. I can tell that this individual house is a squat house. It is abandonded, and still I see people in and out all hours of the day. I have reason to believe they are actually protected by the police. After I told them my location they ceased the emergency protocol and hung up. Now I know how gang warfare works. But I never thought in this small town.

    • David says

      Hello, my name is David. Im smelling a Foul Smell kinda like dead animal or rotten eggs and im wondering cause my next door loser is well known for drugs, what could it possibly be? i need to know. could it be sulfur and not drug labs? should i leave my home? please help me with my problem.

  5. lynn says

    Meth lab homes,

    Thank you!! I was not aware that: “exigent circumstances”. Basically, exigent circumstances will allow the police to enter a property They the police did not advise me of this! “Unfortunately we can’t go in you have to see them.” unquote.

    Too bad I don’t have a xray camera or vision! We will try exigent circumstances. If I don’t it is no,if I do, it probabably is no but it could be yes!

  6. says

    Have a idea, that would end a lot of controversy, Potential citizens would have to have mandatory drug
    testing twice a week untill yhey are citizens!!. After all,why should they be eligible for the same rights we have untill they become citizens. Random testing for at least a year.That would be the price they pay for
    being here.
    Fair housing is not fair, when only people from other countries are treated fairly!! Mad as heck !#@***!!
    Auschwitz Spokane.. Gasoline,, rubber,, ether, eyes watering, throat burning, can’t breath or swallow, The only thing that makes me feel good is knowing how bad it must be up close and personal, working with all these chemicals. Maybe they will O.D. or get help? I don’t care what adults choose to do to themselves, AT ALL!!
    Keep the anchovies on YOUR half of the pizza and enjoy.

  7. says

    To Kimberly,

    Thank you! It is so insane that “they” the “justice system” will not help! we can police 3rd world countries, but not our own. The oxygen mask gos to “them,” not first, but INSTEAD!… Cool.
    When are we going to have charity START at home?

  8. Heather says

    We just moved into an apartment away from home for my husbands work and we noticed strong chemical smell. We thought at first it was just because they painted. We cleaned, used candles, sprays and everything to take the smell out. We went back to our home after a week and then I could smell chemicals on our clothes. I had to re-wash everything because it was so bad. We called the apartment management and they said they would do something about it. We got back a week later and now it smelled like bleach and they put in an air purifier. I started to look around and on top of the cabinets I found a sticky layer of residue. It was black and in some places yellow. I found black dust in the corners and hard to get places the cleaners obviously didn’t get to. Our friends live next door and have normal dust on top of their cabinets. The manager at the complex said they would send cleaners back to clean to to bottom. We have two young boys and I am worried about the smell now that i have been doing research. Does this sound like it used to be a meth lab? Its strange though because its not a horrible apartment or in a bad area. Its a nice gated community. Any input on what the smell could be would be helpful. Smells like paint thinner/spray paint. Thanks!!

    • says


      Meth can be made anywhere, including some very nice homes and apartments located in some very nice areas. Based on what you’ve smelled and seen, I would definitely get the apartment tested for meth and have someone check the air quality in the apartment. Even if meth wasn’t made in your apartment, it could still be contaminated, if the HVAC /heating system adjoins to other apartments.


      Keep your windows open as much as possible to dissipate the chemicals that are in the apartment.

      Call your local police department and explain the situation, including the fact that you have children. Ask them if they any records about the apartment or records about the previous tenants. Making meth is just one way of contaminating a home; smoking meth can contaminate it, as well. Keep in mind that police only find about 2 or 3 out of every 10 homes where meth has been made. If they don’t have a record about the apartment, it doesn’t mean that meth wasn’t made or smoke there.

      Call your local health department and see if they have any records about the apartment. Tell them about the situation and ask them if they have any records about the apartment being used to make meth. Ask them if they can test the air quality in your home.

      You can buy meth test kits online, however having a professional test your home is a better way to go, in my opinion. You may miss things that professionals won’t and test results from a certified professional are better for you to have if it ends up in a court battle over rent money paid, lease agreements, etc.

      If you want me to help you research the situation, send me the address of the property – through my contact form – and I’ll see what I can find out for you.

  9. Kemp says

    I am currently living in a leased home that has a strange pervasive odor – its smells like a mix of smoke/wet drywall/chemical type odor. The home has been extensively remodeled inside prior to us moving in; however cabinets/appliances were not replaced. According to the local police, the previous owners did use crack, and now I am beginning to wonder if they were manufacturing meth also.
    When we leave our home the smell is on all of our belongings – I can even smell it on my six month old’s hair and mine, even immediately after a shower. After doing some research I am terrified that there may be something harmful in our home, possibly meth, but no one will help me – I have spoken with the health department, EPA, and the state health department, all to no avail. Our landlord keeps saying he doesn’t know what it is and has done things like provide air fresheners, odor killing powder for the basement floor (small area where fuel oil may have been spilled in the past) and offered to send a cleaning lady to clean the basement (he thinks it may be a fuel oil smell), but none of these things have helped so far. The smell cannot be masked by any amount of air freshener and our clothing smells terrible even after being freshly laundered. I have no idea what to do at this point. Do you think the odor may be meth? I cannot fathom what else would cause such a pervasive smell and I was informed that proper testing could cost upward of $4,000, which we do not have. At this point I just want out of our lease and to get our deposits back so that we can move, however I don’t think our landlord will allow it and we have several months left on the lease. I would love to hear any thoughts on this.

    • frustrated with neighbors says

      Hi Kemp,
      You may want to try a consumer advocate. See what resources they have for you. In the state where I live, the health department is obligated to investigate all claims of unhealthy, unsanitary, or dangerous living conditions. Some areas offer free legal advice, that could even point you in the right direction. But I definitely wouldn’t wait for your deposit to move out. I know it can be tough when money is tight but put you and your family first and trust that you will find what you need. If you weigh the difference between the amount of your refunded deposit against medical bills because the smells caused temporary or permanent damage to you and your family, it may put things in a different light. Hope that helps.

    • Nancy says

      That sounds EXACTLY like meth. That would be another way to describe the smell I’m getting in my apartment. I KNOW they are doing/making meth. My apartment smells like that wet drywall smell with paint or white out. Then some ammonia. Then I occasionally smell sharpie type smells and sometimes it smells like rotten cabbage and poop or brussel sprouts. I’ve tried to get help from everywhere but they just sweep it under the rug and say they can’t do anything. I’m going to have to move. Everyone in this complex knows she’s doing hard drugs and selling them. Sorry you’re having to go through this too.

  10. frustrated with neighbors says

    To add to what Meth Lab Homes is saying, even if the HVAC in the meth lab isn’t connected to other apartments, if you are smelling odors or chemicals, there is always a possibility of a residue build-up of those chemicals in your heating/AC ducts. The reason we smell at all is because microscopic particles of objects (cleaners, paint thinners, flowers, baked goods, trash, etc) are floating in the air and into our noses where our sensors decipher what it is. Actual physical particals, which is why they can cause us physical damage when we breathe them in.
    I’m pretty sure my neighbors are running a meth lab. They’re up all night making wierd noises (tapping, hammering, drilling), people coming and going all the time. The other day they had a sign on the door telling visitors to knock on the window. Their windows are always blocked out in the basement. I’m always smelling acetone or propane, wood smoke, and other wierd smells on top of a butt load of cigarette smoke. The police have raided the apartment before and took one of them to jail (the police don’t raid apartments for traffic violations :) ). But the managers and owners continue to do nothing about it. I get so frustrated!

  11. JW says

    At around 2:30 today, while I was at work, my dad noticed an overwhelming chemical-type smell take over our apartment. I came home around 6:30 and it hit me when I came through the door. I assumed it was paint thinner, because that’s what it most closely resembled. I’ve been disoriented for about 2 days now and have had a headache since I got back from work. The smell can be masked, but it’s not necessarily going away. I called the emergency maintenance people at the complex, only for them to tell me that the apartment adjacent to us had renovations done, but it’s just hard to believe. Any thoughts?

    • says


      You should open some windows and get some fresh air in to your apartment to dissipate the chemical fumes that are going in to your apartment! Masking smells by using air fresheners, etc, will only fill the air in your apartment with more chemicals, which is the opposite of what you need to do. You need clean air!

      I also recommend that you notify the police department about what’s going on and ask them to investigate a suspected meth lab in my apartment building. It’s best that they determine what is causing the fumes that you’re smelling. If it’s a meth lab, it needs to be shut down asap!

      You might also want to contact the health and/or fire department and tell them that you’ve been getting sick from fumes that smell like paint thinner in your apartment building. Ask them if they can come to your apartment and do an air quality check. Breathing in those fumes are NOT good for your health, no matter where those fumes are coming from! Additionally, those fumes could result in a fire.

      Lastly, you might want to keep a record of everyone you’ve contacted, names, dates, times, and document about what you and your father have experienced including as many details as possible. If the problem turns in to a legal matter, you will need good documentation.

  12. Cede says

    Okay, Im 17 and trust me i dont know much but i am full of questions..
    there is this little boy who rides my school bus and everytime he gets on in the morning he smells like many of the things that were said above..when I drive past on the weekends the same distinct smell is around their home. Our bus driver called it in and no one has seemed to try and do something. what should i do to help. especially when im in a meth watch community where houses are blowing up every other week?

    • says

      I understand your concerns about the little boy on your bus. The situation doesn’t sound good. You could also report it to the police. If you’re in high school, you could report the situation to your guidance counselor, a police officer at your school if you have one, and the school principal. That situation should be investigated by the police and child protective services, as soon as possible! If that little boy is living in a home where meth is being made, he is in serious danger. : (

  13. jilly says

    Around 11:30 tonight I smelled what I though was burning plastic. My son could smell it also. The smell was so strong, it woke my husband up. As our windows all were wide open due to the heat, we went outside. WOW!! The smell was even stronger. About 5 minutes later we noticed a large and smaller size fire truck going slowly up and down the street. We have only lived here 6 months and this is the first time we have smelled this odor. With everything stated above in earlier comments, could it be someone has a Meth lab??? The fire department spent a good half hour going up and down the street, plus they entered two different mobile home parks near by. Then they slowly went back and forth again, shining lights on a few of the more “interesting” homes. We live on a very busy street(mostly due to the two mobile home parks), otherwise the neighbors are quiet and very friendly if we see them while out walking.

    My big concern is this. Even if it is a distance away from us, but we can smell this strange odor, what kind of health risks are there?

    • says

      Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer to your question. The health risks associated with exposure to chemicals depends on a lot of factors i.e. the chemicals themselves and the individual that’s exposed. Young children absorb more chemicals than adults and therefore are at a higher risk of having health problems, as a result. Researchers also believe that the elderly and people who are already sick i.e. those with compromised immune systems, also face a greater danger of the effects of chemicals on their bodies.

      If I were you, I’d contact the health department and let them know about that odor. You might also want to contact the police and/or fire department and ask them why they were on your street. I can’t say for sure if there was a meth lab on your street, however anything that smells strong enough to wake you up, is definitely something that should be investigated!

  14. Amanda says

    We have lived in our apartment for a month. Within the last week, I have noticed a horrible smell that only occurs in the middle of the night. It smells like rotten eggs, but shortly after I start to notice, I smell a burning smell and my nose and eyes start burning. It floods the house because my windows are open. When I close the windows, the smell is gone. I never smell it during the day, only after midnight and it comes at random times. It may last 5 minutes, then may reoccur in an hour. I called the gas company and they sent someone out, but I later found that there are no gas lines in our entire complex. I told my landlord today and she advised me to call her if I keep smelling it over the upcoming week. She will then call the police with an anonymous tip. I wondered if it was the plumbing, but then it should smell all the time, not just after midnight. Could it be a meth lab? If so, what can I do to protect myself and my home? How do I get something done without the “bad guys” knowing that it’s me who called the police? My husband is away for a while, so I am here alone and all family are far away. I don’t know if I should be concerned about this. Also don’t know any neighbors well enough to ask if they’ve noticed it too. Help!

    • says

      Hi Amanda,
      Your landlord should have called the police, as soon as you told her! If someone is making meth in that apartment complex, the police need to put an end to it…the sooner the better! The chemicals used to make meth are highly explosive. It’s very important that you contact the police and let them know that you think someone is making meth in your apartment complex. When your life may literally depend on the situation getting reported to the police, don’t rely on someone else reporting it for you – especially someone who owns the property who tells you to take a wait and see attitude. Sounds like the landlord is looking out for herself, not for your safety. Stay safe!

  15. Concerned in CA says

    I just moved to a CA apartment a few months ago and I suspect the neighboring apartment unit has a meth lab. The worst acrid/ plastic burning + cigarette smoke smell comes around every week or so in the middle of the night. My window is right next to their window and I sleep with my window open, so I notice it and have to leave my room sometimes. My eyes are really irritated and watery on a regular basis at night, although I can’t smell anything sometimes when this happens! I haven’t smelled any of the sweet or acetone smells described above on a regular basis though, so could this still be a meth lab?

    I always see them smoking cigarettes and pot outside. I hear them moving things and hammering all day sometimes. They have a new-looking car that they just hang out in late at night at weird hours. They don’t appear to have any employment, so my apartment mates and I wonder how they pay rent and bought their car.

    I called the police, but they have to have evidence to search of course. Does anyone think it’s worthwhile to call 911 to get the police to come in the middle of the night and smell the smells I’m smelling? Also could someone confirm whether or not they think the burning plastic smell could be a meth lab?

    • says

      If the police smell the odors of a meth lab, they CAN enter the residence without a warrant, under something called “exigent circumstances”. Exigent circumstances, according to Cornell University are described as follows: “Circumstance that require an immediate response. An exception to the general prohibition on a warrantless arrest or search. Occurs when police officers believe they have probable cause and there is no time to obtain a warrant.” If someone is making meth, it requires an “immediate response”! The “no time” to obtain a warrant applies when police believe there is an immediate risk to the public’s safety. Since meth labs can explode and/or catch fire at any time, they present a threat to the public’s health and safety. I believe that detecting the odors of a meth lab and or seeing people making meth in the house would be “probable cause” for the police to enter under the “exigent circumstances” exception to the search warrant rule. If I were you, I would call the police when you detect the odors that you’re smelling, especially since they’re making you sick. Stay safe and stay healthy!

  16. says

    My husband and I are apartment managers who for at least 6 six have been smelling a disgusting odor. It actually changes from time to time. IE-rotton eggs, amonia, soiled diapers, really bad body odor, sour milk that has been left in heat for long time, etc. We can’t figure out where the smell is coming from. It is mainly in the lobby area. I constantly sprinkle the carpets with stuff, use scentsy sprays, lysol, etc. We have been getting many complaints from tennants of the same smells. It changes but it definately not a sweet smell. We have informed the owner more times than I can count. He had me do an inspection on all the apartments but smelled nothing in any of them. It is basically only in the lobby area. We have caught 1 tennant smoking in lobby area several times which is against the policy, but the owner says we need to get a picture of her doing it. She does it after midnight usually until like 5 in the morning. Now we have had several other tennants complaing of her smoking there also. We have had 3 tennants say it smells like Meth. I don’t know what Meth smells like so I have no clue. I do relay everything to the owner since we can’t do anything without his sayso, but we have contacted the police several times and asked them to just to a walk through with the drug dog. Not once have they ever shown up though. Even tonight my husband called them again but we get no help from them. I feel so angry because this one tennant is smoking in lobby and violating her contract but the owner will not evict her. My grandchildren walked out of our apartment last week and said “grandma, it stinks like peed diapers out here”. How can I get someone to listen? The owner has plenty of complaints from several tennants but they are getting nowhere with the owner or police either. Any suggestions?

  17. says

    Call or email your local newspapers and or television stations and ask them if they can have a reporter investigate what’s going on. A video camera set up to monitor the smoking that’s going on in the hallway might also prove helpful in getting police to take notice of that situation and may be enough for them to obtain a search warrant.

  18. Bonita says

    My husband and I rented our home to acouple with a child. We had to evect them after nine months due to a water leak they never reported that did extensive damage to our kitchen. Since we have moved back we have had to deal with a urine smell in our home in most of the rooms and one room has a weird odor to it. The basement smells strange too, I cant realy describe the smell but it is strong. We have been cleaning surfaces that need washed down several times to get dirt off them. Even the walls seem to have a light film of dirt. The service dirt looks sort of like soot. One room they had locked a dog in and it was covered in diarrhia and smells strong of urine also. We thought that maybe the dog had peed throughout the house. The renters cut the wires to our guarge-storage shed combination and they cut the wires to a security light we had in our yard and took out the post and the light. Both my husband and I have been having sinus problems and head aches. I don’t know anything about drugs but I am wondering noe if our home could have been used for making drugs. They kept the windows coverd with sheets. If it might of been used for making drugs is there special cleaning that needs to be done? If so what kind of cleaning would need to be done?

  19. Lynn says

    Periodically,when I open the windows of my apartment,I smell a smell like Cleanser,chlorine.Are those smells associated with a Meth Lab?

    • says

      Since bleach is used as a cleaning agent, it’s hard to say why you’re smelling chlorine, when you open your apartment windows. However, bleach is sometimes used to disguise the odors associated with meth labs or cover up the smell of meth smoke.

  20. Concerned in WA says

    My toilet gets a burnt smell to it and around the same time I get a solvent, ether smell, wet dirty laundry, or sometimes a dead animal smell that gets so strong that I have to open up the windows in my apartment. I literally wake up in the middle of the night and can’t breath so I open up all the windows, then I can’t sleep for about 2 days afterwards. The “wet dirty laundry smell” is a chemical smell, it was also in the stair well one time so strong I had to hold my breath to get to my apartment. What is this?

  21. JC says

    I can’t even read this right now. It’s not encouraging. I have an autoimmune disease as well as ptsd/other mental health issues that cause paranoia. So far, my friends think my neighbor is just a really bad cook. I don’t know what to think. I live above this place. Is there a way to test the odors from outside of the location they are emanating from? I’m thinking I should get the hell out now, but I just signed a lease. Landlord says he wants at least 2 mos. notice. Unless I can prove why-and he releases me from the lease, I’m in a jam. I think the anxiety might kill me before the chemicals do-if my intuition is right at all.

  22. Nurse Wall says

    Just put 10 grand on my credit card having a Bio Haz – Meth lab cleanup company decontaminate my home from attic to flooring- after discovering evidence of meth lab usage in my attic.
    Then had carpet and padding all ripped out and replaced.
    Threw away everything that cannot be washed (twice).
    I’m royally pissed, furious actually. I was hospitalized last summer with various complaints; several times – told them I thought I was being poisoned / and felt “drugged” at times. Lost 20 lbs.
    Hired a PI. I am out over 70 grand and just getting started.
    They break in, line the ducts with carbon, using gorilla glue and maybe tacks, redirect your utilities to vent- in my case removed expansion tank off top of my hot water heater, used my furnace, my whole house water filtering system. I have multiple dead bushes. Dead patches in yard out back.
    I am in North Carolina, outside Charlotte. No “meth labs ” have ever been discovered in my county.
    Any one reading this who feels generous and can help let me know.

    • says

      question: what were you saying about a vent? one of the ducts leading to an AC/heating vent has been closed off under the house; it’s hard to get under so we don’t know why. I have had many health issues which I thought were allergies but nothing is testing positive for allergies. thanks.

  23. says

    yes I have been living in a apartment complex which is very large I live down stairs and have lady and man that stay that appear to be about in their late 60 early 70″s and I smell cocaine crack all day and all night I have my apartment to get the proper air in order to breath I also lay down to sleep at night I smell all of these strong orders rotten eggs wet diapers sour pickle a lot of gases ,ammonia chemicals. all kinds of other orders that is un explained I also have asthma and other health issues like depression arthritis anxiety this has been going on for about two years happening about threes now.

    • says

      Christine… call the police and let them know about the odors that you’re smelling. Did you let your landlord know? The police and your landlord need to check that out, before a tragedy occurs. Open up your windows to let some fresh air in! It sounds like you’re living in a very toxic environment! If they don’t find anything, I’d seriously think about moving out of there, if I were you.

  24. John says

    Hello, So we have been living in this apartment for almost 1 year. Its not is the best area but its really close t my job. This past month my mom has been coming out of the bedroom saying she is sick and tired of smelling Pot, CIG smoke and now crack!! I was like wait how do you know what crack smells like…. She said she said well I smell chemical orders so I assume… All joking aside one day I stayed home from work and mid day I smelled that meth smell I have friends who use it so I smelled it before. I asked my mom is that the smell and it was… I told her what it was and she is not happy. So last night I was sound asleep and was awoken by a strong old dirty trash smell it was so strong I could taste it in my mouth! I had to get air We think its coming from the house behind our apartment but we are not 100% sure it could be in our apartment as well…. I am going to talk to our manager she has a strong policy about any drug use in the apartment and she does kick people out. But what can we do if its not in my complex?? The police are not going to come that’s for sure. Its really bad only recently so idk what’s going on but now that I can smell it. Ugh. My mom has enough health issues. And I have been getting really bad headache and feeling very tired all the time

    • says

      Report it to the manager and the police, John, for the sake of your health, your mom’s health, and the health and safety of your community. Beyond the fumes and health issues associated with them, meth labs present a fire hazard. Additionally, the lives of children could be at risk. You should definitely report it to the police, even though you don’t feel they will respond to your concerns. The police can’t investigate meth labs they don’t know about.

  25. C says

    I smell what smells like cat urine regularly, and also smell what smells like natural gas, although we do not have any animals, and my apartment has been checked for gas leaks. I cannot smell the gas smell coming from any of the gas pipes/fixtures in my apartment. Just we will catch the odor of cat urine or natural gas from time to time. Could this mean there may be a lab close by?

    • says

      Meth labs can smell like cat urine. Who checked the apartment for gas leaks? The gas company? I’d let the police know that you’re smelling an odor of cat urine and natural gas odors in your apartment. Gas leaks are no joke and meth labs can also cause serious fires. I’d definitely have a fire escape plan in mind, just in case something happens. Better safe than sorry!

  26. jojo says

    Also, along with funky chemical smells you should be also smelling a pistachio ice cream smell. Your tv screens and cell phone screens pc monitors will get a weird film on their screens that’s hard to get rid of. The carpets in a meth lab house or a house that people use in feels different. I dont know how to explain it but u can feel a major difference from carpet in a clean house & and one from a tweekers house. Also be careful I help a friend clean a house that a known user was living in. The basement was half finished, and the owner decided to knock down a wall in the basement to make the room bigger. He took a sledge hammer to the wall to knock it down. Only to discover that the previous renters were throwing their used rigs in between the wall. And I don’t mean like 10-20. I’m talking thousands of syringes. Needless to say the owner ended up losing the house due to the city condemning it cuz of the meth.

  27. says

    I have had a similiar situation for a year. Went to the LocaL police, and was
    told that THEY do not handle matters that may be linked to Meth. They must
    contact a Special Unit, and have them handle it. POLICE do nothing. But,
    they might contact the right one.

  28. CJ says

    I am in a similar situation. I live in an apt. Recently, I had a friend that was having a difficult time need a place to stay. I woke in the middle of the night, one night, to a strange smell. After he left for work, I started looking around and found evidence of meth in my home. My children were asleep in their room!! I was furious and immediately called him and told him to get his things and leave.
    A while later, (approx 1 month) I found a strange spill all over my front door, door jam, and inside in my entryway.
    I immediately got a bucket, soapy water and a brush, and started to clean it. I was in shorts and tank top and barefooted. I started to have labored breathing, racing heart, and severe irritability. It felt like sharp needles were going into my knees and soles of my feet.
    I started to look around my home and found all the evidence I had previously but on a larger scale. Crystals in ALL of my food in the fridge and cabinets including my children’s cereal. It was everywhere!! My oven was filthy and had a strange residue and more crystals inside. The stove had the same residue and crystals and also the burner liners were so burned and black they had to be replaced. There were little black specs everywhere. There were many other things but too much to go list.
    I had been gone for the day the day before and just come home and gone to bed.
    After then going to my car I found all of these things there too and a slight chemical smell. When. I turned on my A/C for the next few days I would get heard palpitations and severe cheat pain. Also, I would get severe insomnia for a few days.
    I am terrified to call the police as it looks like it was me.
    I am baffled. I am working on moving but I am a single mom and it takes more money than I have to do move at the drop of a hat.
    I had my locks changed and it has helped. I only smelt a faint smell of chemicals. I was wondering, after researching this thoroughly, if maybe it was the shake and bake method. If I have cleaned thoroughly is my home still contaminated if this method was used?
    I did see my doctor and he did a urine drug screen. I tested positive!!!! What do I do? I am terrified for my children..Is this something meth cooks do? Break into someone’s home and vehicle to manufacture their drug? I am sure it has something to do with my former friend.
    I would appreciate any advise or input you can give me.

    • says

      Sigh. Unfortunately, what has happened to you does not surprise me. So many innocent people are being victimized by those who use and or make meth. My first concern is for your health and the health of your children. The health effects that you’ve experienced from your exposure, the crystals and residue that you’ve found in your home, and your positive meth test is, to put it mildly, extremely worrisome. Exposure to meth and the chemicals used to make it can cause some very serious health problems, not all of which are immediate. Additionally, if your children are young, exposure to meth lab chemicals can be very dangerous. Young children absorb more chemicals, pound for pound, than adult, due to their small bodies. The concentration of the chemicals in small bodies is a serious health threat, according to government reports and researchers. Is there any way you can stay with friends and or relatives until you save enough money to move out of there?

      Meth contamination, especially the heavy meth contamination that you’ve described, needs to be removed by someone trained to perform meth lab cleanup. Based on what you’ve described, there’s a good chance that contamination has spread throughout your home and contaminated everything in it, including your furnishings, rugs, etc. If that’s true, then you’d have to consult with a meth lab decontamination specialist to find out if anything that you own can be salvaged. Trying to clean up the residence yourself will only put your health and the health of your children, at risk.

      Have you thought about putting a surveillance camera(s) in and on your house to capture anyone in or around your home to catch the person that’s caused the contamination? If you want to approach police about your suspicions, it would help to have some evidence.

      Best of luck to you. Stay safe, stay healthy!

      • CJ says

        I really appreciate the advise. Having a direction and an idea of the steps I need to take gives me hope. Thanks so much for helping and creating a forum for a situation where a person feels so alone and helpless.

  29. Andy says

    I am unfortunately in an apartment situation where I suspect meth could be being produced in the unit below. I have been here for about six months and have not only smelled natural gas but some of the other odors. My health may have been affected if this is what is really going on, I feel sick frequently. What puzzles me is the strong smell of chlorine on occasion, are they trying to cover their tracks with that? The occupant is an older woman, but I see questionable men coming in and out of there at all hours of the day and night. This is a decent complex and she acts out of place. This is an older building, so I can hear that she runs her HVAC and other blowers much of the time. Has anyone else encountered the chlorine smell? Does any of this make sense?

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