Strong Odor Lingers in Homeowner's Cabinets Months After Professional Housecleaning

You probably expect your home to smell fresh after a professional housecleaner finishes the work. But a local consumer said her recent experience with a housecleaner led to months of frustration and foul-smelling kitchen cabinets.

And the “pungent” stench still lingers.

“We’ve aired them out. We’ve done everything we possibly can and the smell is still there,” said Melissa Mercado. “It’s not going away and I absolutely do not feel comfortable using them.”

Mercado, of Chicago, said the housecleaner placed mothballs or a similar smelling chemical in each of her kitchen cabinets back in September.

“The smell and chemicals have permeated the wood. It is impossible to get rid of,” Mercado said.

She said it forced her to throw away dishes, containers and anything plastic.

“I wouldn’t want to put anything in here because anything that goes in comes out smelling exactly like the cabinets,” Mercado said.

Mercado, who describes herself as a busy working mom, used the “Handy” app to schedule the September 2nd housecleaning. In fact, she said she’d used the app many times before and was happy with the results.

“So I was completely surprised that this happened,” Mercado said.

A Handy spokesperson said the issue was the result a “mixup in terms of cleaning products”.

Mercado said she immediately removed the mothballs and soon after filed a claim with Handy. She also visited several home improvement stores and received estimates of between $7,000 and $8,400 to replace her cabinets. She said she was only looking for average cabinets that matched the size of what she already had in her kitchen.

Handy eventually made a first offer. But the amount would only cover half the cost needed for new cabinets, based on the estimates Mercado received from the home improvement stores.

NBC 5 Responds contacted Handy regarding Mercado’s concerns. The company then doubled its original offer to Mercado and a spokesperson responded with the following statement:

“Handy’s professionals have done well over 3 million jobs-an accomplishment achieved through a relentless focus on providing the best experience possible for customers and professionals alike. In the rare cases that something goes wrong in the course of a booking, we are committed to working with customers to help and reach a fair resolution. We have reached out to this customer and offered $7,500 to assist her.”

Mercado received the check several weeks later.

“It is not about the money,” Mercado said. “I just want the smell to be gone.”

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