The 100 Grossest Things Seen in Homes

Don’t feel like doing your home maintenance tasks this season? These photos will scare you straight.

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Mushrooms Muscling In

Moisture has led to the growth of these disgusting fungi. When the mold gets too bad, it might be time to call in a pro. Here’s what you should do when it comes time to call a pro. 

2 / 100

Gas Fireplace Grossness

An old gas fireplace shouldn’t be this sooty looking, after all, it’s a gas fireplace. Sick of the energy waste that a fireplace can be, check out 12 ideas on how to fill an old fireplace space.

3 / 100

Fungus From Another Universe

Mold and fungi have unusual forms and colors that make them gross-looking, like this orange fungus on the exterior of a home. Get vinyl siding cleaner with these tips.

4 / 100

Peeling Paint

There’s peeling paint and then there’s this nightmare. Get rid of peeling paint and fix it with these tips.

5 / 100
"Dear, why the heck aren’t the clothes getting dry?"
Structure Tech

"Dear, why the heck aren’t the clothes getting dry?"

I'll bet the house feels a bit humid. A dryer vent is one of the many things in your home that needs regular cleaning.
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Not your choice for pet snakes

Jason Jones was once inspecting the outside of a home that had a dark and spooky shed in the backyard. Upon starting a termite inspection, Jones saw the head of a creature pop up under the shelf in the shed. Startled, Jones ran out shouting for his coworker. The duo called the fire department. Arriving in full gear, the firefighters found that the snake wasn’t just any snake: it was a rattlesnake. And there wasn’t just one: there were two. And they were mating. “Luckily the slithering lovebirds were caught when they were, or else the new homeowners would have had to take on a whole family of rattlesnakes,” says Jones.

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Ants at the gate

Ah, another ant story, and you’d think this one would be less repulsive simply because it took place outside the home, rather than inside it. Matt Prato at Tri State Gate in Bedford Hills, New York was called to inspect and repair an automated driveway gate as part of a pre-sale renovation. In this case, the driveway gate was said to be “glitchy,” so Prato opened up the control panel. “The technician found ants. Lots and lots of ants. And then more ants.” It wasn’t the first time a control panel had been taken over by wildlife. Prato has seen mice nests inside control boxes, and frogs and snakes as well. “But being that ants are so small and quite persistent, they are often able to eat away at normal protective barriers and squeeze in tiny holes. Once they’re in the enclosure, serious damage usually isn’t far off.”

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Walter White’s stovetop
Structure Tech

Walter White’s stovetop

I know it says self-cleaning, but how long are you willing to wait? At least you probably don’t need to buy spices for a while. You can just smear off some grime and throw it in the pot.
9 / 100

Death Valley

Don't cry honey, I have no idea what happened to your pet iguana. But rest assured, he'll always be with us. Or is it a wayward squirrel that couldn't find his way out?
10 / 100

Basement Oasis

But where will he live if the water heater gets fixed? Looks like it's about time to replace the old water heater.
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That’s Not Tile

It looks like the tile fell off after the homeowner tried to glue tile on something that was painted and it didn’t stick. Get a look at what you need for a backer board before beginning a tile project for the shower.

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Rotted Shower Surround

Somebody didn’t make sure this shower surround was water tight when it went in. It looks like someone tried to use fake tile panel to cover up a window but it went woefully awry. Get started on a bathroom remodel that will make a huge difference in how big it feels.

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Shower Backing Up

Looks like the old drain line needs some cleaning out. Unclog that sucker without using any chemicals with these tips.

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Tippi Hedren’s Nightmare

She thought they were gone, until one mysteriously appeared in the bathtub. What did it mean? Well, maybe that’s not how the commercials for a trilogy to The Birds would really go (there was a sequel of The Birds made in 1963, believe it or not). Keep the birds near the birdhouse with these spectacular birdhouses.

Photo: Via Structure Tech

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Party’s Over for the Cockroaches

So you had a little cockroach infestation? Yuck. They are tough to get rid of but there are some things you should know that really kill cockroaches.

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Time for a Deep Clean

Someone remodeled this bathroom to a version they can live with but the health department might want a renovation of a different kind. Speed clean a bathroom with these super helpful tips.

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It Used to Be a Hood

Before time and neglect fell over this kitchen hood it served a purpose. Now it is there as a novelty.

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Well Water Patina

The patina in this tub clearly shows its age but then again your tub shouldn’t have a patina inside it. Here’s a mind-numbingly simple way to get rid of the stain.

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19 / 100

Fresh Disposal

That tinfoil will keep whatever is in the disposal fresh but there’s probably nothing fresh smelling about this fast fix.

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20 / 100

Greasy Ceiling

Running a fast food joint out of your kitchen really isn’t a second job you should undertake. Maybe check and clean the vent hood from time to time.

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Greasy Fan

So that’s what happens when you don’t clean the hood. It’s like a new universe has sprouted.

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Lint Screen

Maybe it’s a good thing all the lint collects in one spot, it could be easier to clean. But then again it doesn’t look like cleaning is happening. Dryer lint is responsible for around 25,000 fires every four years. It’s one of the 20 hidden hazards in your house you need to know about.

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02_Skeleton_Top-5-Spookiest-Things-Found-During-Home-Inspections_Courtesy-WIN-Home-Inspection dog corpse

Fifi’s final resting place

Jamie Green, of WIN Home Inspection, a Seattle, Washington home inspection company, was making his way on all-fours through a crawl space of a 70-year-old house. “Crawl spaces are generally pretty spooky because you never know what you’re going to find,” Green tells Reader’s Digest. Green stumbled on something strange as his hand touched down on something both bony and furry. Turns out, it was a stiff cat skeleton with fur still intact. Unfortunately, the home sellers now had an answer for what had happened to their missing feline friend who they’d believed had “run off” years earlier.

24 / 100

Pet cemetery

An old and rather dilapidated property was being sold as part of the estate of the deceased homeowners. Kris Lippi, a realtor with Get Listed Realty, had buyers lined up who were really excited, although they knew they were going to have to do a lot of work to get the house into decent shape, so it wasn’t surprising when they learned that the home inspections turned up “a bunch of patched holes in the concrete floor in the basement—probably about seven or eight of them,” Lippi recalls. Since the inspector couldn’t figure out any explanation for them, he noted in the inspection documents, “inconclusive concern requiring further investigation.”

Seeing the notation on the inspection documents, the adult children of the deceased homeowners cleared up the mystery. Turns out: it was a pet cemetery. Every pet the family ever had was now dead and gone and buried beneath the house. The adult children didn’t think there was anything weird about this at all. In fact, they asked that the buyers agree to never disturb the home’s makeshift pet burial ground.

Needless to say, the buyers were totally creeped out and canceled the contract.

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The mystery… um… pet?

Green was inspecting what he recalls was a “big beautiful three-story mansion” when he crept through the attic and came face to face with a skull. It wasn’t human, but it was jarring just the same. It also came with two feet of skin, but no limbs. “The creature—whatever it was—had been long dead and now the bats were having their way with the carcass,” Green explains. He never did figure out what died up there, and no one mentioned anything about any missing pets. As for the purchasers? They were happy to be rid of it and closed on their sale.

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Roasted rodents

The furnace is in an important area of home inspections. It’s also a popular spot for rodents to explore,” Green tells Reader’s Digest. During one otherwise routine home inspection, Green came across the dead bodies of several bats, squirrels, and mice that had been electrocuted.

27 / 100

An army of ants

One of professional home organizer Ben Soreff’s craziest stories involved a seemingly normal family with a seemingly normal home, who hired him to clean and organize for them. He went into the unfinished basement to clear out some space for storage, and there he saw it: thousands upon thousands of ants pouring out of a cardboard box. The people who lived in the house hadn’t been in the basement in years, and this was quite the terrifying discovery for them.

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If you’re refrigerator’s running, you better catch it

In a home owned by hoarders, Soreff found a refrigerator that had been blocked and out of use for many years. “If a person with hoarding disorder doesn’t get help on their own there is usually an event that brings in the fire marshall and social services,” Soreff explains to Reader’s Digest. In this case, there was untreated and unrepaired water damage and structural damage. It was a terrible mess, and like most things in the house, the fridge was virtually unrecognizable as a fridge.

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The Cleaning Attempt Will Be Noted

Cleaning is a pain, no doubt about it, but maybe the after picture might work better in the listing rather than the in progress shot we’ve got here. Make cleaning a whole lot easier with these 39 cleaning tips to make your home shine.

Photo: Via Zillow

30 / 100

Squirrel Stowaway

This squirrel found a way under the shingles of this home and got to chewing up things. It’s important to take some time and check out your room periodically. Make sure you know these 34 silent signs your home is failing so you can prevent disaster.

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31 / 100

Bat Spot

Bats can help reduce bugs but you probably shouldn’t let the bats into your home. Try building a bat house instead so they are tempted to enter your home.

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32 / 100

Strange brew

This is some scary stuff! Maybe it's time for a water quality test. Or maybe it's time to look into water softeners.
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Wild Wasps

Wasps are plenty scary but they can cause enormous problems too, like this damper.

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Where is Mr. Clean?

Getting soap scum off a shower is tough enough but this is a bit ridiculous. Here’s how to make cleaning the bathroom easier.

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35 / 100

Bird Brain

Birds have a tendency to find strange places to nest and the garage is a common place. But atop a garage door opener is a bit unconventional.

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36 / 100

Deck Patch?

It’s hard to tell if this is an actual bone or just an old dog chew toy. Either way it’s pretty freaky. Try finding your dog something cooler than a bone chew toy to play with, like one of these high tech toys pets love.

Photo: Via Structure Tech

37 / 100

Sunken Tub

You wanted a sunken tub, but you didn’t get one. You’re going to have one real quick at this place, here’s how to install a bathtub. Make sure to consider these 12 things before buying a new bathtub.

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38 / 100

Plumbing Field Dressing

This looks like some kind of plumbing field dressing with the duct tape and what looks like some kind of sheet tightly wound around the PVC. This homeowner must not like buying PVC pipe but they should because of all the great things you can do with it, like build a dog bed.

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39 / 100

Bat Hideout

It’s always scary finding a bat around the house. They always seem to be in unsuspecting areas like under this deck. Just make sure you know how to keep bats out of the attic where they can really cause trouble.

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40 / 100

Kitchen Boneyard

This is just scary and gross. It’s hard to say how the bones ended up in the kitchen cabinet. Try these 11 kitchen cleaning tips to avoid any skeletons in your cabinets.

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41 / 100

Mud Bath

This brown-water bath is surely gross and disturbing to come upon unsuspectingly. This might signal that your water pipes are aged and in trouble. Here’s what you can do about old and corroded pipes.

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42 / 100

Carpenter Ant Close Up

Carpenter ants are nasty and can do structural damage to a house. Make sure you can handle carpenter ants and all ants after checking out these tips.

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Bat Box

This bat thought they found a nice, warm place to rest in this electrical box. Turns out, they’ll be resting permanently. See how one DIYer keeps bats out of the attic with one simple solution.

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Carpenter Ants Hangout

Carpenter ants might be tough to spot but if you know the ultimate guide to dealing with ants, mice and other pesky pests, you can save yourself some misery.

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45 / 100

Cat Hair Pile Up

Pet hair is pesky to clean up but at a spot like this, a water heater draft hood, it’s especially dangerous. Here’s how to subdue pet hair at home.

Photo: Structure Tech

46 / 100

Electronic Air Filter Nightmare

No matter the type of air filter you’ve got, you still need to clean it. Cleaning air filters will help your furnace run more efficiently and save you money.

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47 / 100

Coal Pit

Some houses used to use coal as a fuel source to heat  it but few do so now. This might be leftover coal from a generation or two ago though the New York Times reported an increase in coal use a decade ago because of its low cost. Does your home have a tiny iron door leading to the basement? You might be a step closer to knowing why.

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48 / 100

Tear The Roof Off

This collapsed ceiling is a disaster but it goes to show how gross a cleanup can be. Whether the collapse is cause by water damage or something else, you’ll want to know how to clean up water damaged areas of your home.

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49 / 100

Calcified Copper Joint

When you’ve this gross-looking scene, you’ve got an obvious problem. The white stuff is efflorescence and the green stuff is copper chloride, which is hazardous. Check out these 100 home disasters waiting to happen.

Photo: Via Structure Tech

50 / 100

Corn Off the Cob and Into the Panelboard

Notice the little hole in the panelboard on the inset photo and you’ll notice a clear entry way for rodents, who are known to infiltrate panelboards. Here’s how to keep those pests out of your home and dangerous areas.

Photo: Via Structure Tech

51 / 100

Corroded Supply Connector

Braided steel isn’t immune to corrosion as you can see here and when it gets corroded, it’s real nasty looking. A braided stainless steel line is still considered better than a plastic line.

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52 / 100

Camouflaged Stinger

Bees and wasps aren’t just a nuisance, their hives can wreak havoc on a home. Check out some of these pest control horror stories that will make the hair on the back of your neck stand.

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53 / 100

Dead Duct Mouse

Pinpointing how mice get into a house can seem like a wild goose chase and sometimes it’s just as surprising to see where the mice wind up, too. Try this surprising hack to keep mice away for good, it’s a sweet idea.

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55 / 100

Gross Furnace Filter

It’s hard to tell if there’s any filter remaining here besides the cardboard. This is gross, make sure to swap out your furnace filter every one to three months. Here’s how to find the best filter.

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56 / 100

Carpet or Crud?

It’s hard to tell where the crud ends and the carpet begins, or is it the other way around? Follow these carpet cleaning tips for a longer-lasting carpet.

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57 / 100

Bad House Guest

It’s always scary encountering a bat anywhere but especially in your house. Did you know a bat can eat 1,000 bugs a night?

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Layers of Dust

Don’t forget about your furnace filter, this is an extremely gross furnace filter that has generations of dust. Reduce household dust with these tips.

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59 / 100

No Pool Party

Pools can be a pain to maintain and get gross when it comes time to shut them down for the year. Here’s how to winterize an in-ground pool.

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Elephant Foot Stool

Well, an elephant foot stool isn’t a great decor item, not to mention the ethical and perhaps legal issues related to owning one. It’s usually best practices not to display any taxidermy when selling a house. Find out what else you shouldn’t do when selling a home. 

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61 / 100

Too Good of a Deal

How does a sparrow end up dead on the water heater? In this case, it perched on the chimney, enjoying the warm exhaust. When carbon monoxide made it drowsy, it fell down the flue and managed to exit the water heater’s draft hood before expiring. It all began with a detached flue cap, which created a heated hangout for birds. But bad or missing caps can lead to bigger trouble: Rainwater can damage the flue, furnace or water heater.

It pays to keep an eye on all roof penetrations. Nails can work loose on exposed flashing; rubber around plumbing vents can tear out or rot; and cement caps on masonry chimneys can crack. Those leaks will eventually cause you serious problems. Try these 12 tips if you suspect a leaky roof.

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62 / 100

Camo’ed Toad

You never know what’s going to wander into strange places, like this toad that found a spot in a plumbing vent.

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63 / 100

Funky Fungus

This fungus growth on some siding is pretty gross looking. See why roofs sometimes have black streaks and what to do about it.

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Sneaky Snake

No one likes to see a snake in their home, even a harmless garter snake like this. Here’s how to get snakes out of your home.

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Cover Blown

Here’s another reason to keep an eye on your roof, as if you needed another one. Something snuck up and found a space to live, for a while anyway. Get your roof and gutters fixed with these 25 awesome tips.

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66 / 100

Fish Out of Water

These fish replicas might be gross for a different reason. But surrounded by the other items makes them look like they’re swimming in a stream of clutter. Try these clutter-busting strategies for every room.

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67 / 100

Hardened Water Softener

This water softener has a weathered look to say the least. Don’t let your water softener get neglected after seeing how to maintain a healthy water softener.

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68 / 100

Holy Moldy

Mold is downright scary because of the cost associated with getting rid of it, not to mention the potential health impact. Learn the five myths about mold that usually scare people.

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Looks like the entry point for mice in the house has been pinpointed. Check out the one tool that can help stop mice from getting in the house that you don’t know about.

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Mouse Trails

Mouse trails aren’t an especially pleasing sight.

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Mow Your Roof

This isn’t exactly what you’d consider a green roof or a living roof. Get your roof ready for fall and winter with these tips.

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72 / 100

Murder of Crows

Well, maybe not crows but chimneys attract birds and sometimes they don’t get out of them. Give the birds a better place to hang out with one of these seriously cool birdhouses.

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73 / 100

Messy Mushrooms

Mushrooms like these crop up when there’s moisture around and when there’s moisture around, it can lead to bigger headaches like mold. Here’s what you can do about mold, if you suspect a problem.

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Albino Pain in the Chimney

It’s bad enough finding a squirrel in the chimney but finding an albino one doesn’t make it any less frustrating.

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75 / 100

Mushroom Mess

Mushrooms on the side of a house like this are a gruesome sight. Mushrooms are a fungus and when you see them you should prepare yourself to learn how to get rid of mold and mildew.

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76 / 100

Ho boy!

Vinyl dryer vent hose is such a bad idea on so many levels. So a smooth metal dryer vent is the best solution, hands down.
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Mouse Nest

Signs of a mouse nest aren’t only gross, they’re potentially dangerous if mice are still around. You might want to check out the most insane pest control ideas if you’re at your wits’ end on trying to get rid of mice and other rodents.

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78 / 100

Spores Galore

Looks like there’s been some moisture near this drain and it’s led to the growth of some mushrooms. Make sure you know how to test for mold.

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79 / 100

Mouse Trap

This little guy got stuck trying to get around this house. Don’t get stuck paying higher energy bills in the winter because you’ve left gaps for cold wind and rodents to get through. Here’s how to save on energy costs in the winter.

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80 / 100

Roasted Rodent

Finding a mouse in the house is bad enough but to find one like this is another story. Make sure you aren’t making these mistakes with your electrical panel.

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81 / 100

From Another Planet

These large mushroom growths will make you think it’s come from another planet. Try these 12 tips when dealing with water damage. 

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82 / 100

Shoddy Shower

Yes, it does appear like there is a shower in the basement, though it looks plenty gross. Maybe tear this one out or try putting in an elegant glass block shower. 

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83 / 100

Chimney Catastrophe

A blockage in a chimney like this is gross but it’s downright dangerous, too. Here’s how to clean a chimney and make sure it’s obstruction free.

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84 / 100

Smelly Deck

A plumbing vent in the middle of a deck can turn a pleasant setting into a smelly situation. You’ll want to see these other 100 plumbing goofs and other scary things, too. 

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85 / 100

Sump Pump Salamander

Salamanders aren’t necessarily gross, they might be if you don’t like reptiles. They are known to be toxic if consumed, so they’re particularly dangerous for pets. Beware of these other potential pet dangers in your home.

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86 / 100

Sap in the Attic

Sap appearing in the attic like this isn’t necessarily a problem, just kind of gross-looking for the time being. Some wood will ooze sap because of a hot attic. Find out the best tool to use for clearing tree sap off of siding.

Photo: Via Structure Tech

87 / 100

Smoke Like a Chimney

Years of indoor smoking have changed the color of the wall in this home. Fortunately you can paint the walls, but good luck getting the smell out. You can try these tricks to get rid of bad smells in a home.

Photo: Via Structure Tech

88 / 100

Sneaky Salamander

Reptiles likes this salamander can look pretty gross to some people.

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89 / 100

Silent Squirrel

Squirrels love to take residence in attics, just like this one. But they can wreak havoc on your attic if you don’t catch them. Find out the 10 other pests you have to guard your attic against. 

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90 / 100

Jammed Up Bath

We want to believe that this is just frozen water dripping through the bathtub but it still looks strange and gross. Obviously something is wrong and this person should consult this complete guide to bathtub repair.

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91 / 100

Three Dead Mice

Who’s to say how these three dead mice wound up in this sink but it’s pretty gross. This sink probably smells something fierce, just like your garbage disposal can if you don’t know these tips on how to clean a garbage disposal.

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92 / 100

Squirreled Away

This squirrel found a way into a house by any means necessary it looks like. People have long tried to stop squirrels from eating birdseed but their dogged determination usually ends in birdseed. You’ve got to see the craziest attempts caught on video that people have made to stop squirrels from getting birdseed.

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93 / 100

Fruity Idea

This might be one of the most creative DIY fixes for a broken toilet flapper but using an apple can’t be a long-term fix. The sock is a nice touch to prevent water from spraying everywhere, too. Here’s a better way to stop a running toilet.

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94 / 100

A Little Privacy Please

Maybe you’ve wished the toilet was a step or two closer in an emergency but this might cause some trouble come dinner time. Well, the good news is, it doesn’t look like this toilet is hooked up.

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95 / 100

Squirrels Trashing Places

Squirrels are as bad to attics as rock bands were to hotel rooms in the 1970s. This is the result of squirrels hanging out in the attic.

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96 / 100

Towel Plug

It’s certainly an unusual place to find a towel. It’s hard to say how long it’s been there but it’ll be pretty gross.

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97 / 100

Fried Frog Legs

Frog legs are a delicacy in some places but not these legs.

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98 / 100

Watch Out For Wasps

You never know where wasps will set up shop, especially in this spot on the roof.

Here’s how to get rid of those wasps and how to tell them from regular bees.

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99 / 100

Fried Mouse

Mice will creep into places that provide a semblance of warmth like this electrical box. Here’s why having a mouse in the house is a bigger problem than you think. 

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100 / 100

C.U.P Bathroom

Mirrored walls in this location are an interesting choice to say the least. There’s some debate on mirrored walls in the home but these 12 bathroom trends are definitely on the way out.

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