I've spared the blog the sad tale of my recent basement flood and the subsequent sewing room mayhem, but the funky smell has lingered long after the destroyed rolls of fabric have made their way to the landfill.
Our friends Liz and Sam have invented an industrial-type air filter that goes into your regular heating system. When our flood occurred, I was using a regular garden-variety Home Depot filter because I happened to have it on hand. But a few days into the cleanup, I noticed that the sour smell was permeating our whole house. I reminded myself of the size that was needed and got a new Safe Home Filter. Wow! Within a few hours, the smell was bearable on the main level of our house, and within a day it was gone.
The filter removes all kinds of other nasty things as well (dust and fiber, chemical toxins, allergens, mold, pet dander), but just getting rid of the smell was benefit enough in this situation.
The basement is still rather rank despite quite a lot of professional carpet cleaning and drying, but we really can't expect the filter to have an effect on that when our HVAC system doesn't serve the basement.
Since installing the filter I have also noticed that cooking and pet odors have truly vanished. The filters are fairly expensive compared to ordinary filters (close to $40 per filter vs. about $6 for a standard filter), but so much more effective and convenient than a standalone air cleaner. One filter lasts for about three months, and I have an insider tip that can extend their life: vacuum a dusty filter and reinstall.