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I have noticed that when I go on vacation for several days and then come back home, there is a distinctive, relatively mild paint smell in my apartment complex. However, under normal circumstances, this smell is virtually unnoticeable to me.

What are the primary factors that cause us to become used to certain smells? And, is there any way to estimate how long it takes to 'reset' the sense of smell, so that these smells which we have become used to will again be obvious?

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    $\begingroup$ the term you are looking for is Olfactory adaptation or Olfactory fatigue en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…'. $\endgroup$ – John Jan 28 at 6:14

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