Nothing is more annoying than persistent, unpleasant odors in your home. Trying to track down the origin of the smell, figuring out how to remove it, realizing you were wrong the first time and starting all over again… it’s a big hassle. But it doesn’t have to be so hard.
There are products that make it possible not to just mask but neutralize and eliminate these smells. Your home will go back to smelling as fresh and bright as it looks, and you’ll spend a lot less time wrinkling your nose the second you step in the door.
Whether you’re cleaning with ingredients that stop the source of malodors in their tracks or keeping your air fresh, filtered and scented with essential oils, these are the keys to making sure your home always smells great.
1. Cleaning vinegar
Slightly higher in acidity than the white distilled vinegar you use in cooking, cleaning vinegar is an expert odor remover. Put it in a spray bottle and spritz trash can interiors, garbage disposal drains and countertops, let it sit for about five minutes, then wipe or rinse off. You can also add it to a bucket of hot water with a few drops of dish soap to clean your floors or add a quarter- to a third-cup to your washer when doing laundry to remove any lingering odors or mildew smells.
Heinz Cleaning Vinegar, $13.70 at Amazon
2. Baking soda
Baking soda is a natural odor absorber, but it shouldn’t just be relegated to a box in the back of your fridge (which should be changed out about once a month, FYI). Sprinkle it over carpets, couches and mattresses, let it sit, and vacuum it up to remove odors from textiles or sprinkle some in your gym shoes to remove the stink. You can even help get bad smells out of entire rooms by placing small bowls of baking soda out to suck in the odors.
Arm & Hammer baking soda, $3.69 at Amazon
3. Activated charcoal
Activated charcoal is another odor-absorbing product. Buy sachets filled with the stuff and put them in closets, cupboards, drawers, shoes and anywhere else that ever suffers from “off” scents.
California Home Goods activated charcoal bags, $24.95 at Amazon
4. Essential oil diffuser
An oil diffuser won’t remove odors, but they do help freshen things up naturally. Choose citrusy scents like lemongrass, eucalyptus and lemon to perk up your home.
InnoGear essential oil diffuser, $13.59 at Amazon
5. Citrusy essential oils
Citrusy essential oils smell good and last longer than alcohol-based scents, but they can also prevent odors in another way. Certain essential oils, including lemon, lime and orange, have antibacterial properties. Add a few drops to a bottle of hot water, vinegar, and a few drops of dish soap, and you’ll have an all-purpose cleaner that kills bad smells at their source. You can also use this mixture to wash your uncarpeted floors to remove odors there.
Pure Citrus essential oil set, $18.95 at Amazon
6. Air purifier
Sometimes, it’s the air itself that can be making your home smell. Particles of dust, bacteria, mold and air pollution outside can taint the air in your home. An air purifier can help remove them, making it smell better in your house but also making it easier for you to breathe.
Levoit air purifier, $89.99 at Amazon
Sometimes, there are items in our home we can’t clean easily — think couches, area rugs and heavy drapes. That’s where Febreze comes in handy. It doesn’t just have its own fresh smell, it actually neutralizes bad odors, so you can go longer between major cleanings of these bulky items.
Febreze Unstopables Fabric Refresher, $3.99 at Amazon
If you have a room that’s stubbornly odorific — think a room that reeks of cigarette smoke, a musty basement, a teenager’s bedroom — you’ll want Ozium. This air-freshener spray removes even the most stubborn smells from the air and kills bacteria particles. Just a spritz or two will do, and you can even use it in your car.
Ozium, $4.78 at Amazon
9. Bright Air canister
Bright Air’s odor-eliminating canisters are scented with essential oils for a smell that’s less overpowering but still as effective as other brands. Place one behind the kitchen trash can, in the bathroom and near the litter box, and you’ll be impressed at the difference.
Bright Air canisters, $13.56 at Amazon
Last but not least? Bleach. When all else fails, you can use a solution of bleach and hot water to remove odors from almost anything. Use it to mop floors, wash trash cans, wipe counters and shower walls and in the laundry. Just make sure to wear gloves and a mask before you go too bleach crazy and spot check surfaces to make sure they won’t be damaged before you start cleaning.
Clorox bleach, $9.97 at Amazon
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