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Simple DIY Solutions to 5 Common Household Odors

May 19, 2014

Curb the stink, breath easy

From your kids’ funky gym shoes to nasty cooking odors to the icky stench of cigarette smoke, your home can collect an unpleasant array of bad odors. There’s no need to expose your family to harmful chemical air fresheners, which do little more than mask the bad smells. With some natural odor eliminators and a little common sense, you’ll have your house smelling fresh and your family breathing easier in no time.

Cooking Odors

Whether you’ve been chopping onions, boiling cabbage, or frying fish, the kitchen can be the main source of some funky air pollution. One of the simplest ways to avoid smelling up the entire house is to ensure you’re set up with good ventilation while cooking. Open a window if possible and always use the fan in your range hood (if you have one) to draw smells, smoke, and heat away. Keep your vents and filters clean to prevent buildup and keep the air in your kitchen and home smelling fresh.

One more solution to try is to take a cut potato, place it in a small bowl with 2 tablespoons of vanilla, and set it on the counter near where you are working. The potato will soak up the odors, while the vanilla will provide a more pleasing replacement.

Tobacco Smoke

Even if your guests are courteous enough to use the patio, porch, or balcony, the smoke from their cigarettes, pipes, or cigars can enter the house through open windows and doors. An easy way to quickly dissipate cigarette smell indoors is to soak a towel in white vinegar and walk through the room with it. Hold it in both hands and waft it in front of you. The damp towel will trap most—if not all—of the smoke in the air, removing both the smoke and its accompanying smell.

Pet Problems

When Fido’s eau de wet-dog-smell and Fluffy’s litter box are getting to be too much for your sensitive nose, don’t lose heart. There are solutions to both problems.

For Fido, make up a spray bottle with 3 parts water, 1 part vodka, and 10 to 20 drops of essential oil (favorites include citrus, eucalyptus, lavender, and rose). When applied to bedding and carpets, the spray traps odor and then evaporates quickly, whisking the bad smells away. For stinky dog fur, regular brushing and bathing will eliminate the build-up of stink-causing bacteria.

For Fluffy’s potty, try a clay clumping litter, daily scooping, and a weekly emptying and cleaning with your preferred household cleaner. Spraying the empty box with your vodka-essential oil concoction before filling it with litter can help it from acquiring lingering odors as well.

Bathroom Funk

Regular cleaning with mildew- and mold-killing products can keep the damp, musty odors away. Using your bathroom’s ventilation fan when using the toilet will help clear the air when you’ve finished. Keeping a lit candle in the powder room during parties will keep guests’ odors from wafting their way under the door while also providing a bit of ambience.

Garbage Bin Gag Factors

Your garbage bins can become some rather unpleasant sources of stench, simply by their very nature as deposits of detritus. If the bag is not full enough to remove but still smelling up the place, dump some fresh coffee grounds in. They will soak up some of the odors. If the garbage can has lingering scents from its recent inhabitants, wash it with a mixture warm water and white vinegar. To suppress odors caused by leaking bags, keep a thick layer of baking soda in the bin under the bag. Wash the baking soda out and replace it as it becomes wet.

Remember, a clean-smelling home is a home with proper ventilation and good air quality. One of the best ways to keep your home smelling fresh is to ensure that your HVAC system is properly maintained and circulating clean, filtered air throughout the space. This, along with a regular cleaning regimen and trying these simple DIY tips, will allow your home to take a nice, deep breath of fresh air.


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About The Author

Bob Jenson

For over 45 years, Bob Jenson has been providing quality heating and air services to the San Diego community.


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