Part of what makes your house a home is the welcoming, cozy environment you create within it. But when bad odors start to linger, it can make your home a less-than-inviting place to be. Rest assured, home odor is normal — inevitable, even. With a little help from some common household products, you can eliminate bad smells in your home and ensure your family and guests have an enjoyable place to gather.
First, Look for Potential Sources of the Odor
Deodorizing or masking odors only gets you so far, especially if a smell is persistent or out of the ordinary.
Some odors are just to be expected, resulting from your everyday activities and habits (old clothes in the hamper, dirty dishes in the sink, dogs or cats sleeping on the furniture, etc.).
However, some odors may be caused by a specific problem that requires you to find and eliminate the source. For example, if you suddenly start smelling mold, must, or mildew, you may have a leak in your plumbing system and water is pooling somewhere undetected. If you think that could be the case, call a plumber and have your home’s pipes inspected.
Or, it’s possible an animal could crawl down your chimney, get into appliances, or otherwise make their way into your home. If the odor is coming from a particular area of your home and is especially pungent, it’s possible an animal may be taking up residency in your home or, worse yet, has died. If you suspect this is the case, call an exterminator to have the pest removed.
Wash Fabrics Regularly
To eliminate those day-to-day odors, turn your attention first to any soft or plush items in your home. Furniture and fixtures made of fabric include couches, curtains, carpets, dog beds, towels, bedding, and mattresses. These are all notorious for attracting and retaining the odors around them. Even if you’ve eliminated the source of the smell or used an odor-eliminating spray to neutralize the air, stubborn smells will still cling to fabrics throughout your house.
Wash all pillow covers, blankets, dog beds, curtains, and anything else that can easily fit in your washing machine. Make it a habit to clean these regularly, and that should help eliminate persistent odors.
For surfaces you can’t throw in the wash, like carpets, rugs, and furniture, two kitchen staples will help take care of the problem. Sprinkle baking soda on any desired surface, allow it to sit for a few hours (overnight if possible), and simply vacuum it up. Or, lightly mist vinegar on fabric and allow it to dry. Once it dries, the smell of the vinegar (and the original odor) should dissipate.
If you’d like something more heavy-duty, there are a number of odor-eliminating sprays and foams that are safe for soft surfaces. Just be sure to spot test any new product to ensure it doesn’t discolor or stain your furniture.
Consider a Dehumidifier and Air Purifier
From large rooms and basements to small closets, dehumidifiers help keep areas of your home from smelling musty and damp. Anywhere that lacks ventilation or isn’t connected to your central air conditioning unit (if you have one) could benefit from a dehumidifier.
Air purifiers make a great addition to any room in your house, especially areas where you and your family sleep or your furry friends hang out. Air purifiers collect the air, run it through a filter, trap odor-causing bacteria and dirt, and release the purified air back into the room.
Focus on Stubborn Areas, Like the Kitchen
The kitchen is, by nature, the area of your home most prone to odors. And that’s okay! By incorporating a few extra steps in your cleaning routine, you can help reduce the build-up of bad smells and keep your kitchen smelling fresh, clean, and inviting.
Here’s how to address the most common sources of smell in your kitchen:
Fridge: Keep items wrapped up tightly in baggies, plastic wrap, or containers with sealed lids. Once a week (or at an interval that works for you), remove any food that’s hit its expiration date. By regularly cleaning out old food, you’ll have a better chance of avoiding smells in the first place. If you do find that your fridge is still emitting unwanted odors, keep an open box of baking soda in there to help eliminate odors. You can also shop around for fridge air filters or odor-absorbing gels.
Garbage disposal: After weeks of sending food down the garbage disposal, it’s likely your disposal will start to stink. To clean it out, put ice down the disposal followed by Borax. If you don’t have Borax on hand, you can follow the ice with a bit of baking soda and vinegar. Allow the mixture to fizz before washing it down with hot water.
Garbage can: You may surprised to know that it’s not always the contents of the garbage bag that are causing odors in your kitchen. Over time, the can itself accumulates dirt and grime. Use cleaning wipes to clean the surfaces of your trash can thoroughly between bags. In addition, you can use an odor-eliminating spray (such as Febreze or Lysol) to help freshen up the area around your garbage can.
Microwave: If you’ve ever microwaved a piece of fish, you know just how much odor can linger in your microwave. Microwave a bowl of vinegar or water and lemon for five minutes. When time is up, take a damp cloth and wipe down any remaining residue.
Dishwasher: Your dishwasher accrues food debris and dirt. Eventually, these can cause it to smell. If you see food particles stuck at the bottom of the washer, use a damp cloth or paper towel to get them out. To eliminate the odor, use dishwasher cleaning tablets regularly.
Eliminating Odors in an Eco-Friendly Way
While there are hundreds of products on the market geared toward eliminating odors, you really don’t have to look much further than your kitchen cupboards for an effective and eco-friendly solution.
Both baking soda and white vinegar are effective and safe deodorizers for almost any surface in your home. If you’re concerned about pets or kids coming into contact with harsh chemicals, baking soda and vinegar are great alternatives — even coffee grounds and tea leaves can help keep a space smelling cleaner.
If you do want to use commercial products but do so in an environmentally conscious way, consider purchasing products in glass or reusable bottles.
Persistent Odors May Need Addressing By a Professional
A clean-smelling home requires ongoing maintenance and a dedication to keeping surfaces clean and sanitized. If you’d like to ensure your home always smells fresh and clean, but don’t have the time to dedicate to regular deep cleanings, contact us today to learn about our professional home cleaning services.