Your home is the one place you can go to when you want to relax, wind down, and enjoy your surroundings. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take much to ruin the comforting ambiance of a home – and bad smells can quickly turn a pleasant day into an unpleasant one.
Bad smells in the home can be caused by a combination of factors, most of which you can’t control. A home that’s subject to damp, mould, and mildew may give off a nasty, musty smell while rotting wood and old furniture might produce a similar earthy odour. If you have a pet, your home may take on a unique, lingering scent that accumulates on every piece of furniture you own.
As well as the longer-term bad smells, there are shorter-term odours that you might want to get rid of quickly if you’re expecting visitors. Strong or spicy food smells, bathroom smells, or even cigarette smoke can be masked quickly and easily with the right tools at hand.
The problem with bad smells is that they don’t just linger in the air; they can also seep into your carpets and make it more difficult to get rid of the smell at its source. If you don’t clean your carpets properly, a build-up of dirt and dust will only serve to make the situation worse.
If you need to get rid of a bad smell in the house fast, no matter what it might be, there are plenty of home remedies that will do the job. There’s no need to resort to buying expensive cleaning products when you can put together the ingredients you already have in your cupboard to produce just as good an effect.
Here are the 13 best ways to get rid of bad smells in the house and on the carpet:
1. First thing’s first, remove the source
The key to odour removal is removing the source of the odour. If mould, mildew, or bad drains are the cause of your home’s unpleasant stench, then spraying air fresheners and burning candles will only temporarily relieve the problem.
You need to find out what the problem is, and, no matter how nasty it is, work to remove it as quickly and thoroughly as possible.
2. Add lemon or lime to your waste disposal bins
A smelly rubbish bin is one of the easiest ways to bring about a lingering odour in your kitchen. You might think there’s not a lot you can do about the matter, aside from throwing out your binbags the moment you add the tiniest bit of rubbish – but actually, you can mask the smell with citrus fruits.
Cut a lemon, lime, or orange into chunks and drop them into your disposal bin. The citrus will get rid of most odours. If this doesn’t work, follow up with half a cup of white vinegar with cold water to effectively cover up the smell.
3. Use a baking soda carpet cleaner
If you’re trying to remove the nasty smell of pet urine or smoke that’s accumulated in your carpet over the years, baking soda is the best answer. Aside from being essential for many cakes and dessert dishes, baking soda is a clever cleaning agent that absorbs excess moisture. Experts say that, when used properly, baking soda can also “trap” unpleasant smells.
Give baking soda a go yourself and sprinkle it generously over an old carpet, making sure that the soda gets into the fibres. Leave it overnight to get to work, then vacuum clean your carpet the following morning to suck away all the soda. You should be left with clean, pleasant smelling carpet once more.
4. Use baking soda in your fridge
Considering baking soda is so good at attracting and absorbing smells, why not limit its use to only your carpet? One age-old solution to tame fridge odours is to open a box of baking soda and stick it on a shelf or along the back.
You can leave the baking soda for an incredibly long time without worrying about it going nasty. In fact, you’ll only need to change it once a year.
Just be sure to keep it away from vegetables, as the sodium bicarbonate in the baking soda can cause leafy veggies to wilt quickly.
5. Let vinegar overpower other cooking smells
If you cook a lot with spices or do a lot of frying in your kitchen, the smells can become ingrained in your cabinets and surfaces. To keep the scent at bay, wash your kitchen worktops and appliances with warm water and soap, then wipe down thoroughly.
For more immediate relief after cooking, add a cup of vinegar to a pan and boil it for five minutes or so on the stove. The vapours that release into the air cut the other smells, although you’ll need to prepare for a slightly overpowering vinegar smell in the short term.
6. Use vinegar as a carpet deodorizer
Like baking soda, vinegar is another great option for natural carpet deodorizing. Don’t panic if you’re thinking about the lingering acidy smell – vinegar becomes odourless as soon as it dries.
White vinegar is best for absorbing unpleasant smells. Give it a go yourself by pouring the vinegar into a spray bottle, then spraying the liquid evenly across the surface of your carpet. Let the vinegar dry completely, and if you haven’t quite got rid of the smell, repeat the procedure once again.
7. Wash your walls and windows
If you’re dealing with a cigarette stench, in particular, you need to be prepared to do some serious hard work. Nicotine smell can linger in your walls, furniture, and carpets long after the last cigarette was smoked. Try to remove the odour first by washing your home’s walls and windows.
If the smell returns, try painting over your walls with an odour-blocking primer and sealant and throwing out any furniture that can’t be cleaned. Dry-clean curtains and other upholstery around the house to clean the air.
8. Try out a vodka carpet soak
Most of us would never associate vodka with cleaning, but the popular spirit is an excellent option for cleaning your carpets and getting rid of a bad odour. Vodka kills bacteria, making it an effective natural stain remover.
If you’re dealing with pet urine and other stubborn smells, vodka is the carpet cleaner for you. Add a small amount to a spray bottle, locate the stain, and simply spray a bit of vodka on top.
Allow it to work for 10 to 15 minutes, using paper towels to absorb any excess moisture. Then vacuum clean over the carpet when it’s dry, and the stain and smell should be gone.
9. Use apple cider vinegar in your drains
If you’ve got a smelly drain issue in the bathroom, one of the best natural drain de-cloggers and cleaners is apple cider vinegar. When you mix baking soda and vinegar, the bubbling effect it creates is great for dealing with mild drain clogs in the bathroom.
Sprinkle some baking soda down your drains first, followed by a tiny bit of water to wash it down. Finally, add the vinegar, and leave for as long as possible for the formula to take effect.
Include this as part of your weekly cleaning routine, and your drains will stay clean and smell-free for longer.
- Neutralizes odors from pets, mildew, mold, urine, sewer gas, cleaning solvents, latex and oil paint fumes, formaldehyde, ammonia and even human decay
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- BEGINS WORKING INSTANTLY! Works in dry and damp areas. Place in ducting, walls, attics, basements, crawl spaces, or any other place dead animal odor is found. One pouch will control odor in roughly a 375-square foot area.
- Fresh Wave Gel is an odor absorber & neutralizer for your kitchen, bathroom, or any other room. It eliminates odors from cooking, trash, mildew, and more.
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10. Rinse your dishwasher with – you guessed it – vinegar
Suffering from a smelly dishwasher and don’t know why? Over time, bacteria grow on the tiny bits of food that collect in your dishwasher’s filter, causing it to smell. Chances are if you don’t clean your dishwasher out thoroughly, this is the source of your particular dishwasher reek.
To get rid of the odour, make sure to remove all food particles or scum from the bottom of the machine. Then remove the appliance’s rinse and filter and pour two cups of white vinegar into the machine, directly into the drum.
Run your dishwasher through a hot water cycle. Pause the cycle for about 20 minutes midway so that the water-and-vinegar mixture has a chance to break down detergent any leftover residue. Restart the cycle and let it run to finish.
11. Deodorize your smelly shoes
If you keep catching whiffs of a lingering cheesy odour in the air, check the floor for suspect sweaty shoes. Rather than throwing your shoes away or subjecting them to a machine wash, try using a home remedy consisting of a coffee filter, some baking soda, and a rubber band as the ultimate odour eliminator.
Just add a few tablespoons of baking soda into your coffee filter, then, optionally, add in a couple of essential oils for scent. Twist the filter closed and secure it shut with a rubber band. Store a baking soda sachet in each of your smelly shoes overnight to absorb the moisture and smell.
12. Buy a couple of air-purifying plants
Choosing the right air purifying plants for your home can detoxify the air in your living spaces. If you’re a lover of plants and flowers, why not purchase a couple of houseplants that not only look pretty but work a little harder to clean the air you breathe in?
There are quite a few air-purifying plants that can detoxify your home from the airborne toxins, dust, and germs that can be found in a variety of household products, materials, and furniture. These include English Ivy, which is particularly effective at reducing airborne faecal particles, making it the perfect air purifier for your bathroom or en suite.
13. Fill your home with scented candles
When it comes down to it, if all else fails, you can never, ever go wrong with a scented candle or five. A scented candle doesn’t just mask an odour, it masks it with a nice smell. While lighting various candles around your home won’t do anything to solve the source of a bad odour, they’re a great short-term solution for if you have guests around and you just need to cover things up for a while.
No one candle scent is better than another, and the choice you go for ultimately depends on how natural you want your home to smell. Vanilla, lavender, and fresh linen are all good scents for giving your home a clean air smell without being too overpowering.
Scents like salted caramel, blueberry, coffee, and berry cinnamon are far stronger, and you might want to use them if you’re attempting to cover up a particularly pungent smell. Keep in mind, though, that some may have allergies or sensitivities to strong smells, and you don’t want to make them uncomfortable in your home. You can purchase scented candles here.
Ultimately, the best way to treat a bad smell in the home is to get rid of the source. In some instances, this might mean throwing something away (and replacing it if necessary). It may also mean taking preventative measures to hold off the occurrence of a smell, like making sure to clean your drains regularly.
If you want to not only get rid of the bad odours, but create a fresh, pure home scent that has your friends begging to know your cleaning secrets, simply follow all the tips mentioned in this video. You’ll have an amazing smelling home in no time at all.