How to Get Rid of Bad Household Smells and Odors: The Best Tips

Dirt of the Day

Sometimes, it doesn’t matter how hard you scrub or dust or mop. The bad smells of day to day life will inevitably creep in. 

Humans can distinguish up to 10,000 scents—and possibly more—even though we don’t have names for most of them. This means that your nose is likely to pick up the tiniest disturbance in your home—whether it’s cigarette smoke, sweat, the garbage can, or pets. 

But with the right household remedies, you can banish the worst of your household smells for good! 

The next time you pick up an odd smell in your home that makes you want to run for the hills, try these tricks instead.

  1. Deodorizing the Garbage Can

If you first notice the room stinking up and suspect it might be the garbage can, empty the contents and see if the smell starts to subside. 

Sometimes it’s not the trash that’s smelling—the garbage can itself can absorb the odors of its contents. Clean the can by sprinkling in baking soda underneath the bag or inside the lid. Finally, spray with a disinfecting spray to kill off any bacteria. 

Keep this up every few months or more if needed—and always change the bag weekly. 

  1. Freshening Up the Air

Once you get rid of the source of the odor, you’ll need to freshen up the house. Start by opening the windows, if the weather allows. The fresh air will help clear up the house and push out any bad smells.

To deodorize the air naturally, try cutting a lemon in pieces and leave them around the house—on windowsills, shelves, tables, and more. You can also rub a bit of vanilla or vanilla extract on the light bulbs in the house.

  1. Clearing out the Refrigerator 

While dinner might smell great when coming out of the oven—it won’t smell as good once the leftovers have been sitting in your fridge for a few days. 

Start by clearing out any old or expired products in your fridge. This is especially important when it comes to perishable items like fruits and vegetables. For pungent items, like cheese, be sure to wrap them twice in plastic or store in containers with tightly sealed lids. 

Next, take an open container of baking soda and store it in the fridge and freezer. Fresh or leftover coffee grounds in an open container can also absorb bad odors. If you’re worried about an open container leading to spills, you can also cover with plastic wrap or keep in a plastic container—just be sure to poke holes in the lid.

  1. Scrubbing the Microwave

You heat a lot of things in the microwave, whether it’s soup, leftovers, or a hot drink. That means there are probably plenty of stains on the interior, even if you can’t see them. 

Get rid of any lingering smells in your microwave with this natural remedy. Take a bowl of water, add a tablespoon of vinegar, and then add a few lemon slices. Squeeze the lemon into the water and then let the slices soak for a few minutes. 

Finally, heat the bowl in the microwave for 5 minutes. Once it’s done, you can wipe down the insides with a paper towel and let your microwave air out.

  1. Deep Cleaning the Carpets

Your carpets, rugs, and other upholstery could be harboring years of stains and bad odors. To get rid of the deep-set stains on your carpets and upholstery, you can make your own stain remover. Here are some steps to take to remove even the most stubborn stains: 

  1. Put on a pair of rubber gloves
  2. Mix a quart of a 3% hydrogen peroxide, ¼ cup of baking soda, and a teaspoon of liquid soap into a spray bottle
  3. Spray the solution directly onto stains and let them sit for 24 hours before blotting it dry with a paper towel 

Keep in mind that hydrogen peroxide can be dangerous to handle without professional care—not to mention hard to get hold of. If you’d rather buy a pre-mixed solution, check out bridgepoint systems for their selection of carpet cleaners and deodorizers. 

To get rid of a general bad odor, sprinkle your carpets or upholstery with baking soda. Let the baking soda deodorize for a few hours before shaking or vacuuming it out.

  1. Eliminating Pet Odor

Having a dog, a cat, or a small animal around the house can be fun—but the odors can pile up quick. 

For a foul-smelling litter box or critter cage, try putting activated charcoal on or near the area to help minimize the stink. Charcoal can absorb a wide range of odors. Either buy the charcoal in its raw state or you can buy a charcoal pouch explicitly designed to soak up bad smells. 

For dog or cat pee staining the carpet or couch, use vinegar to kill bacteria and remove the smell of urine. Mix one part vinegar with three parts water and let it soak on the stain. Then rinse with water and let it air dry.

  1. Refreshing the Bathroom

Keeping your bathroom fresh and clean is important—especially if you’re having guests. Always keep the toilet bowl clean and add bleach into the water every few weeks. 

Focusing on damage control doesn’t always work the way you want it to. Masking an odor is a lot harder than preventing the odor before it starts. 

Try putting together a homemade bathroom air freshener. Here are the ingredients you’ll need: 

  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 8-10 drops of essential oil

Mix all ingredients together into a spray bottle. Spray every day to keep your bathroom smelling fresh.

Keeping Household Smells at Bay

No matter how hard you try to keep the house clean, household smells will inevitably start to build up from day to day use. These tried-and-true solutions can help you keep the worst of odors at bay. 

Being proactive and regularly using natural deodorizers and air fresheners will help keep your home fresh all year round. 

Looking for more tips to take your household cleaning sessions to the next level? Take a look at our lifestyle section for more!

Cassie Brewer
Cassie is a women's health and beauty writer who enjoys writing for all ages. She aspires to open her own beauty boutique in Italy one day, and hopes you enjoy this article!

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