Sometimes, your house just stinks. Maybe it’s a lingering, stale tobacco smell or a musty odor. Or the pungent smell of food, sweat, dirty laundry, and old shoes, even though it appears spotless. Here are some quick tips for zapping offensive scents.
Lingering cigarette smoke: When smokers blow nicotine and tar into the air, it disseminates onto every surface in the home, including light bulbs, rugs, and moldings. But it can be corrected” First, remove all porous surfaces, including carpeting, curtains, and anything that absorbs odor. Wash until yellow stains stop coming off. Finally, repaint the room—because painting is an odor neutralizer.
Mold: Put a few containers of activated charcoal in an out-of-reach and inconspicuous space. Activated charcoal absorbs moisture and will help remove mold and mildew smells. You can find it at most pet stores.
Rotting garbage: The smell of garbage that’s been left in the kitchen too long starts to linger. Boil sliced citrus fruit and herbs in the microwave, then separate the citrus from the boiling water. Pour the water into the dishwasher and run a cycle with it, while dumping the citrus down the garbage disposal for an instant scent upgrade. Once you clear the garbage disposal, sprinkle some baking soda into the bottom of it.
An active child’s room: Soiled clothing laying around a teenager’s unkempt bedroom can cause a distinct odor. Removal of the clothing won’t necessarily solve the problem. When you have a really difficult odor to get rid of in a home, one of the better methods is to use an ozone machine. The machine removes strong smells by destroying the spores and bacteria that cause them. “Ozone essentially attaches itself to the other molecules, thereby changing their structure, which eliminates the odor. Ozone machines can be purchased for a couple of hundred dollars.
Dirty laundry or sweat: An alternative to the above for dealing with this type of odor is to combine one-fourth of a cup of vinegar and a gallon of water, and then add the mixture to a spray bottle. Spray the walls and wipe them down, along with woodwork, closets, air vents, and windows. Change the carpet and pads, and try painting the room—including the ceiling.
Pets: If there is a specific area of the home that smells, mix one part distilled white vinegar and six parts water. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle and generously spray over pet stains. Rub the solution into the stain using a carpet brush or a toothbrush, and then blot it using a white towel. To remove vinegar residue, apply an oxygen or enzyme-based cleaner. Let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes, and then blot the surface. If you have entire areas of a carpet or rug that are affected, sprinkle baking soda onto the smelly areas, let it sit for 12 to 14 hours, and then vacuum the surface. If the stench is still there, you may have to replace your carpet.
Stuffy, closed home: When windows and doors have been shut all winter, don’t just let fresh air in. Add some houseplants, which clean the air because they are organic air purifiers. Try a few drops of orange, lavender, or grapefruit essential oils in a spray bottle and do a once-over on fabrics and in the air.