How to deodorize your house like a pro

Here are effective ways to remove odors and make your home smell amazing

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Knowing how to deodorize a house is essential to keeping your home pleasant and habitable. Cooking, caring for your pets, cleaning out your fridge, cleaning the kitchen, cleaning bathrooms, painting walls, disposing of old items – all these daily activities can cause strong odors to permeate and linger throughout your home. 

How can you manage or get rid of odors? Read on for some helpful tips on how to remove odors from your house!

Why should you remove house odors?

The obvious reason for getting rid of house smells is that they’re off-putting and can make being at home, well, unpleasant. Bad smells also make your home less conducive to having guests over. Not to mention, your neighbors can complain about strong odors! 

Do note that, in some cases, house odors may be signs of unseen health or safety risks – all the more reason to investigate and remove them.   

In minor cases, these odors can go away with a deodorizing spray and opening your windows, but these methods don’t always work. 

How to get rid of house odors

Using air fresheners or deodorisers straight away is a common mistake homeowners or property managers make when deodorizing their homes. This only masks the unpleasant smell and makes it a recurring problem. 

The best way to deodorize a house is by removing and neutralizing the odors first. Then, use the right fragrance-producing substances. 

For most unpleasant everyday smells, you can do these odor-removing steps:

1. Find and remove the source

There’s no better way to look for the source of a smell than by sniffing around yourself. Look for the place where the odor is most intense. 

If the source of the stink is a small item, sweep it up with a dustpan and broom or, while wearing disposable gloves, pick it up and place it in a trash bag. Don’t hesitate to double up on the trash bag if the smell is particularly strong; you can also use a deodorizing spray on the smelly item before closing the bag.

But suppose the odor is coming from behind a wall, floorboards, or even in your ceiling. In that case, you may have to call in a handyperson to cut a way through to get to the source and have them do the appropriate repairs afterward. You may also have to book an odor control service to tackle the problem. 

2. Clean and disinfect the area

scrubbing floor to clean and deodorize the area

Once you’ve removed the source of a bad smell, don’t forget to clean and disinfect the area. Any residue left by the source of the smell can leave odor-causing bacteria. The smell may linger or, worse, recur after sticking to the walls and floors. Clean the area thoroughly with detergent and warm water, then disinfect it with diluted bleach.

3. Clean the carpet

Vacuuming your carpets isn’t enough to keep them clean and odor-free. Mix 1 part vinegar and 3 parts water in a bucket, and dampen a cloth. Use the cloth to dab the cleaning mixture into your carpet, rinse, and then let the carpet dry.

4. Clean and ventilate the house

bedroom with open window for ventilation and getting rid of musty smell

Cleaning and dusting your home once a week is a good way to get the musty smell out of a bedroom or any other room in your house. Besides cleaning, ensuring that each area gets proper ventilation also gets the “old smell” out of a home. Ventilation is vital, as musty smells result from stale, stagnant air combined with moisture that produces mold and mildew. 

5. Clean out the litter box often

cleaning cat litter box with spatula to remove odor in house

Don’t neglect your precious kitty’s litter box – few things are as unpleasant as the smell of a full litter box! The only way to get this poop smell out of a room is to dispose of the used kitty litter, then clean out and disinfect the litter box before putting in a new batch. You may also want to clean out any dog or cat beds you keep indoors if they’re beginning to reek.  

Effective deodorizing strategies

natural home deodorizers, lemon, baking soda, vinegar

Once you’ve removed any sources and traces of foul odors, the next step is to use air fresheners or deodorizers to make your home smell terrific. 

Did you know you can use essential oils to deodorize your house? You can even use a few common household items – and they won’t cost you much! Here are some simple ways to make your home smell good. 

1. Simmer pot air freshener

lemon slices in pot, simmer pot air freshener

Deodorize your apartment or house with a simmer pot air freshener. It will spread a wonderful fragrance throughout your home.

You’ll need the following: 

  • Lemon slices

  • Orange slices

  • 4 cloves

  • 2 cinnamon sticks 

The only equipment you need to simmer the pot is your kitchen stove burner set to low. Toss the ingredients into the pot halfway full of water. Then, leave this pot to simmer all day. 

You can also use a portable camping stove if you want the scent to emanate from another area – just don’t leave the simmering pot unattended in any case. 

2. Vinegar

Pure white vinegar is ironic in that it’s pungent in itself, but it’s still one of the best ways of eliminating odors. Fortunately, vinegar’s pungent scent goes away after a while. 

You can leave an inch of vinegar in a bowl to absorb even the strongest smells, whether lingering smoke, chemical smells, or pet poop. 

3. Baking soda

Experienced DIYers swear by the versatility of baking soda in absorbing foul odors. You can mix a cup of baking soda with a tablespoon of ground cinnamon, then sprinkle it on your upholstery. Leave it on for half an hour to an hour, then vacuum it up; your carpets will smell of cinnamon. 

Another helpful tip is to leave an opened box of baking soda in your fridge to absorb any odors.  

4. Essential oilsessential oil bottle and candle, cozy living room

An essential oils burner is a quick and easy way to deodorize your home and give it a spa-like feel. A few drops of lavender, peppermint, jasmine, or lemon oil with some water in a burner can work wonders in deodorizing your home.  

5. Dryer sheets

box of dryer sheets for deodorizing home

Dryer sheets can do more than give you fresh-smelling laundry. All you have to do is place a few sheets behind the vents of your rooms, and the scent should fill your home. Remember to replace the sheets every two weeks or so.  

Tips for preventing bad smells in your house 

1. Take out the garbage regularly

senior man taking out trash to avoid house odors

Make sure to dispose of your trash regularly, especially in your kitchen. You shouldn’t wait for food scraps to pile up, as these can attract pests and produce intensifying smells over time. Remember to segregate and place food waste in a compost bin if you have a garden!

2. Clean the trash can

Residue will always stick to the inside of your trash can and cause odors, even if you use trash bags or bin liners. At least once a week, give your garbage can a thorough clean with hot soapy water and a stiff brush. Wipe it dry with an old rag or newspaper before placing a fresh bag or liner.  

3. Enforce a “no shoes” policy

no-shoe policy indoors to lessen house odors, person walking barefoot in living room

A no-shoes-indoors policy can help lessen house odors by preventing dirt, dust, and other outdoor contaminants from being tracked inside. 

Place a shoe rack by your front door and remind everyone – including guests – to remove their shoes before going inside. You can provide your household members and guests with flip-flops, bedroom slippers (save those free slippers from hotel stays!), or other comfortable footwear if they don’t wish to go barefoot. 

4. Implement a no-smoking indoors policy

Tobacco smoke sticks to walls, ceilings, and floors. Apart from the unpleasant smell, this can lead to health issues if several people smoke inside your house often enough.   

This won’t be an issue if everyone in your home is a non-smoker, but what about guests who smoke? Gently inform them of your no-smoking rule, and offer them a proper smoking area outdoors on your patio or garden. 

Booking an odor control service  

An odor-free home is achievable with regular cleaning and the right deodorizing methods. But if and when this task becomes overwhelming, remember that you can always hire an odor control service or professional cleaner

Just sign up on Airtasker to connect with trusted and reviewed specialists who can solve your home odor problems in no time! 

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FAQs on deodorizing a house

Some common household items are fantastic at eliminating odors from your home. Vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice top the list of potent odor eliminators; you can use them one at a time or in combination to remove strong odors! Other substances include coffee grounds (so don’t throw them away after you’ve prepared a cup!), activated charcoal, and vanilla extract. 

Use the rule “when in doubt, throw it out” and dispose of any food or drink in your fridge that you even suspect has gone bad. Clean any spills on the trays or bins and store meat and fish in separate vacuum-sealed plastic containers or bags. On your fridge’s bottom tray, place a dish with a cotton ball soaked in vanilla extract, baking soda, or a few pieces of activated charcoal to absorb the odors.

Make sure to clean your home regularly and avoid clutter. Musty smells can come from stagnant air that combines with moisture to produce mold and mildew. Never allow dirty laundry to pile up and sit; make it a habit to clean them immediately. Avoid wearing shoes inside, and consider switching to comfortable, clean footwear when indoors. Always clean up after cooking and eating – never leave dirty dishes, utensils, or pans in the sink for too long. Lastly, dispose of food scraps immediately or place them in a sealed compost bin.

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