How To Make Your Whole House Smell Good
Our 26 odor-improving tips will have guests begging for your secret.
All homes have a smell. But some homes… smell better (or, let’s be honest, worse) than others. And if you’re worried your home might not fall in the better category, don’t worry. There are millions of ways to tackle weird house smells. And don’t be ashamed. Your house smell isn’t your fault. (Although it might be your pet’s fault.) Afterall, your home is (probably) way older than you are. It’s seen a lot of tenants, hosted a lot of meals and weathered a lot of toilet flushes.
Wood is porous and absorbs smells. Picture your favorite dive bar… that overwhelming smell of soaked-in beer that hits you in the face like a ton of drunk bricks when you walk in? Decades of spilled beer on wood. And carpet is like a sponge. Even your walls are quietly soaking up smells behind your back. Not to mention all the weird plumbing attachments. Who even knows what’s going on inside there.
We’ve compiled 26 tips to keep those house smells in check, divided up by room. Most of our smell solutions utilize basic household ingredients you’ve probably got stashed in the pantry, others that are cheap and easy to acquire and shoutouts to some of our favorite ready-made air freshening products.
How To Make Your House Smell Good
Tips to make your kitchen smell good
Kitchen smells are fluid. Their smell literally depends on what’s cookin’ (or what’s brewing, what’s been spilled, what’s sitting in the sink, what’s rotting in the trash can, etc., etc.). But there are lots of little tweaks and adjustments you can make in your kitchen to neutralize and freshen up its baseline smell. (Hint: Most of them revolve around drains and pipes.)
- If there’s a foul smell coming from your kitchen, sniff around your dishwasher. Though it may seem counterintuitive, your dishwasher needs to be cleaned occasionally. Follow your dishwasher’s cleaning instructions in the manual or read this article for step-by-step dishwasher odor eliminating directions.
- Put a small bowl of coffee grounds in the fridge or freezer to absorb the stink from last week’s leftovers. Just be sure to clean out your fridge, too. No amount of coffee grounds can combat rotting seafood.
- If you don’t have coffee on hand (or just hate the smell of coffee), place a cotton ball soaked with vanilla extract in the fridge or freezer.
- Grind up citrus peels in your garbage disposal. Not only will this clean out your disposal, it’ll also send delicious citrus scents wafting through your kitchen. Plus, this tip will also help you get your daily allotment of vitamin C when you eat the leftover fruit.
- If you don’t have a garbage disposal but still want to get rid of the smells coming from your sink, consider pouring boiling water down the drain. To save time and water, do this with the left-over water in the kettle after you brew a cup of tea.
- Simmer aromatic ingredients on the stove. You can throw herbs, spices, and citrus peels in water OR with a little more planning, make some masala chai or mulled cider so you have something warm and cozy to sip on.
- Bake spices in the oven at a low temperature. Not only will this make your home smell heavenly, toasting the spices makes them taste nuttier and richer, improving your baking.
- Sprinkle baking soda in your trashcan. Baking soda is a cost-effective way to neutralize all those foul smells coming from that corner of your kitchen.
- If you notice a smell coming from your microwave even after you’ve cleaned it, microwave a couple of tablespoons of vanilla extract in a mug for thirty seconds. Everyone will wonder if you’ve been baking — though, you run the risk of disappointing them when there aren’t any cookies to snack on.
- Cut up citrus fruit. As you cut them up, you’ll release the fragrant oils and freshen up the kitchen and you can throw those slices into a glass of water for a true spa experience.
Tips to make your bathroom smell good
We all know what goes on in the bathroom, and some of it isn’t pretty. Luckily, bathrooms are often well equipped with fans (and windows, if you’re lucky!) to remedy odors, man-made or otherwise. But it can’t hurt to steal some tricks from your favorite spa to enhance your home lavatory.
- Want to fill your bathroom with a spa-like scent? Hang some eucalyptus branches from the showerhead. When you take a shower, the steam will heat up and release the oils in the eucalyptus, releasing its scent throughout the bathroom and into the house.
Tips to make your bedroom smell good
You spend a lot of time in here, even if you’re zonked out for a majority of that time. And you’re snoring, sneezing, drooling and unintentionally stinking up the place all the while. Think about it: The bedroom is where the morning breath is generated. Yuck.
- Distribute dryer sheets in drawers and cabinets throughout your home for that freshly-washed laundry aroma all day long.
- If you find that your clothes are still smelling a little musty, put some clear, unflavored vodka in a spray bottle and go to town misting all your clothes. The alcohol will lift the smells right out of your clothes as it evaporates.
Tips to make your living room smell good
This room is probably the most popular hangout zone in the entire house. And the most public. Your guests don’t want to encounter stale, stinky air or weird pet pee smells. And you don’t want that for them.
- Sometimes vacuuming sends out a stinky odor. To combat this, put a cotton ball with a couple of drops of essential oils into the vacuum bag. An easy way to transform vacuuming into a scent-infused experience.
- Mind the carpet. Carpet tends to trap odors and requires routine deodorizing to combat odors that come from pet dander, sweat, smoke and mildew. White vinegar, baking soda, club soda and humidifiers are just some of the methods to neutralizing carpet smells.
- Eliminate odors with a Febreze Plug. Unlike quick fixes that dissipate in a couple of hours, a plug gets rid of stinky smells and emits freshness continuously for up to 1200 hours on the low setting.
- Use a diffuser with a couple of drops of your favorite essential oils. This allows you to customize the scent to your liking! Or get crazy and combine oils for your perfect combination.
- Open a window and let the fresh air in. Of course, this is pretty dependent on the weather outside. This might not be the best deodorizing option in the middle of winter or during a thunderstorm.
- Find your zen by burning incense. Not only does incense smell great, there’s also something so satisfying about watching it turn to ash little by little.
- Light a candle. While not as natural as essential oils, candles are effective at masking those stinky smells in your home you want to keep at bay.
- Spray a room refresher spray. For the ultimate hack, spray Febreze Air Light in a room in need of some freshness. Instead of just masking odors, Febreze actually has the technology to clean away odors. Plus, it does it all without heavy perfumes.
Tips to make your hallways, entryways, and more smell good
Because “everywhere else” in the house is also most of the house! Those in-between zones contain a lot of square footage and deserve some love, too.
- If you find your entryway is smelling a little funky, it might be time to deodorize your shoes. If they’re washable, throw them in a wash cycle. If they’re not washable, try wiping them out using a cloth dampened with rubbing alcohol.
- Drop a few drops of essential oils onto your air conditioner filter every time your change it. As your air conditioner does its job cooling down your home, it’ll also send those delicious, natural aromas wafting throughout the space.
- On that note, do the same with your furnace filter. That way you won’t need to wait for the summer to take advantage of the mood-lifting power of essential oils.
- Concerned the fresh-paint smell will be too strong? Cut the smell by adding a tablespoon of vanilla extract to your paint. Simply add it directly to the gallon of paint, stir the paint with a paint stirrer, then proceed with your painting as you normally would.
- When you clean, use vinegar. Vinegar is a natural deodorizer, and don’t worry: the sour of vinegar dissipates soon after you clean.
And there you have it. These helpful odor remedies will leave your house smelling yummy and spark compliments from visitors. Yes, even your mother-in-law. Smell ya later.