Heads up: some are affiliate links & I may receive a small commission from qualifying sales. For more info See This.
Everyone’s place has a smell. Some homes smell like fancy perfume and others smell like old, dirty houses. It’s why people coming back from a vacation, say, “Oh, it’s so musty in here”. Maybe your house is musty – but it’s also possible that that’s what your house always smells like, but you just don’t usually notice it. “Old house smell” could be a symptom of mildew and mold within the walls, so you’ll need to identify the source areas before tackling this issue.
Conventional air fresheners are often full of toxic chemicals that can be harmful to your health when inhaled (phthalates, for example, are thought to be endocrine disruptors). Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to get your house smelling good without harm to yourself or those around you. So here are a few steps to neutralize the odor and make your home smell good naturally:
1. Remove The Core Of The Smell
Be sure to check:
- The back of the pantry and cabinets for hidden leftover foodstuffs.
- Pet beds/homes
- Damp or dirty laundry
- Leftovers in the fridge
- Mildewed bathroom corners or window sills
- The oven
- Kitchen and bathroom sink drains
- Trash cans/diaper pails
- Throw rugs
- Dusty places
Before you start deep-cleaning, throw away the stuff you didn’t use for at least 1 year. It’s easier to clean an empty shelf than a cluttered one.
3. Clean And Refresh
Sink And Counter-tops
If the sink has an odor, it is likely coming from the drain. Pouring apple cider vinegar down the drain with half a cup of baking soda will eliminate the smell. Chopping up a lemon and putting it through the garbage disposal will remove odors. Let the hot water rinse the remains.
Clean counter tops with the same mixture (baking soda +vinegar) then rinse with a clean damp cloth. You can also get rid of grease build up and gunk on stove or other surfaces.
Combine equal parts borax and baking soda then add in oils (lemon, lemongrass orbergamot essential oils) and stir with a fork. Sprinkle the mixture all over your carpets and let it sit for at least a couple of hours or even better – leave it all night if you’d like! Then, vacuum it up. Your carpets will smell so fresh and give your house a lovely scent.
Mattress And Pillows
Cover the bare mattress with baking soda. Place your fitted sheet over the baking soda and leave for as long as possible. Depending on your sheets, you may be able to sleep on them with the baking soda there for a night or two. Remove the sheet and vacuum the baking soda. If the odor HAS improved, repeat as often as needed. If there wasn’t a noticeable improvement, drag the mattress outside and lean it against a wall with direct sun exposure. Wash the pillows in the washing machine with vinegar and backing soda and a little detergent, you can also add a few drops of floral essential oil during rinse cycle.
If you have a lot of wooden surfaces, take a carrier oil, such as olive oil, add a drop or two of essential oil and a little vinegar. Use just a bit for dusting and polishing. It will cut through fingerprints and dust, shine up the wood and leave behind whichever scent you chose to add.
The walls of your room can trap and store many odors, which vinegar helps to kill. Mix 1/4 cup (60 ml) of vinegar with 2 quarts (2 liters) of water. You can also add some essential oil as a scent. Dip a sponge or washcloth into the mixture and clean your walls. Don’t worry about the smell of the vinegar, it goes away once it dries.
Drapes and curtains
First vacuum the dust, then you have 2 options : First – purchase an inexpensive handheld steam cleaner or rent one. Second – machine wash, delicate cycle.
4. Choose A Method To Make Your House Smell Good
Add some plants to your room. Not only do plants liven up your decor, research shows that they also filter out toxins released by synthetic materials. Make sure you choose plants that are right for the conditions in your room. Some plants need lots of direct sunlight, while others like shadier spots.
Many candles contain paraffin, which releases carcinogenic chemicals when it burns, plus, material for the wick often has lead, and artificial scents may contain harmful toxins.
If you want custom sizes and smells, it’s easy to make your own by melting some natural beeswax pellets, mixing your preferred essential oil scents (mine are yuzu, ylag – ylang, grapefruit and lemongrass), pour in a glass container or any suitable paper box as a mold and add a candle wick, that’s easy right, and much cheaper!
Essential oil diffuser
Since heat can cause essential oils to evaporate and degrade quickly, cold air diffusion is typically preferred over heat diffusion to obtain full effects. Single essential oils can be chosen or several – to create a custom aroma.
Ionic/ozone air purifier
An Ozone Air Purifier works by activating oxygen and negative ions to eliminate harmful bacteria that promotes the odor. Run it for a couple of hours and then shut it off and let the place air out.
The results are clean fresh air. Note: do not let the ozone/ion purifier run in the house while people or animals are present. Ozone displays an “all or nothing” effort in terms of destroying bacteria. It is such a strong germicide that only a few micrograms per liter are required to demonstrate germicidal action.
Factors like humidity, temperature, pH, ozone concentration levels, type of organism and time, determine the kill rate for pathogens. The action of ozone gas in water is instantaneous. After oxidation, ozone returns to its original form of oxygen, without leaving any toxic by-products or residues.