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Remove Bad Smells the Easy Way

March 5, 2024

Remove Bad Smells the Easy Way

Identify the Source of the Smell

The first step to removing bad smells is to identify where they are coming from. Some common sources of bad odors in a home include:

  • Garbage cans – Rotting food and other waste can create powerful odors. Take out the garbage regularly and clean garbage cans with baking soda and vinegar to help eliminate smells.

  • Dirty dishes – Letting dishes sit in the sink with leftover food on them will quickly cause your kitchen to smell. Stay on top of washing dishes to prevent food from rotting.

  • Refrigerator – Old, spoiled food in the fridge is a major source of bad smells. Clean out your fridge thoroughly on a regular basis, tossing any expired items.

  • Pets – Pets can track in all kinds of odors from outside and can also cause smells themselves from accidents. Regularly bathe pets and clean up any accidents promptly.

  • Mold and mildew – Excess moisture allows mold and mildew to grow, creating a musty stench. Fix any leaks, thoroughly dry wet areas, and use a mold killing cleaner if needed.

  • Smoking – The lingering smell of cigarette or cigar smoke can permeate furniture, carpets, walls, and fabrics. Stop smoking indoors, shampoo carpets and upholstery, wash walls and fabrics.

Use Baking Soda and Vinegar

Two inexpensive, natural products that work wonders for eliminating odors are baking soda and vinegar. Here are some easy ways to use them:

  • Sprinkle baking soda liberally in smelly areas like the bottom of trash cans, refrigerators, carpets, and fabric upholstery. Let it sit for several hours before vacuuming. The baking soda will absorb odors.

  • Mix a paste of 1 part water to 3 parts baking soda. Scrub the paste onto surfaces in the kitchen and bathroom to remove stuck-on smells. Rinse thoroughly.

  • Fill a bowl with white vinegar and place it in rooms with bad smells for a day or two. The vinegar will help absorb odors.

  • Mix 1 cup vinegar with 1 cup water and use it to wash hard surfaces, floors, walls, counters, etc. Vinegar cleans and deodorizes.

Improve Air Flow and Ventilation

Lack of fresh air circulation allows smells to get trapped and stagnate. Here are some tips:

  • Open windows regularly to let fresh air in, especially after cooking or cleaning.

  • Use exhaust fans when cooking, showering, or using the bathroom to vent smells outside.

  • Change AC/heating filters monthly so the system runs properly.

  • Clean out dryer vents which can get clogged with lint and prevent proper ventilation.

  • Use fans to improve air flow in general. Ceiling fans and box fans help circulate air.

Use Air Purifiers and Deodorizers

Adding air purifying and deodorizing products can help remove smells that linger:

  • Activated charcoal absorbs odors. Use charcoal bags, air purifiers with charcoal filters, or charcoal deodorizers.

  • Baking soda filled sachets or small dishes placed around the house will help absorb odors over time.

  • Essential oil diffusers add natural fragrant oils to mask odors. Citrus, peppermint, eucalyptus oils help.

  • Potpourri, candles, or reed diffusers add pleasant fragrances to the home.

  • Ozone generators remove odors by producing ozone to break down odor molecules. Run them when you are out of the house.

Deep Clean with Enzymatic Cleaners

For really stubborn odors, deep clean using enzymatic cleaners. The enzymes in these products work to literally eat away odor causing particles. Use them to clean:

  • Carpets and rugs
  • Upholstered furniture and mattresses
  • Pet areas like litter boxes, crates, beds
  • Garbage cans
  • Drains and plumbing

Enzymatic cleaners may take longer to work than other products, but are extremely effective at eliminating stubborn, lingering smells.


Bad household odors can be eliminated through a combination of identifying and removing the source, improving air circulation, using odor fighting products like baking soda and vinegar, adding pleasant fragrances, and deep cleaning with enzymatic cleaners. With some time and elbow grease, you can rid your home of unpleasant smells and enjoy fresh air instead. Consistency is key, so stick to a regular cleaning routine.

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