10 Ways To Make Your House Smell Good
Help! My House Smells Bad!
Want to know some quick, guaranteed ways to make your home smell good? Keeping your home fragrant and fresh requires dedication, but sometimes you need a quick fix.
Maybe unexpected company announced they will be over within the hour, and your house smells stale. Or worse...like the ghosts of yesterday's fried bacon.
If you spend a lot of time in your house, then its easy to become accustomed to the funky odors that outsiders might detect right away. The good news is you can eliminate those pretty quickly, and it doesn't cost very much.
Here are 10 ways to make your home smell great in no time at all:
1. Air Out Your House
The best way to get the old, musty air to move out is to open the windows and let clean, fresh air come in. It's a scientific fact that old air and new air hate each other, and new air will always win.
For best results, open windows in multiple rooms to get a cross-breeze.No wind blowing outside? That's okay. Turn on your ceiling fans and place box fans or desk fans near the windows to draw in fresh air.
This might not be practical if it is very cold outside, but even a few minutes of open windows can really help the rooms smell clean. If you just want to impress a few guests, try only airing out the rooms they are most likely to visit if it is too chilly outside for opening all the windows.
Eliminate the Cause of Odors
A bit more time-consuming, but you won't be free of the yucky scent in your house until you've tackled the source. Sometimes, this can take a bit of sleuthing.
Some places to look for nasty smells:
- Pet beds/homes
- Damp laundry
- Ancient leftovers in the fridge
- Ruined produce
- Mildewed bathroom corners or window sills
- The oven
- Kitchen and bathroom sink drains
- Trash cans/diaper pails
- Throw rugs
- Really dusty places
Its no joke--dust stinks! What can you expect from something that is made primarily of decomposing skin cells? To help cut down on dust in your home, try decluttering before you start deep-cleaning. Its much easier to keep clean, clutter-free surfaces dust-free and smelling nice!
Speaking of decomposition, if you notice a particularly rotten stench, you might want to examine the corners and behind furniture for dead insects. Deceased crickets and large spiders can really reek.
Sources of Home Odors and Their Solutions
Natural or Homemade
Pet odor neutralizing spray
Scented carpet powders/Febreeze
Baking soda, Borax, baby powder
Hot vinegar or lemon juice+baking soda
Tea Tree Oil
Rooms in general
air freshener spray, potpourri
Essential oils, dryer sheets, homemade potpourri
Homemade fabric refresher, Diluted Lysol or other cleaner
3. Candles, Incense or Air Fresheners
These products are the strong and fast way to bring some lovely fragrances into your home. However, to keep from being stifled by too much perfume, it is best to make sure all the scents are the same, or at least complementary. Too many different fragrances and your home will smell like a potpourri factory.
Another tip for using candles, air sprays, incenses or plug-ins, is to not use them in the kitchen while you are cooking. Some smells just do not go well together, and it may be more repulsive to your guests to smell onions mixed with fruity potpourri, floral airspray, and soapy candles than to just smell the onions themselves.
5. Homemade Potpourri
This is super-easy. You don't even need to dry any flowers. All you have to do is boil a pan of water on the stove and add items that smell great, like orange peels, cinnamon sticks, cloves, essential oils, etc.
You can mix and match for the perfect scent. The steam will carry the smell throughout the house.
If you need something even stronger, try filling the tub halfway with hot water, and adding a few drops of scented oil. You could even use a very yummy shampoo.
4. Carpet Freshener
You can make your own carpet freshener or use a store bought version. Either way, sprinkling the carpet and then giving it a quick vacuum can make a big difference in only a few minutes.
If you have light colored carpet, you can even get by with leaving the powder underfoot--just sweep it into the fibers for longer-lasting appeal. A huge plus to this is that when you vacuum up carpet fresheners, your vacuum cleaner will smell good too.
If you don't have any carpet refresher on hand, and no time to make some, a quick sprinkle with baby powder works well too. I would not recommend it for darker carpets though if you are in a hurry. It can take awhile to vacuum it up entirely, but the light, sweet scent is oh-so worth the trouble.
6. Quick Wipe-down With Household Cleaner
I recently discovered citrus-scented Lysol. It smells wonderful! I keep some diluted in a spray bottle and use it whenever I need a clean smell in a hurry. (or whenever I need to sanitize something!)
Since you can wipe just about anything with Lysol, its easy to go over furniture, tables, the fridge, the counters, etc. in just a few minutes before people arrive. You can also add some to your toilet bowls and the scent will quickly fill your bathroom.
7. Fabric Refresher
You can use Febreze brand (or generic alternatives) to take the stinky out of furniture, carpet and curtains. The result is usually a fresh,rather than perfumed, scent.
Another great trick I have used is to lightly spritz fabrics with the bottle of diluted Lysol. Whereas Febreze temporarily masks the scents, Lysol kills the germs and bacteria causing the odors, so it lasts a lot longer. And the kind I use just leaves the sofa smelling faintly of oranges.
If you want something a little more "clean" or "soapy" smelling than Lysol or another diluted cleaner, you can make your own fabric refresher by diluting some fabric softener in water. Homemade Febreze for only a few pennies? Life can't better than that!
8. Cotton Ball Perfume Bombs
This is an old trick, but it really works to make your house smell good. Soak cotton balls in your favorite scented oil or cologne and tuck around the house out of sight:
- Between cushions
- In silk flower arrangements
- Behind furniture
- In the A/C panel
- In your vacuum canister
These are like little whiffs of pleasure when you roam around the house. Just don't forget where you hid them all.
Candle Warmers Are for More Than Just Candles
If you don't know what a candle warmer (sometimes called candle burner or candle plate) is, you have been missing out. This little gadget heats jar candles slowly so that the scented wax melts. The candles last longer and the fragrance is stronger.
But don't stop with candles! Save those empty candle jars and use them to make your own potpourri. I've heated a lot of different concoctions on my candle warmer:
- A favorite shampoo
- Fabric softener
- A favorite cleaner (Mr. Clean with Gain, yum!)
- Essential oils
- Febreze (diluted)
As far as I know, just about any liquid that smells good will smell even better when it is heated. This is much more efficient than leaving the stove on for hours to boil potpourri, too.
It is also kind of a cheat, but a good cheat. If you are desparate to convince someone that you have been cleaning house, heating a cleaning mixture (dilute it first, trust me!) can make it seem like you've been slaving away all day over a hot mop.
Candle warmers are cheap too, so you can have several working at once to help make you seem like the domestic goddess (or god) that you know you really are.
9. Let Your Laundry Do the Work
One of the most wonderful smells in the world is laundry. Except, for some reason, it always smells better at other people's houses.
Although science hasn't solved that mystery, it works to your advantage. If you need the house to smell good quickly, go start a load of laundry. Unless you are one of those people who avoids laundry at all costs, you should have enough items lying around to at least tumble a small load.(With a scented dryer sheet, of course!)
You can also use scented dryer sheets instead of cotton balls to tuck around the house. Tucking a dryer sheet into sunny windows can make the whole room smell as clean and fresh as your laundry room, too.
The Smell of Home
Does Your Home Smell Clean and Fresh and Super-Inviting?
10. DIY Furniture Polish
To me, most furniture polish brands get smelly after they've sat on the furniture for a couple of hours. I like the Behold brand best, but recently I've been making my own.
If you have a lot of wooden surfaces, you can try this too. 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. ( I tend to go for clove and lavender, because they last a long time.)
Think of it as getting two jobs done at once. You are removing that stinky dust, and replacing it with a much more inviting perfume.
Keep On Top of Household Odors and Always Have a Home That Smells Great!
Most of these "solutions" are quick fixes for semi-emergency situations. Like when your mother-in-law decides to do a home inspection, or you want to impress that date who is coming to pick you up in an hour or so.
For long-term smell good, you really do have to keep the odors from starting in the first place. See option two above for places that need daily or weekly attention to prevent build-up of horrific, hair-curling stench. And don't forget to air your house out regularly. It is good for you, your house, and your future house-guests.