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How to Make Your Home Smell Good

I enjoy having a home that smells nice and I like giving tips on how to have a house smell better.

Everybody wants their home to smell as good as it looks!

Everybody wants their home to smell as good as it looks!

20+ Tips for Making Your Home Smell Amazing

Have you ever walked into someone's home and been able to tell right away that they smoke or have pets because of those distinctive smells? Unfortunately, sometimes the homeowner's noses are so accustomed to those yucky scents that they can no longer detect them. But you can, and those stinky smells might keep you from visiting your friend.

They can also make you a little paranoid about bad odors in your own home. Fortunately, there are quite a few things you can do to remove bad odors, and you can even be proactive and beat them before they can take root.

One of the biggest tips for making your home smell great is to throw open those windows! Fresh air can brighten up the scents in any room, and leaving the doors and windows closed can allow smells to linger. If it's too cold to open them wide, just allowing a tiny crack for small amounts of time is an option.

Speaking of options, you have tons of others that will help you keep your home smelling fresh.

Candles are a great option and can be dressed up to suit your decor.

Candles are a great option and can be dressed up to suit your decor.

Easy Ways to Make Your Home Smell Good

There are several fantastic choices for using scents in your home and most of these solutions are easily customizable, allowing you to use your favorite scents.

  • Use scented incense: Incense is usually inexpensive and can be purchased in many different scents. Make sure to use incense in a large room, or have a window open for ventilation if you use it. Some people prefer lighter scents in the spring and summer, and heavier ones in the fall and winter.
  • Light candles: Candles are great but can be pricey as well as dangerous if left unattended. Use a coffee cup or candle warmer for a safer and more long-lasting way to use your candles. They can usually be purchased for less than 10 dollars. You can re-use the little glass jars by putting potpourri in them and stashing them around your home. Another great way to recycle is to re-use the candle wax itself—the longer you "warm" your candle, the more the scent will dissipate until you just have a lump of unscented wax left. Use a few drops of your favorite scent oils. These are available relatively inexpensively on websites like eBay.
  • Use reed diffusers: Reed diffusers are economical and can be reused. You can also buy your favorite kind of essential oil to use with your diffuser, and you can dilute it with water to make it last longer. If you alternate scents, you will see better results.
  • Put dryer sheets in drawers: Save your used dryer sheets, and put them in your drawers to keep your clothes smelling fresh. Do not put new ones in there, as they have oil in them that could stain your clothes. Dryer sheets are also good for stuffing inside your shoes when you're not wearing them to keep them smelling fresh.
  • Don't smoke inside: If you smoke, do it outside. Almost nothing will stink up your home faster than cigarette smoke. Once it gets in your carpet, your drapes, and your furniture, it is tough to get out. Try not to smoke near open windows as the smoke will drift inside.
  • Use good-smelling cleaning products: When cleaning, use great smelling products like Pine-Sol or Murphy's Oil Soap. The smell can linger for a long time. Also try to make a habit of washing down your walls every month or so. Paint can absorb smells. If you have carpeting, you can use baking soda or baby powder when vacuuming in place of expensive carpet powders.

My all-time favorite accessory for making my home smell amazing is a lampe berger. These things, however, are not cheap. I prefer to think of them as investments. They can be found in almost any style to complement your décor and, much like incense or reed diffusers, they can make your whole house smell amazing. If you have a few extra bucks to spare, I'd definitely suggest looking into them.

If you notice reoccurring musty or moldy smells, you should probably find the source and eliminate the problem. Mold and rotting wood need to be removed or replaced as soon as possible. Make sure you check infrequently visited areas of your home like crawl spaces and attics when investigating the source of the smell.

Your kitchen doesn't have to be a source of bad smells.

Your kitchen doesn't have to be a source of bad smells.

How to Make Your Kitchen Smell Great

  • Keep your kitchen clean: Keep all surfaces in your kitchen clean, especially cutting boards and other areas where you prepare your food. Food smells are often left behind on the surfaces in your kitchen, as well as bacteria that can cause even more unpleasant odors.
  • Pour lemon juice and vinegar down the garbage disposal: Garbage disposals are notorious for creating bad smells. A little bit of vinegar or lemon juice poured down the drain once in a while will kill the bacteria that create the smells. Toss in a handful of ice cubes, too. They'll bounce any food or grease particles loose and wash them down the drain.
  • Use vinegar when cooking something stinky: If you're cooking something with an odor, like fish for example, it can stink up your entire house. A small bowl or jar of vinegar on the counter will help get rid of the smell. Also, slicing lemons or other citrus fruit will help, as will making a pot of coffee or cooking something else with a wonderful smell.
  • Boil essential oils: A small pan at the back of your stove filled with water and a drop of essential oil or even cinnamon or vanilla will not only make your kitchen smell great but also the rest of your home. Boil it for a few minutes to release the aroma, then let it simmer for a while until you no longer need it.
  • Leave a box of baking soda open in the fridge: The old tried-and-true practice of leaving a box of baking soda open in your fridge does work and is inexpensive. Make sure to replace it at least every three months or sooner if you start to notice food smells in your fridge. You can also place one in the freezer. Putting a piece or two of charcoal in a bowl in your fridge will also absorb smells.
  • Keep fridge food tightly sealed: Keep all food in the fridge sealed tightly, and keep your produce in the crisper. This will keep the smells down, and your cheese won't smell like onions. Also, check for spoiled foods every day and dispose of them promptly. Some people write a "use by" date on foods and leftovers to know when they need to go in the trash. If something is freezer burned, throw it out.
  • Clean the microwave with vinegar and water: A bowl of vinegar and water cooked in the microwave for a couple of minutes will get rid of that burned popcorn smell or anything else that may be hanging around. It will also loosen food particles and make your microwave much easier to clean.
  • Bake citrus peels: Don't throw away those orange, lemon, or lime peels! Put them in the oven at 350 degrees for a few minutes, then open the oven door. They will make your kitchen smell wonderful.
  • Use baking soda or Borax in the trash can: Sprinkle some baking soda or Borax into your trash can to keep smells from growing. Make sure your trash bags do not have holes in them and are properly stored in the can. If you have food that needs to be thrown out, try putting it in an empty bread or grocery bag and tying a knot in it.
  • Use white vinegar in your laundry: If your clothes washer has odors, add a cup of white vinegar to a wash cycle, or run the washer empty with a cup of bleach to get rid of the smell.
  • Run the dishwasher with baking soda or white vinegar: Dishwashers can stink, too. To get rid of those odors, try running an empty cycle with baking soda or white vinegar in the soap dispenser. You may also need to clean out your filter.
  • Check plumbing for leaks: Periodically check your plumbing for any leaks and repair them right away. Leaking pipes can not only cause damage to the wood in your home, but they encourage mold.
You've spent a ton of money decorating your bathroom, naturally you'll want it to smell as good as it looks!

You've spent a ton of money decorating your bathroom, naturally you'll want it to smell as good as it looks!

How to Make Your Bathroom Smell Good

The bathroom is one of the first places in the house to manage a funky smell. There are quite a few things you can do to prevent that, however.

  • Check plumbing frequently: As with the kitchen, always make sure that your plumbing is in good repair.
  • Check grout and caulk condition: Keep smells in your bathroom down by making sure that all grout or caulk is in good condition.
  • Put baking soda and vinegar down the shower drain: If you notice bad smells coming out of your shower drain, it could be sludge caused by shampoo, soap, and other things that we use every day. Try putting a cup of baking soda followed by a cup of vinegar down the drain. Let it sit for at least fifteen minutes, then follow it with at least a gallon of boiling water. If you have PVC piping instead of metal, however, just use the hottest tap water you can get.
  • Use a candle or potpourri: Keep a candle on a warmer in your bathroom and leave it on often. Try using a light scent for this small room. A bowl full of potpourri can also be placed on a counter or shelf; replace it often, as it does lose its scent fairly quickly.
  • Wash all towels and rugs often: Make a habit of washing all towels and bathroom rugs often.
  • Use antibacterial cleaners: When you clean your bathroom, use cleaners that are anti-bacterial such as bleach, Lysol, or even vinegar. These solutions will kill bacteria and keep your smells down.
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© 2012 Georgie Lowery


Tatiana from Florida on January 25, 2014:

How to make your house smell good? Don't have cats! Lol, just kidding! Great ideas for keeping your house smelling yummy! I'm a sucker for candles so that's usually my top pick, but I like the idea of using old orange peels to make the kitchen smell great! Will have to try that!

oldiesmusic from United States on November 22, 2013:

Yep I don't throw away the orange and lemon peels. They're still smelling so good to be discarded. I usually pinch those peels and then leave them on the windowsill of my bathroom. But through your hub I will try to do differently with those peels. Thanks :)

RemaxCapitalCity from Austin, Texas on August 05, 2013:

I didn't even think people smoked in their homes anymore! Gross!!!

Sita from Portland, USA on November 20, 2012:

Very nice and useful tips.

Michelle Dee from Charlotte, NC on November 19, 2012:

Great tips - especially about the smoking outside part. Back when I used to smoke, I would smoke inside the house and then when it came time to put it on the market to sell, I had to spend a lot of money to get rid of the smell because potential buyers complained about the "strong tobacco odor". I used an ozone machine and that took care of the odor but it cost a few hundred dollars.

Liz on November 13, 2012:

Great tips! Just have one comment to add though to anyone who may try to use baby powder as a carpet freshener, Use It Sparingly !! : )Too much baby powder can clog the filter on your vacuum cleaner.

Georgie Lowery (author) from North Florida on July 21, 2012:


I'm glad I could help! I love the smell of fresh air, unless I'm in a city. I'm lucky enough to live in the country. It sure does smell good when it rains!

Thanks for the comment!

Bethaleg from Minnesota on July 21, 2012:

Voted up as useful because this hub certainly is! I plan on printing this one out to keep the tips handy.

Let me know if I'm the only weird one out there...I don't actually like the smell of the outside air unless it has just rained...

Going to get the burnt popcorn smell out of my microwave right now! I have been wondering how to do that so reading your hub came at the perfect time! Thanks!

Deb Welch on July 08, 2012:

Bridgewater Candle Company's Scented Sachets are a great way to fragrance your automobile, add a special touch to gift packages, for silk flower arrangements, vacuum cleaner bags, simmering pot, closets, drawers, diaper bins, trash cans – anywhere where you need a touch of fragrance.

It could have been a different product name but this is similar.

Georgie Lowery (author) from North Florida on July 07, 2012:

Deb Welch,

I did not know about the scents for vacuum cleaner bags. Can they also be used in the bag-less ones? I think that's what we have.

I agree with clean. I'm not real good at it, but I agree with it!

Thank you for your comment!

Deb Welch on July 07, 2012:

Excellent Hub. These ideas and tips are very good. I plan on using a few of them. Baking Soda does work, along with white vinegar,they sell a large selection of fragrances in paper envelopes that may be put into vacumn cleaner bags - a little expensive but worth it. Being clean is what actually does keep the room smelling nice and cracking open the window is right on. Thanks.

Georgie Lowery (author) from North Florida on May 10, 2012:

Thank you, iamaudraleigh! I appreciate it!

iamaudraleigh on May 10, 2012:

Great ideas in a great hub! I am not the neatest person in the! This could be helpful and economica;! Voted up and shared!

Georgie Lowery (author) from North Florida on May 07, 2012:

Thank you, cheapstuff!

cheapstuff from California on May 07, 2012:

Who knew there were so many ways to make your home smell better. I know some people who can use these tips. Hah! Great hub, some very useful info here.

Georgie Lowery (author) from North Florida on May 07, 2012:

Hello again, mary!

Cats can be a challenge. My mom had what seemed like fifty thousand of them and the house always smelled awful. I love incense, though. And you can get it cheap, too!

Thanks for the comment! :)

maryhoneybee from Richmond, Virginia on May 07, 2012:

Wonderful tips! I have cats--and more than a couple!--and the smell is a little much sometimes. Normally I turn to incense or a natural scented spray I found at Whole Foods. Now I have plenty of options, thanks to this hub. Voted up!

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