No matter how much of a clean freak you tend to be, the stenches and odors of everyday life are unavoidable. But don’t let that get you down — there’s often an easy, homemade way to dispel stink from every area in your home.
- Stinky trash
Wash indoor and outdoor trash cans with hot soapy water to remove smelly bits and debris. Leave a couple of used fabric softener sheets in the bottom of your kitchen trash can and compactor to absorb odors.
- A burnt-on food spill
If food from a casserole dish bubbles over onto the stovetop or oven floor, sprinkle salt on the drips to absorb the burned smell (this will also make it easier to clean up later).
- A musty freezer
Place a clean sock filled with dry coffee grounds inside to deodorize this pesky spot in your kitchen.
- A smelly microwave
The awful stench of burnt popcorn seems to hang around forever, but it eventually disperses. To speed up the process, fill a large microwave-safe bowl with 1 1/2 cups water and three or four chopped lemons along with a fragrant spice, like cloves. Bring to a boil in the microwave, and then leave it to steam inside for 15 minutes (until the water cools down and can be removed safely). Leave the door ajar for an hour or so to air the microwave out.
- A foul dishwasher
Check that the drain hose isn’t crimped, and look in the bottom of the machine for bits of food and gunk. Then, pour a gallon of household vinegar in the bottom, let it sit for an hour or so, and run the washer through a full cycle. If the odor is still strong, call a plumber. It could potentially be a hazardous problem that needs to be remedied by a pro.
- Rancid wooden cutting boards and counters
Scub the wood with a mixture of lemon juice and baking soda or salt. Rinse well and season with mineral oil.
- A pungent kitchen
While cooking sharp-smelling items, like fish or cabbage, place a small bowl of white vinegar on the stove to absorb the odor. To stop offensive fridge smells, pour baking soda into a plastic margarine tub and poke holes in the lid; change as often as needed. Wipe down fridge walls with white vinegar to get rid of any lingering odors.
- A sour-smelling garbage disposal
Freshen it by throwing in lemon or lime rinds while it’s running, followed by lots of cold water.
- The toilet
When this frequently used bathroom fixture needs deodorizing, pour 1 cup of household vinegar into the bowl and let it stand for at least 5 minutes. Scrub briskly and flush.
- Not-so-fresh bathroom air
Dab essential oil (cinnamon or orange) onto cotton balls, and place them in a small bowl on a shelf. Put matches in a pretty basket near the toilet for handy use.
- Dingy carpeting
To quickly deodorize a smelly rug, sprinkle a box of baking soda over it, and let settle into the fibers for 30 minutes. Then, vacuum it up.
- A musty mattress
Spray with a disinfectant like Lysol to kill the bacteria that causes odors. In between cleanings, sprinkle some baking soda onto the mattress, wait 15 minutes, and vacuum.
- A dank basement
Open containers of activated charcoal (look for it at pet stores) absorb moisture, so they help fight mildew smells. If you find mold and mildew is a major problem, look into getting a dehumidifier.
- A stale closet
Hanging clean socks filled with dry coffee grounds works here, too.
- A smelly pet
Guests are about to arrive and you suddenly realize your pooch or kitty doesn’t smell so pleasant. For a quick fix (until bath time), lightly sprinkle their fur with baking soda, rub it in, and then brush out.