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Home Remedy Solutions for Household Odors

author image Michelle Powell-Smith
With a master's degree in art history from the University of Missouri-Columbia, Michelle Powell-Smith has been writing professionally for more than a decade. An avid knitter and mother of four, she has written extensively on a wide variety of subjects, including education, test preparation, parenting, crafts and fashion.
Home Remedy Solutions for Household Odors
The basic ingredients for a fresh smelling home -- just add vinegar. Photo Credit ThamKC/iStock/Getty Images

Household odors, including food, pets and even laundry, can be embarrassing, unpleasant and hard to manage. Chemical solutions often just cover up odors and can make things worse. Fortunately, some simple home remedies can keep your home smelling fresh and clean without chemical deodorizers or fragrances.


Different types of odors require different home remedies and strategies. In most homes, odors fall into just a few categories. Kitchen odors may be related to cooking, old food or poorly cleaned surfaces. Bathroom odors can include dirty laundry, drains or short-term smell issues. Pet smells, such as those of litterboxes, accidents on the rug and general odors, can be a problem throughout the house. Simple home remedies and a bit of extra cleaning can correct most household odors.


Some basic supplies are essential for odor elimination. Baking soda, vinegar and fresh lemons or limes will handle many smells in your home. Old fashioned soap and water, or your cleaning solution of choice, will eliminate others. Essential oils, such as lavender, clove, orange or bergamot, can help freshen your home, and you can create your own linen sprays, scented cleaners, fabric fresheners or air fresheners.

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Get Cleaning

Some household odors can be prevented with a bit more attention to cleanliness. Dispose of old food promptly, keep up on the laundry and dirty dishes, and take the trash out regularly. Scrub trash cans, litterboxes and other common sources of smells as needed to avoid problems, and keep extra bags or liners in the bottom of the can, suggests household hint expert Heloise at Good Housekeeping. Clean your oven, microwave and refrigerator regularly, as well as bathroom toilets and sinks. Use an enzyme-based cleaning agent to clean up pet accidents on carpets and remove residual odors, suggests MrsCleanUSA.com.


Even a clean home may retain some odors. Pour baking soda into bathroom and kitchen drains, then follow with white vinegar to freshen. Allow a cup of vinegar to sit in the toilet to remove residual smells, then scrub and flush, suggests Heloise. Sprinkle carpets with baking soda or mix a few drops of an essential oil into baking soda. Allow this to absorb smells for 30 minutes, then vacuum away. A bit of baking soda can help to deodorize dirty laundry in the gym bag or laundry baskets. You can even brush a bit of baking soda through Fluffy or Fido's fur to freshen between baths, recommends Heloise.

Sweet Smells

While removing household odors will go a long way toward creating a pleasant-smelling home, sometimes you want to add a fresh or homey scent to your space, without the work of baking homemade cookies. Simmer spices such as cinnamon and cloves in a pot of boiling water with some orange peel to create a warm and spicy fragrance in your home. Add a few drops of the essential oil of your choice to cotton balls and place in the your bathrooms. Combine essential oils with vodka and water in a spray bottle to make an air and fabric refresher, suggests GreenOptions.com.

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