A home that is well decorated can quickly turn visitors against it if it doesn’t smell as good as it looks. Human beings might not have noses that are as sensitive as many creatures in the animal kingdom, but since our olfactory input is tied very heavily to both memory and emotion, it’s imperative that we consider them as we get our house in order. Failure to keep our living space springtime fresh can ruin dates, impact our health, and make any visitors judge us harshly, leaving us friendless and alone in our own funk. Luckily, there’s many simple ways to make your home smell good, even if you own pets, teenage boys, or other foul-smelling beasts.
Baking Soda Spray
Baking soda is always the favorite choice for cutting down on odors, but the powder can have several limitations to how it’s used. By mixing up a spray that bears the smell-busting power of baking soda, you expand the ability to use the freshening stuff anywhere and everywhere. Using just three tablespoons of soda per gallon of warm water, you’ll be able to hit any problem spots with a burst of freshness that will help soak up any scents that might belie your immaculate housekeeping.
Slow Cooker Aromatics
Essential oil diffusers can put harmful chemicals into the air, which can cause illness, exacerbate allergies, and even cause long-term damage to your respiratory system. The good news is, you probably already have a superior scent diffuser in the form of your slow cooker or Crock Pot. Throw a few cinnamon sticks or some citrus rinds into it with water, and put it on low while you leave the top off. The smells will quickly waft through the house, wiping out everything else and creating a simple sense of hominess. Just make sure to replenish the water as it steams away. This will also help keep your home more humid, which is good for fighting illness.
Check Your Sink
Sink drains tend to get clogged up with all manner of funk. If you’re catching an unpleasant waft, try squirting some dish soap down the drain along with some warm tap water. You can also pour boiling water down it, followed up with baking soda and vinegar. This will both eradicated unpleasant smells and help keep your pipes running clean and clear.
Pick Your Plants
Plants are excellent filters for removing toxins, which means they also help get ugly smells from drifting around. A few air cleaning plants add earthy decorations to any home, makes you look like a green naturalist, and protect your lungs from toxins while sucking scents away. Just be sure to keep them healthy or they’ll die and rot, causing more problems than they solve.
Dryer sheets are beloved outside of the laundry room, as they’re made to absorb smells and provide a sense of freshness wherever they are. Putting these inside the vents, inside pillow cases, in your vacuum canister, in closets, drawers, and really anywhere will help make that spot stay smelling pleasant for weeks at a time.
Odorize Your Vents
Wherever you have air moving around your home, be it through an air conditioner, heater, or simply a fan, adding a car air freshener can help make the wind seem pleasant. If you don’t like the chemicals, a bit of cloth soaked in water and essential oils can also do the job, or you can tuck a dryer sheet behind the grate and let it spread its scented goodness.
Scent Your Lights
A little bit of vanilla placed on a cool light bulb will provide bakery-grade smells once the bulb heats up. Be wary not to overdo it, as liquid and electrical items don’t generally mix, and real vanilla is largely alcohol, which can be mildly flammable.
Tea Time For Your Cat
No matter how well maintained it is, a litter box always smells. You can add baking soda to the litter, and that helps somewhat, but an assortment of tea leaves can really cut down on the urine and feces reek that a cat’s toilet will produce. They are also naturally anti-bacterial, which means a cleaner place for your feline friend to do their business.
Set To Simmer
Homemade potpourri is as easy as a few rose hips, some lemon, or a mix of herbs and spices set on the stove. This is really no different than the slow cooker method, but requires more attention and doesn’t work over the long term. If you have guests coming by, putting a little mint in some water and letting is smolder on the stove will give a fresh, clean smell to the whole house, but be wary of letting the water run low or leaving the stove on too long.
Candles are an obvious way to improve the scent scheme in your house, but they’re also fire hazards that won’t last terribly long. Rather than lighting them up and burning away all their smelly goodness, begin by putting some away in linen closets, drawers, and any storage spaces. The lack of air movement in these spots will allow the ambient smell of the candle to seep into everything, so towels and sheets come out smelling better, and you’ll get a burst of fresh scent every time you open the door. You can likewise put candles in hot rooms or set them on window sills, allowing the warmth to excite the scent molecules and put them into the atmosphere.
Though essential oil diffusers aren’t always a good idea, the oils themselves can be. Much like with the baking soda spray, putting you favorite oils – we suggest lavender – in a water mixture within a small spray bottle allows you to spot scent wherever necessary. This is particularly good for fabrics and upholstery that you can’t easily clean.
Make a Brew
A fresh pot of coffee is never unwelcome, and simmering some of your best roast puts a pungent aroma out that wipes out most other offending smells, though it won’t really work over the long run.
Vinegar is as good if not better than baking soda for odor elimination. Using small bowls placed strategically in places where they won’t be spilled, you can wipe out problem spots with ease. White vinegar works fine, though you can use apple cider vinegar for a slight orchard smell.
Scents of Citrus
Citrus is a strong, striking smell that goes well almost anywhere. A bit of lemon juice in a spray, dashed onto cushions, put into sinks, or spritzed wherever the notion strikes won’t ever go awry. Just keep it far from your eyes or open wounds.