You walk in the door after a long day and catch the hint of something stinky. It’s just a whiff and goes away almost instantly so you shrug and go on with your day. But not so fast! You get used to the smells of your house, but a guest, or worse, a potential buyer, will hone in on them. There are all kinds of tips and tricks for keeping your home smelling fresh so we decided to put them to the test to see which ones really work. Below are the winners:
- The kitchen sink: It’s best not to think too carefully about what goes down there, (have you ever had one break and seen what comes out when the plumber clears it? Blegh) but basically it’s inevitable that it gets stinky now and then. To combat this, I try to put a few lemon or lime slices down the drain and run them through the disposer weekly. Surprisingly, this does a good job of eliminating smells and with limes costing under $1.00, it is essentially a free fix! PRO TIP: Running ice cubes through the disposer is apparently the best way to sharpen the blades and if you add a little rock salt, will combat the smells that bubble up.
- Dinner smells: Because Eau de Bacon is not what you want to be smelling at the gym. I love to cook so this is a constant war in my house and over the years I have tried multiple solutions with varying degrees of success. Keeping the fan on and windows open helps with average smells (keep the air flow running even after dinner is done cooking), and leaving a bowl of vinegar, baking soda, or coffee grounds on the counter will remove stubborn ones. The most obvious is to cook things like fish on the grill, because no matter how high your kitchen fan goes or what magic the bowl on the counter contains, the smell of fish will linger.
- Pet Urine: The odor of car urine is so obnoxious and pervasive that people have actually sued former homeowners for not disclosing it. The odor might be masking briefly for showings but eventually will return in full force. Luckily, there are now sprays with enzymes that break down odors to remove the stench. The trick is to really soak the carpet so the enzymes seep down into carpet pads and floors. If that doesn’t work, it’s time to either replace a spot or the whole thing depending on the damage. There is no quick fix and this is just gross, so don’t be shady and just make the repairs as needed.
- Pungent Paint. Time to turn to our old friend, baking soda. If the painted rooms are carpeted, sprinkle the carpets with a light layer of baking soda and let it sit for a few hours before vacuuming. You can also do similar things with bowls of white vinegar or coffee grounds. I have also heard people recommend putting a cut white onion in a room where painting is planned. Remove after the odor is absorbed and don’t fret, the smell of onion should only linger for an hour, tops.
- Refrigerator Odors. Last weekend we went out of town and in my rush to get out the door with the kids and dogs and all the stuff, I neglected to clean out the fridge. It was quite a treat to come home to mysterious melting piles of rotten vegetables, mold ridden cheese, and some kind of soupy mess that was probably at one point dinner. Even after the thorough cleaning, some offensive odor remained. Stick in an open container of baking soda and give it 24 hours and voila! Good as new.
- Lingering garbage. Raise your hand if you have washed out your trash can in the last week? If you can boast that, congratulations. I can not, and I am not neat when I throw things away. Go do that real quick, I will wait… but even when you clean diligently there sometimes remains a lingering odor. Baking soda to the rescue! There are few household cleaning dilemma’s that can’t be solved by baking soda, and the smelly trash can is no exception. Simply sprinkle a thin layer before replacing a bag. PRO TIP: To avoid corrosion, if you have a metal trash can put the baking soda in a coffee filter and close it with a rubber band.