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Eliminating odors in your home: 5 Helpful tips

A pleasant aroma greeting you as you walk into your home is a mood lifter. Scent is also one of the first things visitors notice. Your home has one chance to make a first impression — take some action to make sure it’s a pleasant one.

Woman opening window

If you have an odor in your home, identifying its source and addressing the problem is the best way to keep your home smelling fresh. Here are five helpful tips to help eliminate odors, regardless of the source.

Air it out

If the weather cooperates, air out smelly rooms frequently with fresh air. Try circulating stale air with a fan to invite new air in from the outside or another area of the house. Additionally, change the air filters frequently to prevent the odor from circulating to all parts of the house.

Try lemons

Many lingering odors are a result of cooking foods such as fish and onions. Eliminate these odors by cutting two lemons in half and boiling them in a small amount of water for several minutes. The steam disperses the lemons’ aroma and helps neutralize the offending smell. When you’re done, run the lemons through your garbage disposal to freshen it.

Neutralize fabrics

Fibers in various fabrics found in furniture, window coverings and carpets trap particulates that can cause odors. The best way to prevent this is to minimize how many particulates you bring into your home by taking off your shoes before you walk on carpet. Also, vacuum frequently and use an gentle, odor-neutralizing spray for fabrics.


If you spill something on fabric (upholstered furniture or carpet, for example), blot the excess liquid from the area with a plush towel or several paper towels. Press the towel into the spot with your hand or foot. Never rub; rubbing only works soil and odors farther into fabric and carpet piles. Soak up as much as you can, then leave the spot to dry. Blotting takes up excess moisture that can lead to that musty smell caused by mold and mildew.

The old-fashioned way

Commercial odor-neutralizing cleansers are available, but some common household products can be very effective as well. For instance, humble, versatile vinegar zaps many odors. Just fill a bowl or pan full of vinegar and let it sit in the center of the stinky room for 24 hours.


Baking soda is another inexpensive yet effective way to absorb and neutralize household odors. Apply on a stubborn, wet stain after you’ve blotted up the excess to absorb lingering moisture. Leave an opened box in an odiferous area. Or sprinkle it directly on a smelly carpet, wait an hour or more, then vacuum the powder (and the odor) away.


Other common products that effectively trap odors include cat litter and charcoal. Leave cat litter in an open box or tub to sop up smells. Or place charcoal in a container with several holes poked in it. Throw the entire container away when the offending scent is gone.


Make the next time you or your guests walk into your home a pleasant and comfortable experience by eradicating odors. Try using these tips for eliminating odors in your home and save the oil, sprays and candles for an aromatic treat.

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