Every house has a smell. It’s often a combination of the people who live there, their perfume, aftershave, the food they cook, and other things. Sometimes, however the smell is not flattering.  Pets, cigarette smoke, pungent foods—they can all make your house smell bad.  What to do when your house smells bad? Read on for Carlene’s best tips!

Stale refrigerator smell

If opening your fridge takes the edge off your appetite, stick an open box of baking soda in the back on one of the shelves to trap odors. You can put a box in your freezer, too, if it’s smelly. If the baking soda isn’t quite doing it, put some activated charcoal in your refrigerator. You can find it at home and bath stores.

Smelly garbage disposals

There’s not much worse than cooking your dinner in a kitchen that has a faint smell of the remnants of last night’s dinner rotting in the sink. To get rid of the smelliness, try pouring white vinegar down the disposal while it’s running, or freeze the vinegar into ice cubes and let the disposal chop them up. Another thing you can try is cutting a lemon in half.  Put half down the disposal and turn on.  Put the other half in.  Let it run for a few seconds then turn it off.  Let the lemon sit in the disposal for about 15 minutes.  Then, with the water running, turn your disposal on until you hear the swish of the water letting you know the disposal is empty.  You can also pour the used box of baking soda from the fridge down the drain.

The stinky garbage can

Empty your garbage can regularly, even if it’s not completely full. If the odor remains after you put a fresh bag in, you probably need to scrub the can, inside and out, with a disinfectant cleaner such as Lysol. For a more natural clean, you can use an eco-friendly cleaner, and then get rid of the smell by spraying the garbage can with white vinegar (let it sit for a few minutes to soak up the odor, and then wipe it clean).  If your garbage can is hidden inside of a cabinet, you will want to empty the cabinet and wipe down all of the inside walls with a disinfectant cleaner.  A box of baking soda inside the cabinet will definitely assist in eliminating lingering odors.

Pet smells

Pet smells can be tricky.  Regularly emptying litter boxes and lint brush rolling or vacuuming furniture surfaces is an excellent start. Using a vacuum with a HEPA filter is recommended.  When you finish vacuuming, be sure to empty the canister immediately to prevent the cleaner from holding onto musky smells.  Pet beds should be washed weekly with a mild detergent.  Spraying fabrics with an odor eliminating disinfectant on a regular basis will also deter pet smells from lingering.

Musty drawers

I might be starting to sound like a broken record, but it’s for good reason. One of the best ways to draw odors out of furniture is baking soda. Sprinkle some in your drawers, and let it sit for a few hours at least – a few days would be even better – and then vacuum it up with that HEPA vacuum.

A stale-smelling dishwasher

This is one of the smells I hate most. There’s not much worse than opening up the dishwasher expecting nice, clean dishes, and instead being met with a musty/moldy smell. To get rid of this, run the dishwasher through its cycle empty, but with two cups of white vinegar instead of soap.  There are also some great dishwasher and washing machine cleaning products on the shelves today that work amazingly.

Funky coffee pot

Waking up in the morning and thinking you’re about to get a fresh cup of coffee only to get a stinky one can really put a damper on your day. To avoid this, periodically run a full pot of one part white vinegar and two parts water through your coffee maker.  Run half through then turn off your coffee maker and let it sit for about 15 minutes.  Turn it on and let the cycle continue.  Pour out the vinegar water and run a cycle of pure clean water.  Remove burned on coffee stains from the bottom of your glass coffee carafe with a Brillo pad.  Rub softly to prevent scratching.  Rinse.  Good as new!

Mildew in the bathroom

Cool, moist places like the bathroom are perfect habitats for mold and mildew to form. There are a couple things you can do to cut down on those smelly and slimy visitors. First, a good exhaust fan will help a lot, especially with the steam from the shower. If you don’t have, or can’t install, an exhaust fan, an oscillating fan will still help move the air around. Opening the windows or running a dehumidifier will also get rid of a lot of the moisture.  It’s also important to regularly wash towels and rugs as they get damp. You need to wash the shower curtain and liner in the laundry every once and a while, but make sure not to put the plastic liner in the dryer or it’ll melt, shrink up and have to be thrown away.