Most of us become “nose blind” to our home’s various smells — pets, cooking aromas, teenager’s shoes — so there are bound to be times you’ll want to know how to deodorize your home. Say you have company coming over or you’re putting your house on the market. Or maybe the odors have grown so strong that your nose just can’t ignore them anymore.
At that point, it’s tempting to reach for a can of air freshener and spray everything in sight. But commercial products (whether in aerosol, pump, candle or plug-in form) contribute to indoor air pollution by adding over 80 air contaminants, including acetaldehyde which, when inhaled, is carcinogenic. Even store-bought products that bill themselves as “green” or “natural” aren’t necessarily safer since there are no actual certification standards for such things.
Rather than deodorize your home with dangerous chemicals that may irritate lungs, eyes and skin or even cause cancer, why not take a few moments to naturally address some of the biggest sources of sour smells?
How To Deodorize Your Home
1. Trash cans: An easy way to deodorize your house is to empty your trash cans regularly. In the kitchen, this means at least once a day, while bathrooms and bedroom wastebaskets should be emptied at least once a week. Every few weeks it’s important to take the time and clean your trashcans to remove gunk and smells, too.
2. Floors: The floor is one of the bigger surfaces in our homes. It’s also where everything airborne eventually settles, so it’s no surprise that cleaning it can often take care of many household smells. Sweep hard surface floors then mop them using a homemade floor cleaner. Carpeted floors should be vacuumed weekly while high-traffic areas require vacuuming more often. To really deodorize a carpet, sprinkle it lightly with baking soda (shake it together with essential oils if you like) before vacuuming, or if it’s also stained, steam clean it.
3. Drains: Kitchen drains often get filled with grease and trapped food particles that begin to smell horrible. In bathrooms, soap scum and hair often coats the inside of drains and reeks. Clean your drains at least monthly to prevent this.
4. Bedding: Everyone knows that pet beds can get smelly, but so does human bedding! Wash Fido and Fluffy’s bedding at least once a month in hot water, and be sure to use white vinegar in the rinse cycle to break up any remaining body oils. Sheets, pillow cases, mattress and duvet covers for human beds should be washed at least weekly. If your bedspread can’t be washed, run it through the dryer on fluff between dry-cleanings to get rid of dead skin cells and hair. Give your mattress a deep-cleaning to deodorize it, too.
5. Upholstery: Upholstered furniture like sofas and recliners accumulate smells, dust, and dead skin cells, too. Vacuum them regularly using an upholstery attachment, and shampoo them at least twice a year.
6. Air filters and ducts: Too many homeowners overlook the importance of changing their air filters. Dirty air filters lead to higher electricity bills and a funky smell in the house, too. Change the filter at least every three months, or monthly if you have allergy sufferers in the house. Floor registers should be removed, and the ducts vacuumed or wiped out at least once a month to get rid of any grime and dust that’s settled in them.
7. The air itself: One disadvantage to weatherproofing and replacing drafty windows is that the air in a home can get smelly and stale. Let Mother Nature clean it for you by opening the windows whenever you can. If an allergy sufferer lives in your home, make sure you don’t open the windows for the two hours around sunrise and sunset when plants release most of their pollen. You can use a homemade air freshener to add a nice, safe fragrance to the air, too.
Although these seven steps to deodorize your home naturally are all rather simple, they make a huge difference to how your home smells. Tend to these tasks regularly, and you’ll never have to worry about guests turning up their noses the instant they step through your door.
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