Our sense of smell plays a big role in our lives, even if doesn’t seem that way all the time. For instance, even if my house looks spotless, I can’t consider it truly clean if it doesn’t smell clean too. (My favorite “clean” smells include cleaning products, citrus scents, and good old fresh air!) So I’ve put a lot of time and effort into learning ways to eliminate unpleasant odors around my house!
A lot of those learning experiences turned into posts here on my blog, which hadn’t really occurred to me until recently. But since I have so many posts about tackling different sources of household odors, I thought it might be nice to put them all together in one convenient place! So that’s exactly what I did, and I’ll be sharing it with you today!
I hope this post can serve as a go-to resource for you when it comes to dealing with the common smells and odors of everyday life. Because if I’ve learned one thing over the years, it’s that every stinky problem has a simple solution—and the only trick is knowing which one to use! :-)
17 Common Household Odors & How To Get Rid Of Them
1. Garlic Breath
Feeling self-conscious about your breath after a garlicky meal? Freshen your breath fast by chewing on a couple of fresh mint leaves! For more fast fixes for bad breath, check out the link below.
2. Cooking Aromas
Lingering aromas from a home-cooked meal don’t bother everyone, but some people can’t stand them! To quickly eliminate food smells from your kitchen, place a chunk of orange peel in a warm oven or on top of a warm stove. The heat will activate the oils in the orange peel for an instant citrus “air freshener!”
3. Garbage Disposal
Food residue can build up in your garbage disposal over time, leading to unpleasant odors. But there’s a quick and easy way to clean your garbage disposal and get rid of those odors! Check out the link below to learn how to make my disposal-cleaning lemon and vinegar ice cubes! Just toss a few in your disposal, run it for a few seconds, and you’re good to go.
4. Fishy Hands
Preparing seafood at home can leave a fishy smell on your hands, even after washing them! But there’s an easy way to get rid of that smell, and it works like magic! Just rub your hands over something made of stainless steel (like a utensil, a sink, or a mixing bowl). Stainless steel neutralizes the fishy smell better than anything else I’ve tried!
5. Food Containers
Use deodorizing baking soda to get rid of food smells that are lingering in your food storage containers. Just fill the container with warm water and add two to three teaspoons of baking soda. Let the container sit like that overnight, then hand wash it in the morning. Good as new!
Weird smells lurking in your fridge? Your first course of action should be to go through the contents of your fridge and throw out anything that has expired or gone bad. Once you’ve done that, pop a spray top onto a bottle of hydrogen peroxide. Spray down the inside of your fridge with the peroxide and wipe it clean with a microfiber cloth. Hydrogen peroxide will kill the smell and leave your fridge clean and sanitary!
7. Cheese Grater
Any of your kitchen tools can pick up weird smells over time, even your cheese grater! If your grater ever smells a bit off, grab a piece of crusty bread or a piece of toast. Just grate the bread, and the bread bits will absorb whatever is causing the smell.
8. Cutting Board
Plastic cutting boards and handy and durable, but plastic tends to absorb odors more readily than other materials. So if your cutting board could use some freshening up, first wash it well with warm, soapy water. Next, cut a lemon in half and rub one of the lemon halves over the surface of the cutting board. The lemon juice will help sanitize the surface and eliminate lingering odors.
9. Kitchen Sponges
Deodorize a smelly kitchen sponge with an overnight soak. Add a tablespoon of baking soda to a bowl of warm water, then place your kitchen sponge in the water. Let it soak there overnight to give the baking soda time to work its odor-eliminating magic!
A few years ago, my daughter and husband kept complaining that some of our bath towels smelled bad, even after I had just washed them! I was stumped, until I realized that the issue was a buildup of mildew on the towels (yuck!) But eventually I found an easy fix that got rid of the smelly mildew and restored our towels to their former freshness!
Get the full instructions for my simple 3-step towel-reviving treatment at the link below.
11. Outdoor Trash Can
Unfortunately, science has not yet discovered a way to prevent your outdoor trash can from smelling like hot garbage on a regular basis. But you can certainly keep the smell under control by giving it a good cleaning every once in a while!
Pull the trash can out into your yard, squirt some dish soap into the bottom of it, and use your garden hose to “pressure wash” the inside of your trash can. For more ways to get rid of that awful garbage smell, check out my full post on the topic below!
Even though they are relatively small, smelly shoes can be one of the worst offenders in terms of household odors. The key to eliminating odor from shoes is to dry them out, which kills any odor-causing bacteria that may be lurking inside your shoes. It can be as simple as sprinkling some baking soda in your shoes and leaving it there overnight!
For more useful tips for dealign with smelly shoes, check out my full post on the subject at the link below.
13. Musty Carpets
Carpets smelling a bit musty lately? You don’t have to pay for a full carpet cleaning to freshen them up! In fact, freshening up your carpets is as easy and mixing up a simple carpet powder! Baking soda, borax, and something for scent is all it takes to get fresher carpets in under 30 minutes. Get all the details and instructions for making your own carpet powder at the link below!
Dealing with toilet odor is never fun, regardless of who was responsible for it. But if you make my homemade toilet spray with all-natural essential oils, you can prevent toilet odor from being an issue in the first place! Just spray it into the toilet before you go, and it’ll keep your bathroom smelling fresh and clean! Learn how to make it below.
15. Living Room
It’s always nice to know that even if your living areas aren’t completely clean, that at least they smell clean! And making your own gel air fresheners is an easy way to ensure your living room stays fresh around the clock! Learn how to make them at the link below.
16. Wooden Furniture
Start by wiping the item down with a cloth dampened with white vinegar. Make sure to wipe every surface you can reach, including the inside of drawers, etc. This will help eliminate potential sources of odor.
Next, fill a few small bowls with coffee grounds, kitty litter, or baking soda and leave them in each drawer overnight. (All three items will help absorb lingering odors.) If you live in a dry area, you can leave the furniture out in the sun for a while to help eliminate odors.
If nothing here helps get rid of the odor, you may need to consider sanding the piece of furniture down and resealing it. Since wood is so porous, this could be the only thing that will get rid of the smell for good.
17. Cigarette Smoke
The smell of cigarette smoke might be one of the trickiest smells to deal with, because it really adheres to fabrics and surfaces. Here’s some tips for getting rid of the smell of cigarette smoke, depending on what you’re dealing with:
- Clothing and fabric – Machine wash item(s) on a cold water cycle with 2 cups of white vinegar.
- Carpets, mattresses, and furniture – Sprinkle baking soda on the item, let it sit there overnight, then vacuum it up in the morning. Repeat if necessary.
- Walls – Clean walls with a rag soaked in equal parts water and white vinegar.
- All over – Be sure to replace the air filters in your HVAC system and clean out the air ducts thoroughly.
What’s your best tip for getting rid of household odors?