Cleaning & Organization

Simple Tricks To Get Rid Of 10 Common Household Odors

Because your home should smell as good as it looks.

Sometimes, no matter how hard we try to take care of our homes, they get filled with some unwanted smells. You might try cleaning everything out and spraying your favorite scents to mask the smell, but unfortunately, that doesn’t always do the trick, and that pesky odor might come creeping right back. In these cases, you’ll want to get straight to the source to get rid of that stink once and for all.

If you want your house to have a fresh, clean scent, you’ll want to try these 10 ways to get rid of common household odors.

1. Musty Bathroom

No one likes a smelly bathroom, and you’ll definitely want to get rid of that musty odor, especially if you have guests. Open any windows and make sure to wash any towels or linens. Wipe down decor with an all purpose cleaner, and then bleach every surface, including walls and mirrors.

Flickr | Christine Warner Hawks

2. Burnt Microwave

Oops! Didn’t mean to zap those leftovers for quite so long. Now what? The key to getting rid of the smell of burnt food is to use vinegar. Wipe down the entire microwave with vinegar. Fill up a microwave-safe bowl with equal parts water and vinegar, about 2 inches high. Heat for 90 seconds and let sit in the microwave to steam.

Flickr | Patty Ho

3. Old Carpet

Whether your carpet is old and stinky or something spilled on it, you can use baking soda to help get rid of that unwanted odor. Sprinkle baking soda all over the carpet, and in areas where the smell is strong, brush the area with a broom to get into the fibers. Let sit over night, and then vacuum up the next day. Repeat if needed.

Flickr | Kate Ter Haar

4. Stale Mattress

Going to bed should be a relaxing experience—not one in which you dread the smell of your bed. Using a solution of equal parts vinegar and water, spray a solution all over the mattress until it’s just dampened. Let dry, and then flip, and do the same to the other side. Cover in baking soda, and let sit overnight, vacuuming in the morning.

Flickr | Massimo Peruffo

5. Smelly Garbage Disposal

With all the food that goes down the disposal, it’s no wonder it smells so bad. Vinegar and baking soda are again key players here. Put some vinegar and baking soda down the drain, and then flush with boiling water. Cut some lemons in half, and add them one at a time to the garbage disposal. The lemons, in addition to the vinegar and baking soda, will help to deodorize.

Flickr | Dean Hochman

6. Stinky Trash

If you’ve taken out the garbage but your trash can still reeks, it’s time to take some action. Sprinkle some baking soda onto the bottom of your trash can, which can help absorb odors. Cat litter is also a great way to absorb odors and liquids.

Flickr | Alan Levine

7. Rancid Cutting Board

It’s important to keep your cutting board clean, for the obvious reason that you prepare your food on it. You can clean it with vinegar to disinfect, and you can rub it with a lemon half to help get rid of that unwanted odor (like last night’s onions!).

Flickr | David, Bergin, Emmett and Elliott

8. Smelly Toilet

There’s no worse odor than sewage, and if your toilet is smelly, you’ll want to get rid of that ASAP. The likely culprit is your toilet tank, which might need a good cleaning. Scrub the tank with some vinegar (using gloves, of course), and that can help get rid of the unmistakable smell of urine.

Flickr | Orin Zebest

9. Onion-y Refrigerator

Remove everything from your fridge and wipe down all surfaces with soap and water. Wipe down the interior of the fridge with a mixture of baking soda and water using a damp sponge. Leave the door open, and let it air out.

Flickr | francois schnell

10. Stale Closet

A musty closet is usually stuffed with clothes, so remove everything and give it air to breathe (and wash your clothes while you’re at it). Vacuum the floor and corners. Then use coffee grounds as an odor absorber (who knew?!) which you can do by filling up some socks and hanging them up.

Flickr | Sofy Marquez