how-to-freshen-and-deodorize-a-homeKeeping a house clean is usually straightforward enough, but purging the unpleasant odors that can arise in a lived-in space is not always so simple. It’s no surprise then that air fresheners, odor eliminators and other quick “fixes” are a multi-billion-dollar industry. An odor-free home can’t be found in an aerosol can, though, but it could be yours with a little bit of elbow grease and knowhow. Here are the most effective ways to ensure your home passes the sniff test.

Eliminate the source

The most effective way to banish odor is always to target the source. This can range from cleaning or throwing out specific items to scrubbing down entire surfaces or rooms that have attracted smells over time. Use these methods to attack unpleasant odors at the source:

  • Take out the trash, do laundry, clean out the fridge and wash pets regularly
  • Sprinkle carpets with baking soda or carpet deodorizer and then vacuum with several passes – or go a step further and have the carpets shampooed
  • Vacuum or clean rugs, drapes, upholstery and mattresses according to their care instructions
  • Wash hard surfaces (including glossy/semi-gloss walls) with a mild cleaner that will not harm their finishes
  • Use dry cleaning sponges to clean matte paint and wallpaper, discarding the sponges as they become soiled
  • Clean appliances inside and out

Ventilate and dehumidify

Funky smells love poor ventilation and moisture. Don’t indulge them. Keep air circulating and humidity down using these methods:

  • Take advantage of your home’s HVAC system or open windows as possible to move air
  • Use vents to manage steam and moisture from cooking and bathing
  • Keep doors open throughout the house when practical based on weather conditions
  • Consider adding a dehumidifier if areas of your home – like the basement – tend to stay humid (above 50% humidity)
  • Ensure your HVAC filters are replaced frequently, and consider trying carbon filters for extra odor control
  • If you don’t have an HVAC system with filtration, look into an air purifier, specifically one with odor reduction capability

Neutralize and cover

Attempting to minimize or mask a smell that’s already in the air is only a temporary and partial measure, but these options can be worth exploring, especially if you enjoy fragrances for their own sake. Here are some ways that might make the air in your home more pleasant:

  • Boiling a pot of white vinegar is said to neutralize airborne odors (the vinegar smell itself will dissipate relatively quickly)
  • Odor absorbers such as bags of activated charcoal or cedar chips or odor absorbing gels can counteract undesirable smells
  • Scented candles, incense, wax/oil warmers, diffusers, solid and plug-in air fresheners and sprays are all popular options for adding pleasing fragrances to the air, although heavy use of some can leave soot or a film on surfaces and even cause discoloration
  • Fresh flowers, potpourri or simmering pots of citrus, vanilla or spices (e.g. cinnamon, cloves, or nutmeg) are more natural ways to impart pleasant scents to a living space

Find the options that work for you, repeat them as necessary and you can maintain a pleasant spelling home.

  • By: Draper and Kramer Mortgage Corp.
  • In: DIY, How To
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