Easy Ways to Eliminate Home Odors

While many of us rely on sight for our first impressions of a place, smell isn’t too far behind. Bad smells, whether from pets, smoke or last night’s takeout, can assault our senses and tarnish a good first impression of anyone’s home, for sale or not.

Whether you’re a real estate agent selling a home, dealing with a musty basement or just looking to freshen up your place here are some easy ways to eliminate odors.

Find and Remove the Source:

You can only do so much to make a room smell better without removing the source of the odor entirely. You may have to wash walls to remove mold, tear up floorboards or carpet that is permanently soiled or take other drastic measures if you’re dealing with a serious odor. Do some investigating to find the cause of the smell and remove it before you do anything else.

Tackle Each Area One at a Time:

  • Carpet: Liberally sprinkle baking soda over the area to soak up smells. Vacuum up the powder after an hour at minimum. A box of baking soda can also be kept in the fridge or closet to keep it fresh.
  • Basement: You may link onions with bad breath, but they are excellent odor eliminators. Cut an onion in half and leave on a plate overnight to absorb musty smells in the basement. Leaving out clean, dry charcoal briquettes will also work.
  • Kitchen: Make your sink smell fresh by sticking orange, grapefruit or lemon peels into the garbage disposal.
  • Living room: White vinegar, like onions, absorbs bad smells. Pour some in a bowl and shut the door to the room to remove odor. Get the air circulating as well; open windows and turn on a fan if necessary.
  • Entire house: Heavy perfumed sprays can make a foul odor worse. Rather than using a scented candle or plug-in, mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle to neutralize air odors. And if you still want that vanilla scent, add the candle or plug-in afterward.

Paint it Over:

If you bought an older home, chances are the house retains a musty smell. The homeowners may have smoked cigarettes as well. One of the easiest ways to mask those odors is to repaint the rooms, literally covering the scents that linger on walls.