Between dirty pets, fragrant cooking, and miscellaneous daily use, it’s easy for a home to become full of unwanted odors. It’s hard to get those odors under control without completely eliminating the source, but with the right set of strategies (and cleaning devices), you can make a substantial impact.
How to Control Odors in Your Home
These are some of the best and most innovative ways to eliminate (or at least minimize) the odors in an average home:
1. Invest in an air purifier. Our sense of smell operates by catching small particles in the air around us; these particles bind to chemical receptors in our noses, and the signals they trigger are interpreted by the brain. Accordingly, when you encounter an odor in your home environment, it generally means there are freely suspended particles in the air responsible for triggering that smell. A suitable air purifier will be able to filter out a significant number of those particles. If you keep your air filters changed and your air purifier working properly, it should help to remove odor-causing particles in the home.
2. Keep the windows open. Odors can accumulate easily in a house with poor ventilation. Improving air circulation makes it much easier for bad-smelling particles to leave your house – and fills your home environment with fresh air. Leave the windows open when you can and consider utilizing your fans to stimulate air circulation as well.
3. Install a range hood. Sometimes, odors arise from cooking. Even if you’re an amazing cook, the lingering scent from sautéed garlic or caramelized onions can be unpleasant when you’re not about to eat. Installing a range hood can help you control these vapors and keep your kitchen better smelling and cleaner.
4. Burn candles. The flames from burning candles can destroy certain types of airborne particles directly. And even if they don’t work on the odors you’re facing, they should fill the room with a much more pleasant, stronger scent, covering up whatever was in the background.
5. Utilize baking soda. Baking soda is good for far more than just baking. It’s also good for cleaning spills, creating science experiments, and most importantly, absorbing odors. Baking soda is highly basic on the pH scale, meaning it interacts strongly with acidic compounds – including many of the odors we find unpleasant. Upon reacting, baking soda can completely neutralize these compounds, rendering their scent ineffective. Use an open container of baking soda in the refrigerator or on a problematic area to control the scent.
6. Boil vinegar. Not all foul-smelling compounds are acidic. Some are basic – and baking soda won’t be able to control them. You can, however, use an acidic compound to neutralize them in much the same way. Consider boiling some vinegar (diluted with water) on the stove or in the microwave to fill the air and neutralize bad-smelling basic particles.
7. Distribute potpourri. Potpourri is cheap and plentiful – and you can even make some of your own. It won’t work to eliminate odors like some of the other items on this list, but it will distribute a much better smell for you and your family to enjoy.
8. Deep clean. Finally, be prepared to give your entire home a deep cleaning. Move the furniture, shampoo the carpets, and hit some areas that don’t get much love during your regular surface cleaning schedule. You’ll be amazed at how much of a difference it can make for the ambient smell of your home.
Experimenting With Odor-Specific Products
It may also be worth experimenting with some products designed specifically to eliminate odors. These products can often be applied directly to a problematic stain or area or can be sprayed throughout the home to get rid of stubborn smells. Read consumer reviews to find the best products for your needs and experiment until you find something that works.
The Importance of Finding the Source
While many of these strategies can help you manage and control the odors in your home, it’s important to emphasize the importance of tracking down the sources of these smells. If the source, such as a spill or a leak, persists, even the best mitigation and control practices might not be enough to free your home of the scent long-term. Make it a priority to track down the source and eliminate it when you can.
Some odors are practically unpreventable – but you don’t have to live with them forever. With a proactive approach, a willingness to experiment, and a handful of great products on your side, you can reduce the role of unpleasant scents in your life to a minimum.