Every home has a unique scent. Still, some houses — we hate to say it — smell better than others. No matter how clean you keep your house, there are tons of odors that will develop naturally, especially when you factor in the inevitable pet mess, overflowing trash can, and smelly shoe collection. Although some smells require more elbow grease and patience (like, ya know, when your pup decides your carpet is a bathroom), there are tons of ways to freshen up your home’s overall aroma on a daily basis.
We turned to top interior designers to get their best tips on how to make your house smell good (or even, better than good), tackling everything from grimy microwaves to musty closets. While you may be tempted to burn a few fragrant candles for a quick aroma fix, work your way down this list to deodorize your house from top to bottom, starting with the stinky garbage disposal in your kitchen sink.
Clean your garbage disposal.
Notice a lingering stink in your kitchen? If so, check the sink. “To get rid of the odor in your garbage disposal, spritz a dollop of lemon-scented dish soap down into the disposal, run the water, then turn it on,” says interior designer Keita Turner. You can also run lemon or lime rinds through the disposal, followed by lots of water. If the smell persists, pour a 1/2 cup of baking soda into the garbage disposal while running warm water.
Refresh carpets and rugs.
Unlike tile and hardwood floors, plush carpets absorb stench like no other, especially after countless food spills and pet messes. Sprinkle baking soda all over the carpet — not just problem areas, and let sit for a few hours before vacuuming. The same method works for pet beds and mattresses, if you want to tackle other pain points in your house.
Spruce up your trash can.
It’s no surprise that the combination of odors from food scraps, leftovers, and other garbage creates an unpleasant stench. But come to find out, sometimes it’s the trash can itself that smells the worst. While deep cleaning your kitchen, sprinkle baking soda in your trash can or use a deodorizing pack or pod, like Fresh Wave, under the can’s liner. Finish it off by using a disinfecting spray to kill remaining bacteria.
Simmer herbs and fruit on the stove.
“I learned this from my crafty and cleaning-obsessed mother,” says interior designer Rhobin DelaCruz. “Simmer water in a small saucepan and add citrus slices and herbs, like lavender or mint.” The heat permeates the sweet scent throughout your house, and can easily be customized depending on what ingredients you have in the house.
Scatter candles throughout your house.
Candles are an obvious option to fill your home with an aroma that you love, but strategic placement is a simple way to increase their efficiency. “Anchor a few candles where you would least expect them to be — but don’t light them,” says interior designer Dee Murphy. “Try the linen closet or anywhere fabrics might live and be able to absorb the scent. Not only do you get a nice surprise every time you open the door, but your linens will carry the aroma with them wherever you use them.”
Bring the outside in.
“Indoor plants clean the air while instantly beautifying your home,” says Turner. Many plants, including jasmine, eucalyptus, and gardenias, offer pleasant fragrances too. Just make sure you’re prepared to care for them.
Freshen up your air vents.
“Clip a car deodorizer, like this one from Febreze, to a vent’s metal slats,” says DelaCruz. “As the air blows through, the scent will waft throughout the room.” That way, you can give your whole house a uniform scent in one fell swoop.
Deodorize with dryer sheets.
Think beyond the laundry room: “Place a few dryer sheets in closets, dressers or other small spaces,” says DelaCruz. It gives everything a fresh-out-the-laundry scent even if it’s been stowed away for months.
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