Secrets to a Good-Smelling Home - Make Your House Smell Nice!

A Stinky House... uninviting. Sometimes it can be a stinky animal smell. Sometimes it's those salmon croquettes that you fixed last Sunday. Or was that Sunday before last??? Sometimes it's that diaper that you changed just before your friend got there. Read this in your best Southern drawl: "Surely there must be something can be done!"

So I am almost legally blind, so I can't half see. I can't half hear. But boy do I ever have an acute sense of smell. Here are some things that I do to alleviate the curse of a prime proboscis.

Garbage Cans

I have found the best way to keep a good-smelling garbage can is to keep it clean.  Always use a liner in your can.  Another trick I like to use, being the cheapskate I am, is I garner those little coffee filter packs that they leave in the hotel rooms, and throw those in the bottom of the can.  If you are a coffee drinker, just keep some dried coffee grounds in the bottom of the can.  This is a good option for smellier cans like kitchen or the outside garbage.  


My best friend in the bathroom is vinegar. Vinegar is a disinfectant! You can spray the stuff everywhere, let it sit for a few minutes, and then wipe it down. The smell vanishes within minutes, and the vinegar kills other smells as it kills the bacteria that causes them. Another thing I like to use in the bathroom are the Glade Sense and Spray kits. These are motion activated and send a fresh little burst into the room when the lights turn on.


The kitchen is sometimes the hardest room to keep fresh-smelling. You get rid of one smell just to create another the next time you cook. There are several tricks here. The first is to clean your hood vent filter. It's pretty easy to do, just follow your manufacturer's instructions. If the same one has been in your home for six or seven years, just replace it. It can mean a world of difference!

Try a fabric refresher on your curtains, too. If you notice that you still smell last week's soup, chances are the smell is in in the curtains somewhere. If you have an open floor plan, the smells may even be in some of your upholstered furniture or carpet. A fabric refresher works well here.

Is that garbage disposal stinky? I have had several instances where I've had to battle the stinky beast in my garbage disposal. There are several tricks here that work. First, put a bunch of ice through the disposal. I know, I know, back in the day they said never to do this, but now that they put a crushing mechanism over a blade mechanism, it's safe to do. This will "freeze up" and pull any funky fats off the walls of the garbage disposal. Next, stick a lemon in there. Chances are you'll have to pull out a bit of the rind, but the smell will be great! Then finally, grab that rag and clean that rubber piece. You have to clean all around the inside and outside of it. Wear gloves - that thing can be GROSS! But after you've suffered through it, you should have a really great smelling garbage disposal and surrounding area!


Stinky shoes are usually the culprits in a smelly closet.  This is where you need some high-powered stuff!  I use the Febreze Set & Refresh in the closets.  You can also make cheap odor-eating pouches with a coffee filter, baking soda, and a rubber band.  These work, but I wouldn't recommend them in the kids' rooms.  

Laundry Rooms

I noticed one day that our laundry room was smelling particularly fresh and wonderful. I mentioned it to my husband, who told me he had spilled some fabric softener. I figure there had to be a way to have my laundry room smelling that way all the time. And you know what? There is a way! If your laundry room smells okay, but you would like that little "burst" of freshness, put some liquid fabric softener on a cloth, and stick it somewhere inconspicuous. I keep mine hanging on the side of the clothes bin (where I toss the kitchen towels to be washed).

If your laundry room actually STINKS, you may need to take some more drastic measures. Some stinky stuff I've encountered in the past is a stinky rug that someone had thrown a dishcloth onto and it was hidden and sat...and sat...and YUCK. Stagnant water can smell gross, and putrid dish cloths are the worst, I think! Socks are another sneaky one. And sometimes, if it was raining at Easter, that bunny may or may not have hidden an egg in there that didn't get found until it exploded. There can be any number of things that smell bad....

Pet and Baby Smells

I would like to say, "Just don't have pets or babies in your home!"  But that would be mean!  And I wouldn't mean it anyway!  But they do cause some curious odors, don't they!

Cats have litter boxes.  It is best to scoop them often.  Very often.  Using a good litter helps.  We always used the Arm & Hammer Cat Litter Deodorizer too, which helped.  Change the litter often as well.

Other animals come with their own distinct odors that can usually be remedied by good grooming and hygiene habits.  

Babies have diaper pails.  Empty them often.  Very often!  If you use disposable diapers, it is easy just to reuse your plastic shopping bags to throw these out every day (or every hour if your child is an excretionista!).  My first child's diaper pail served dual purposes because the stench + sensitive nose + weak stomach = BLECK!  If you use cloth diapers, lots of laundering and sunshine.  

If all else fails...

...move!  Just kidding!  Air out your home!  Put on a coat and open those windows.  Get a cross breeze going and then spray some kind of high-powered smelly something into it!   I like to keep a can of Glade or Febreze around (one of the food-smelling ones) to spray in case of emergencies.  And if you don't have that, and your house is smelling particularly foul, and someone rings the bell, offer your guest a clothespin and try again next time!

Send your wife flowers!

Flowers will make your house smell better, and make your wife smile!
Flowers will make your house smell better, and make your wife smile!

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Comments 41 comments

wannabwestern profile image

wannabwestern 6 years ago from The Land of Tractors

With three small children and a small space, I have to agree with you about emptying the garbage and diaper pail every day. I wash mine with bleach every so often...

Oranges have some kind of oil in their peels and I like to use them in the disposal, too.

And Odoban: I love love love the eucalyptus smell of that product! I'm going to scrub my home clean and odor free now!

cheapsk8chick profile image

cheapsk8chick 6 years ago Author

You are right! Oranges are nice in the disposal. I just read today that the oil in the peel you are talking about also make a nice insect repellent.

cloudy_cool profile image

cloudy_cool 6 years ago from London, UK

Nice hub! Well presented!

I like the idea of stashing away a cloth with fabric softner on it into the laundry basket...would smell pleasant isn't it?

DIY Girl Nina profile image

DIY Girl Nina 6 years ago

Love it! Thanks for the helpful information! :)

QudsiaP1 profile image

QudsiaP1 6 years ago

Wonderful tips, which are very practical and very well written.

Good going. :)

cheapsk8chick profile image

cheapsk8chick 6 years ago Author

Cloudy - Thanks! The scent on the cloth should last for quite a while, too. I've since stashed one in the closet where we keep all our snow gear (including kids' snow boots) and it is really fresh-smelling.

DIY girl & Qudsia - Glad to share! Thank YOU for the positive feedback.

steven papas 6 years ago

that was a gorgeous article! thanks for the info. I am going to have my garbage can washed right now. Sometimes I really wonder where a strange smell comes from. Also, the fireplace is good to be cleaned from ashes after use. Ashes smell bad if you leave them overnight.

iverhunt04 profile image

iverhunt04 6 years ago from USA

Very helpful tips. In college, I loved using dyer sheets in drawers and even attached one to my small personal fan so that the room would smell fresh. Very important in such a small space!

Sara 6 years ago

K... got it, clean trash, no pets or babies. Check :)

Sarah Writes profile image

Sarah Writes 6 years ago from California

Love the vinegar idea. I had no idea that it was a disinfectant. Having a sensitive nose using hard core bathroom cleaner always gives me a head ache. I will most definitely put that in place starting tomorrow!

cheapsk8chick profile image

cheapsk8chick 6 years ago Author

steven - good point! Definitely keep the fireplace clean! Thanks for the feedback!

iverhunt - another great idea! I love that dryer sheet on the fan idea!

sara - that should certainly make for a great-smelling home!

Sarah - I am with you with the harsh chemical smells. I always end up getting sick from that stuff. Vinegar is so good for cleaning so many different things. Thanks for the comment!

ripplemaker profile image

ripplemaker 6 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

Vinegar as an option for smelly bathrooms! Will definitely suggest at work. Many thanks! :)

Congratulations on your Hubnuggets nomination! Check it out today! Be sure to participate by reading and voting!

cheapsk8chick profile image

cheapsk8chick 6 years ago Author

You're welcome ripplemaker! I hope that it helps at work. Depending on how many people are sharing the bathroom that may be a heavy-duty job!

Lady Blah Blah profile image

Lady Blah Blah 6 years ago from South Carolina

Good tips. Giving you my vote!

cheapsk8chick profile image

cheapsk8chick 6 years ago Author

Thank you Lady Blah Blah! I appreciate the vote and glad you like the tips!

Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

I believe everything you wrote your sense of humor and outlook. Congratulations on your hubnugget nomination.

cheapsk8chick profile image

cheapsk8chick 6 years ago Author

Thanks Denise! The nomination was quite a surprise!

Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

It was for me as well when I received it for my Soul Work: Joy after I first started. I was blown away, b/c all I really wanted to do is write...I hadn't even heard of the hubnugget award up until the email announcement. Imagine my surprise. At first I thought it was a scam (hubnugget, yeah, right!) LOL and thought someone was punking me. Then, as I investigated I realized it was for real. What a delight that was. It is a hoot isn't it! Enjoy the glory.

Joesy Shmoesy profile image

Joesy Shmoesy 6 years ago from New England

Lol, great Hub. I love the part where you threw in to Buy your wife flowers. I like you already! Great ideas, I can't wait to try vinegar in my bathroom! It's the little things, you know. Congrats on the nomination for HubNuggets. Enjoy, and thanks again, I am bookmarking this!

cheapsk8chick profile image

cheapsk8chick 6 years ago Author

Thanks Joesy! I'm glad you've found the information useful. I think you'll love the vinegar. It's cheap, disinfects, gets rid of the odors, and is harmless!

CarolineChicago profile image

CarolineChicago 6 years ago from Chicago, IL

Fantastic hub! I agree about vinegar. My mother even uses it to polish all the chrome in the bathroom. And any citrus fruit peel is great for making that disposal smell better. As for diapers, those plastic grocery bags are life savers. Tie tight and toss them in whatever trash get taken out the most often! Ours was the kitchen trash. I will use your idea about Febrezing the kitchen curtains. Again, great hub!

cheapsk8chick profile image

cheapsk8chick 6 years ago Author

Thank you Caroline! I agree with tying up those diapers and just getting rid of them! Before I had kids, I remember a friend of mine would tie them up and hang them on a bush she could reach from her door. Each morning, she would "pick" the bush and put the dipes in the big garbage on the curb!

midnightbliss profile image

midnightbliss 6 years ago from Hermosa Beach

you just gave me lots of ideas. these tips are simple yet effective. thanks.

cheapsk8chick profile image

cheapsk8chick 6 years ago Author

You're welcome, and thank YOU for stopping by!

elayne001 profile image

elayne001 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains

Great advise and so practical. Thanks for sharing.

cheapsk8chick profile image

cheapsk8chick 6 years ago Author

Thanks for coming by and commenting!

HartMurengu profile image

HartMurengu 6 years ago from Nairobi

Great tips there, very informative hub. I loved the one for the kitchen, will try it out.

cheapsk8chick profile image

cheapsk8chick 6 years ago Author

Glad you found it useful Hart! Good luck!

Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

Congratulations on your WIN! Woo hoo for you! Great job.

cheapsk8chick profile image

cheapsk8chick 6 years ago Author

Thanks Denise!

JLClose profile image

JLClose 6 years ago from OreGONE

Vinegar smells so terrible, I always wondered how people could clean with it. I didn't realize the smell fades after a few minutes. Thanks for the info! Fun hub!

whitton profile image

whitton 6 years ago

Great tips! Another option that doesn't cost anything is to put water in a pan and sprinkle Cinnamon in there. It will leave your house smelling great!

Jewels profile image

Jewels 6 years ago from Australia

Love the idea of heating Cinnamon in a pan. I never use toxic Glade products or commercial air-fresheners, they're very unhealthy to yourself and the children. Also like the tip about vinegar smells fading, great info.

cheapsk8chick profile image

cheapsk8chick 6 years ago Author

@JLC, sure enough the smell fades! Give it a try and I bet you will be pleasantly surprised. I personally like the smell of vinegar because it always reminds me of dying Easter eggs as a little girl.

@whitton, that sounds like a great idea! I bet is smells like cinnamon rolls or wassail. Will try!

@Jewels, I agree - the commercial stuff is a last resort here. Fortunately if we just keep it clean there are usually no smells but kitchen smells to contend with!

Thanks for stopping by and for commenting y'all!

tebo profile image

tebo 6 years ago from New Zealand

Great ideas. I must use vinegar more often. Its quite good on greasy stuff I found out the other day. Thanks for the suggestions.

Debby Bruck profile image

Debby Bruck 6 years ago

Great tips on improving the odors in your home. Thank you

dosters profile image

dosters 6 years ago from Chicago

Congrats on the HubNugget!!

I have used vinegar for a long time as an instant deodorizer. If you notice your place smells a little funky right before guests are coming over and you don't want it smelling all perfumed, some vinegar on a paper towel works great! Just wave it through the air for a minute or two and the smells (including the vinegar) are gone.

imatellmuva profile image

imatellmuva 5 years ago from Somewhere in Baltimore

I was JUST saying the scent of salmon croquettes seem to stay in your FOREVER!!! This is a a GREAT hub!!! I love all the ideas, but never have I heard of using the coffee filters with baking soda. I'm going to try this...I love it!!! Thank You!! :)

cheapsk8chick profile image

cheapsk8chick 5 years ago Author

Great idea dosters! I will try that instead of spraying the chemicals.

imatellmuva, my grandmother always put a little dish of vinegar on the stove when making salmon croquettes and it counteracts the smell!

imatellmuva profile image

imatellmuva 5 years ago from Somewhere in Baltimore

I'm going to give it a shot. I'm vending for an upcoming event, and need to make a batch of salmon croquettes.'re the best!

simple 4 years ago

A fresh tip when it comes to vacuuming is that febreeze makes vacuume filters for most styles of vacuumes, leaves the house nice and fresh :)

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