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Make Your House Smell Good!

Updated on October 17, 2011

candles, plug-ins, home fragrance sprays, diffusers


Does your house smell? Of course, it does. But how does your house smell? Does it smell good or bad? Every house or home has its own special aroma. The problem is that you and your family can’t usually smell it because you’re so used to it. If you go away on vacation for a week or two, then you can detect the house smell, usually as soon as you walk in the door. Rest assured that guests in your home can detect its household odors  much more easily than you can.


Household odors can come from a number of sources. One of the major ones is pets. Litter boxes and “accidents,” of course, are big culprits, but dogs and other pets can have a smell all their own, too. I have two Great Danes that live indoors, and they never “go” in the house. Even so, when they spend a lot of time in one room, as they do in our office as I’m writing on the computer, I’ll notice the doggie smell.


Other household odors can come from cooking, the garbage can, dirty laundry, and mold or mildew. The drains in your sink can also be a source of household odors. If you really want your house to smell good, you’ll first have to find the stinky sources and eliminate them.


If your house smell includes a moldy aroma, you definitely need to find the source. Breathing in mold can be detrimental to your health. Mold can be hiding under carpets and rugs, on walls, or in bathrooms. Bleach water can take care of most of your mold and mildew problems, except for carpets. You don’t have much recourse there, which is why we got rid of all our carpeting.


Keep garbage that contains things like food scraps, diapers, and coffee grounds outside. If this isn’t feasible, at least keep them in a container with a lid. Always use a sturdy plastic liner in your trash or garbage can, too, and clean the can itself at least once a week with soapy water.


I keep my kitchen sink drains smelling fresh with Pine-sol. I just love that smell! It also helps mask cooking smells that might be lingering in your kitchen area. Of course, some cooking aromas, like baked bread, cookies, and cakes, can help your house smell. Others, however, like fish, meats, cabbage, and broccoli, are not fragrances you want to hang around.


Once you target the sources of the bad house smell and eliminate as many as you can, it’s time to add pleasant household odors with home fragrance!


What scent of home fragrance do you prefer?


Before going out and buying a bunch of different scents, think about your choices. You probably don’t want a bunch of different aromas competing with each other. That doesn’t mean you have to stick to just one flavor” of home freshener, however. Choose scents that compliment each other well. For example, vanilla and spices make good companions, as do coconut and other tropical fruit smells.


You might also want to consider the season. In the fall, I like to use warm, cozy aromas like pumpkin pie, cinnamon apple, and cloves. In the spring and summer, I prefer lighter scents like mango, pineapple, coconut, and lime. At Christmas, I use scents associated with the holiday, like peppermint, evergreen, and bayberry. I’ve found that lavender is a good scent to use all year.



Bath and Body home fragrance spray is great!
Bath and Body home fragrance spray is great!

Home fragrance - plug-ins


We use plug-ins a lot. In fact, every room in our home includes a plug-in home freshener. How do these work? The heat from the electrical outlet causes the home freshener container to release its fragrance. There are several brands of plug-ins, along with a range of different scents.


I really don’t have a preference when it comes to brands of plug-ins, but I do think the ones from Yankee Candle are a little more aromatic.


Home fragrance - scented candles

I use a lot of scented candles! I love them, and I think I’ve experimented with every brand ever made. Yankee Candle is my favorite – hands down. I haven’t found another brand that smells as good, or that smells as good for such a long time. That’s not to say that I like every scent produced by Yankee Candle. I definitely have my favorites.

During the Christmas holidays, I like to fill my home with Yankee Candle scents like cranberry chutney, cinnamon, Christmas cookie, peppermint, and Christmas wreath. During the fall and at Thanksgiving, I use several scents, including pumpkin pie, McIntosh apple, and autumn spice. My favorite home freshener for the warmer months is vanilla lime by Yankee Candle. This smells so wonderful that you could almost eat it!


Home fragrance - diffusers


I also use diffusers occasionally. These don’t seem to be nearly as strong or as effective at eliminating household odors as other types of home fragrances, however. I’ve tried several different types and brands, and about the only time I can catch their scent is when I’m passing right by the diffuser. Maybe I just haven’t found the right one yet.


Of course, if you have a heightened sense of smell, you might actually prefer a home freshener with a subtle scent.


Home fragrance sprays


Home fragrance sprays are great for an instant shot of home freshener. They can be sprayed in the air to add an immediate pleasant house smell to any room. Home fragrance sprays can also be used on most soft surfaces like drapes and upholstery, and some are made especially for that purpose.


Use a home fragrance spray in the kitchen after cooking to help mask food odors. If you’re expecting guests in your home, using a home fragrance spray just before they arrive will make your house more welcoming. Keeping a can of home fragrance spray in the bathroom is also a good idea.


Home fragrance sprays are available in many different brands and scents, and some are better than others. I really like the home fragrance sprays from Bath and Body Works. They’re strong and long lasting, and they smell great. A friend has used the Thyme brand of home fragrance sprays, and she says they work great.


Make your own home fragrance

Okay, you probably don’t want to make your own scented candles or can your own home fragrance spray, but you can make your own home freshener. Something I do often is to add one part apple juice to one part water and place it in a kettle. To the liquid, I add a little vanilla flavoring, ground cinnamon, and ground cloves. I let it steam on the burner for several hours, and the tantalizing aroma fills my kitchen and breakfast room.

When we have orange, lemon, lime, and grapefruit peels, I often place them in small bowls and set them around the kitchen and living room. The citrus smell can be strong or subtle, depending on how much oil is contained in the peels.

Other home freshener choices

There are other ways to make your house smell good, too. Some include potpourri, sachets, and solid air fresheners. In closets, cedar chips can be used to keep clothes smelling fresh and to keep away moths at the same time. Trash bags with special odor blockers can keep nasty garbage odors in check. Stick-up home fragrance is great to pop in small enclosed areas like laundry hampers.


To get your home smelling great, get rid of the odor sources first. Then, for long-term pleasant home fragrance, use a freshener like plug-ins. Also, use scented candles frequently to keep your home smelling good. For on-the-spot freshness, use home fragrance sprays.



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    • profile image

      Rose Moore 3 years ago

      If you want to make your house smell googd then use Rosemoore home fragrances,which makes your home or room very fresh.All of our Home fragrances, scented products have that wonderful smell that relax you and your mind. Expertly blended using natural extracts, each product is perfect for relaxing or entertaining. To shop online , Pls visit website here :-

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      I think that you covered just about all the bases with your suggestions and we use quite a few of them around our home. Keeping a clean home also helps! Voted up and useful.

    • profile image

      barbi 5 years ago

      I use Yankee Candle plug-ins downstairs and Bath & Body Works upstairs. I have noticed thst the B&BW plug-in unit Burman out very quickly and stops working. I prefer Yankee Candle over the two. Much stonger scent and doesn't fad away so quickly.

    • donnaisabella profile image

      Donaisabella 5 years ago from Fort Myers

      Thanks for the hub,I have been experimenting with different kinds of scents and presentations (plug-ins, sprays, cans, candles etc). I have always loved lavender and when I see it in any form, I want to get it. My fridge needs that soda, I think I should run to the store and pick up one, the one in there has done its time. Thank you once again for sharing this.

    • JenJoy Henry profile image

      JenJoy Henry 5 years ago

      My favorite product to date is Room Shocker. This stuff really works on everything such as: carpet, furniture, and clothing. It is so interesting because it works like a fumigation bomb, but for bad odors. This stuff kills the odor right at the source and the smell never comes back. You have to get Room Shocker to help you out with your odor problem. Check it out at

    • profile image

      Boss030 6 years ago

      I don't know what to do anymore, whenever I buy a plugin, candle, or scented oils they always seem to work excellent the first time but, after I replace them they don't seem to be as aromatic as the first ones. What do you recommend?

    • vianasya profile image

      vianasya 6 years ago from Indonesia

      Great hub, hubee! I just notice that my house needs one of those scent of home fragrance you've mentioned above. Thank's! :)

    • grinnin1 profile image

      grinnin1 6 years ago from st louis,mo

      Excellent hub- just in time for the holidays! Thanks for the great information, I need to update my "glade plug ins"

    • profile image

      Marcy Shuler 6 years ago

      Have you checked out Scentsy? I'm an Independent Consultant. They have beautiful safe warmers and over 80 scents to choose from. No flames means no soot or fire hazard. Candle wax is food grade, so no chemicals. Check out my site or email me if you have questions at

      Happy Sniffing :)


    • profile image

      nidhi 6 years ago

      may i knw tht we can find these products in india or nt .... if yes than where

    • midnightbliss profile image

      Haydee Anderson 6 years ago from Hermosa Beach

      great ideas and suggestions. I use charcoal as a deodorizer, for instant freshness i use fragrant sprays.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      Welcome! Is that a Maltese?

    • SJKSJK profile image

      SJKSJK 6 years ago from delray beach, florida

      Thanks for the great ideas.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      Hi, Nicky! Thanks for reading!

    • Nicky Smart profile image

      Nicky Smart 6 years ago from United Kingdom

      Great Hub habee and you have a couple of exercises in here I must try myself.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      Kimberly, I agree with your take on scented candles. I can never have too many!

    • KimberlyAnn26 profile image

      KimberlyAnn26 6 years ago

      Great Hub. I love candles! I can't get enough of them! Another tip to making your house smell good! Boil water and dump some cinnamon in the pot. The aroma is amazing!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      Dsmythe, LOL!! Maybe you could coat your roomies in home fragrance spray while they're sleeping?

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      Mahandeva, I'm all for any type of home freshener! Thanks for reading!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      Vickie, I love B & B stuff. Several of their products can make your house smell good!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      Good for you, tykk! I just bought a new plug-in and a new can of home fragrance spray today!

    • dsmythe profile image

      dsmythe 6 years ago

      Good post! I have roommates and I'm convinced they stink. I have one of those plug in air fresheners for my room but not for downstairs. I'll do a spray of febreeze to keep the funk at bay.

    • Mahandeva profile image

      Mahandeva 6 years ago from Evanston, IL

      I love to use pure, therapeutic grade essential oils diffused in a little water to sweeten the smell of my home. Also, I use essential oils to clean. Pure,natural and your house smells like a spa.

    • Vickie Bovender profile image

      Vickie Bovender 6 years ago from Southeastern US

      Thank you for some good ideas, Habee. I've never tried the B&B plugins, but one of the attorneys in our office uses them, and they are awesome. Good hub!

    • profile image

      tykk6una 6 years ago

      Good tips. I gonna try there.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      Avamum, thanks for the great tip! Do you use home fragrance sprays and scented candles, too?

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      Wow, Kirby - you don't know how much I appreciate that!!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      CollB, thanks a bunch for reading!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks, shelva! Do you like Yankee Candles? There a staple at our house.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      Same here, Naomi! Yankee Candles are always at the top of my Christmas list!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      Too true, Dallas. The nose knows!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      Good one, Sally!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      Susie, thanks for reading. Also, I just sent up a prayer for your relative.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks, HH. I love scented candles!!

    • Avamum profile image

      Sarita Harbour 6 years ago from Yellowknife, Canada

      Good info here. I find that a quick way to get the entire house smelling good fast is to place one drop of essential oil on the heating/cooling vent in each room. The fan on our furnace diffuses the scent quickly. I have used Lavendar, Tea Tree, and Satsuma (orange) from the Body Shop.

    • Kirby Sommers profile image

      Kirby Sommers 6 years ago

      Great tips! I'm going to tell the NYC apartment renters I help about your great hub!

    • profile image

      CollB 6 years ago

      Thanks for the useful tips on keeping the house/place smelling good. I'll be referring to these tips too.

    • Shelvajay profile image

      Shelvajay 6 years ago from If You Know Me Personally, You Know Where I Am...

      This is a useful hub. I am a candle and incense burner, myself. I love and appreciate a good smelling house too, and I thank you for sharing.

    • Naomi R. Cox profile image

      Naomi R. Cox 6 years ago from Elberton, Georgia

      What a wonderful and useful hub, Thank you habee! All and any of these ideas can be used. I prefer candles myself. In fact family members keep me well stocked with my favorite scented candles. Thanks for the hub and keep up the great work.

    • dallas93444 profile image

      Dallas W Thompson 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

      Home is where the heart is.. It is easier to have your heart where it smells in a nice smelling home. Thanks for sharing.

    • Truckstop Sally profile image

      Truckstop Sally 6 years ago

      Thanks. I guess if a house smells it is house-itosis!! Ha!! I love candles.

    • SUSIE DUZY profile image

      SUSIE DUZY 6 years ago from Delray Beach, Florida

      Great ideas. A family member has had cancer for a long time and some of the procedures that need to be done make our house smell bad. I am going to try some of these remedies.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

      You haven't been quietly in my house for you to write such a hub hahaha

      Seriously, you have picked some very lovely candles.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      Funny, Susie! I tried coating the Danes with home fragrance sprays, but they didn't like it. lol

      Nell, great to see you!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      Sounds great, Dave! Can I come over and eat?

      Marm, you can't smell at all? I had a friend like that. Terrible.

      Jkim, I use baking soda in the fridge and freezer. Thanks for the reminder!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      Mick, I always enjoy your comments!

      Bpop, so do I!

      Ingenira, I think I could eat the vanilla lime made by Yankee Candle!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks a bunch, Nana!

      Princess, I do that sometimes, too.

      LL, I love cinnamon and cloves! They really make your house smell great!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      Yep, Flo. Animals can def make your house smell bad!

      fiddleman, we use the plug-ins, candles, and home fragrance sprays!

      Lizzy, I love your shower idea!

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 6 years ago from TEXAS

      Excellent tips!!

    • Sweetsusieg profile image

      Sweetsusieg 6 years ago from Michigan

      Did you come to my house? Is that where you got the idea? LOL Just kidding! With my 4 dogs I'm always spraying something to cover their doggie smell. I really like your idea of using peels! Never thought of that, my mom used to grind up lemons in her garbage disposal when it got stinky, guess it stand to reason putting a bowl of them out would work!

      Thanks for the ideas...

    • miss_jkim profile image

      miss_jkim 6 years ago

      Nice Hub!

      I love the wallflowers from Bath and Body Works, I also burn their candles. I have a Yankee candle in my office right now.

      I have only one, very spoiled Jack Russell, but he can sure get smelly! Another natural way to make your home smell good is by cutting an apple slice, and orange slice, put them in a pan of water on your stove. Add a cinnamon stick and a clove. Keep it on low and in no time your house smells warm and full of love!

      Don't forget the all time favorite for your refrigerator, freezer and it even works in a closet. A box of baking soda!

    • schoolmarm profile image

      schoolmarm 6 years ago from Florida

      I am obsessed with the smell of my home because I can't smell due to a head injury. I have 3 dogs and always imagine the house smells because of them. I have been known to over-do it sometimes with sprays and have since found that the plug-ins are the best solution for me. I love your kettle idea though, I will try it next time before I reach for a can when guests are coming. Thanks!

    • Dave Mathews profile image

      Dave Mathews 6 years ago from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA

      Our home always smells of love and great cooking.

    • Ingenira profile image

      Ingenira 6 years ago

      Great ideas, I like the fragrant candles.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 6 years ago

      I love the plug ins!

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 6 years ago

      Great hub as always habee. Sometimes I think I've walked into the wrong house.

    • L.L. Woodard profile image

      L.L. Woodard 6 years ago from Oklahoma City

      Great tips. I am not fond of many fragrances, but cinnamon and cloves smell clean and fresh to me. During the winter months when the air in the house needs some added moisture, I too put a pot of water to simmer on the stove with those two items in the water.

    • prairieprincess profile image

      Sharilee Swaity 6 years ago from Canada

      What I used to do is take potpourri and let it steep in water that has boiled. This created a beautiful smell in the whole house. I do need to buy some more of that stuff! Thank you for an informative hub... take care!

    • Shyla's Nana profile image

      Shyla's Nana 6 years ago

      Thank you for the tips. I really couldn't smell the diffusers I got as a Christmas present either. I have used the Bath and Body fresheners as well and I like those. They do have a strong scent so you only have to use a little bit. Thanks for another great read. Voted up and useful. Take care.

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 6 years ago from Oakley, CA

      We have 4 rambunctions cats, so candles are out! I love candles, but they simply sit unburned, decorating the coffee table in the hopes of making insufficient space for a cat to sit. (It doesn't work! LOL)

      When we have guests, I take about 5 of the candles, and place them down in the bathtub in the guest bathroom, light them, and shut the shower doors. It makes a nice ambiance and helps mask the perpetual "aromas" from the litter boxes and accidents. (The boxes get moved to the master bath when we have company.)

      One of our kitties has epilepsy, and if she has a seizure, she loses bladder control, so you never know where an accident might happen. If I've had a rough go of it with "accidents," and company is expected, I light an incense stick on the kitchen windowsill, out of reach of curious kitties. I use it only rarely, as the smoke & oils released can harm little kitty lungs. When we have guests, the cats are usually hiding at the other end of the house, though.

      I don't use a lot of fragrance...I tend to go for the old baking soda in the drains....or lemon peel ground through the disposal. I myself have hay fever, and many fragrances bother me. I like your cinnamon/clove potion, though!

      Great hub! Voted up!

    • profile image

      Fiddleman 6 years ago

      We have begun using some of those plugin type fragrances and they do a really great job of adding good smells to our house.

    • FloBe profile image

      FloBe 6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I like the plug-in fragrances and find they're usually strong enough for a larger space. Animals do make a difference in whether a place is easy to keep smelling fresh so anything that helps is good!