They say your home is your castle. And while that may be true, even the cleanest of castles can produce some downright ugly smells at times. From rank cooking odors to a malodorous garbage disposal, we all find ourselves facing a foul smell in our homes from time to time.
When it happens you can’t get rid of the smell fast enough. So it’s no wonder that many of us turn to harsh chemical cleaners and air fresheners to do the job. But why not attack some of the most common household odors naturally, instead?
1. A foul smelling garbage disposal:
To tackle that stinky garbage disposal you will need baking soda and white vinegar. For extra tough jobs grab some ice cubes, coarse salt and a lemon or lime, too.
Warm up a cup of the vinegar and measure out one-half a cup of baking soda. Pour the baking soda down the drain and follow that with the cup of warm vingar. The mix will foam a bit, and make some noise. Let this mix sit while you boil some water. When the water is boiling hot pour it into the sink. As the water drains, it will take odor-causing food and grease that’s stuck in the drain with it.
For tougher odors you may still have some food stuck in the grinding mechanism of the garbage disposal. To get rid of these particles, fill up the drain with some ice cubes and sprinkle coarse salt on top. Turn on the cold water, switch the garbage disposal on and run it until all of the ice has been ground up.
Follow up your cleaning with a natural citrus deodorizer. Slice the lemon or lime in half, turn the cold water on and drop the citrus halves in one at a time, continuing to run the disposal until the fruit has been ground up completely.
2. A musty smelling spare room or closet:
Do you have a spare room or closet that doesn’t get used very often? If so you may find it takes on a slightly musty smell sometimes from lack of use. If you have a coffee grinder and some coffee beans on hand, you’ve got everything you need to freshen up the room, and keep it that way.
Simply fill up a small, shallow container with freshly ground coffee beans. The delicious scent of the coffee will immediately start freshening the room. But the grounds will also go to work absorbing the lingering musty smell as well. If the room or closet is going to remain unused for a while, change the coffee grounds every couple of weeks to keep the room smelling sweet and inviting.
3. Trashy-smelling garbage can:
Be sure to wash out your garbage can from time to time with hot soapy water (a natural dish soap works just fine), and allow it to air dry completely before placing a bag in the can. This will remove any food residue that leads to foul odors. Don’t forget to clean the top of the can as well, this is often the source of hidden odors.
Every time you change the bag sprinkle some baking soda in the bottom of the bag. When you toss anything in the can that’s liable to stink, grab a paper towel and sprinkle a few drops of your favorite essential oil onto the towel, and toss it in on top.
No essential oil on hand? No problem. Vanilla or peppermint extract work great too. In a pinch, squeezing a lemon or lime slice over top of the offending smell, or even sprinkling in some orange peels will help too.
4. Stale air or cooking odors throughout the house:
Sometime you feel like the entire house could use a freshening. Begin by opening up your windows and allowing some outside air to circulate through for 15 to 20 minutes, before closing them again.
Meanwhile, fill a medium-sized pot halfway with water, place on the stove and begin to bring to a boil. Grab a couple of whatever citrus fruits you have on hand such as lemons, limes or oranges, cut them into halves or quarters and toss them into the water. When the pot begins to boil turn it down to low simmer and allow to simmer on the lowest setting for a couple of hours. Keep an eye on the pot to make sure the water doesn’t boil away, and add more water as needed. This will fill your home with a light, fresh citrus scent without having to use any chemical-filled air fresheners.
A nice alternative to the citrus is boiling some cinnamon sticks and a sliced up apple instead. Don’t want to deal with watching a simmering pot? Placing a couple of drops (just a few, don’t go overboard!) of your favorite essential oil such as lemon or vanilla on your air conditioning filter will fill your entire home with the fresh scent for days.
5. A stinky refrigerator:
Start by wiping down the refrigerator walls and surfaces with white vinegar. If you don’t already keep baking soda in your fridge, start now. You can pour some into a small disposable container with holes poked into the lid, or buy a box exclusively for the fridge (look for the one that allows you remove the whole side of the box, the more baking soda that’s exposed to the air the better). Replace the baking soda at least once a month.
To tackle an extra tough smell grab a lemon or lime and some salt. Slice the fruit, and give it a bit of a squeeze to release some of the juice, and drop the slices into small dish. Sprinkle a couple of tablespoons of salt on top and place in the fridge for a day or two. The fruit will start working right away to remove the foul odor, replacing it with a fresh citrus scent.