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Friday, May 24, 2013

How to Get Rid of Smells in the House


We’ve talked quite a bit about getting rid of smells around the house. I have a touchy nose – it picks up the slightest of smells.

If you have a nose like mine, you know what I’m talking about and if you’re like me, you keep a clean house so where do those disturbing little smells come from?

Below are some common and not-so-common things around the house that cause bad smells and natural ways to send them to the bye bye world.

Bring in the Fresh Air!

This is one of the first things I do when weather permits. I open the windows and doors (with screens so my cats don’t get out) and let the fresh air in while I’m cleaning.

Keep the Vacuum Cleaner Clean!

OK, we all know the importance of vacuuming on a regular basis and changing the bag regularly (if you have one) but some things a lot of us don’t think about doing are:

  • Keep the bag compartment or dirt container (for bagless machines) clean.
  • Clean the filter on occasion how the manufacturer recommends.
  • Keep the beater bar and the area it sits in clean.
  • Occasionally wash the hoses and accessories you use. I use a baby bottle cleaner that I attach to a wooden dowel for cleaning out long hoses. Don’t wet the parts of the vacuum with wiring or that are permanently attached.
  • Take a cotton ball and soak it in essential oil to freshen as you vacuum. My vacuum has a bag so I place it in the bottom of the compartment were the bag is.

Do not have the vacuum plugged in while cleaning. I clean my parts with warm soapy water. Make sure they are completely dry before using.

Keep Vent Covers Clean

How many of you keep the vent covers clean? How many of you really think about it? It’s something I’d easily forget about myself. Have you paid much attention to the vent cover in the bathroom? It can get caked with hairspray, dust, stray hairs, pet hair, etc.

Other vent covers throughout the house can get caked with dust and give off a musty smell when not cleaned. Some vent covers will need to be unscrewed while others can be lifted from the floor.

Washing Vent Covers

  • Fill enough of the bathtub with warm soapy water to cover the vent covers. I usually do three or four of the smaller vent covers at a time.
  • Let them soak for about a half hour then come back and give them a good scrubbing with the scrub brush or a sponge.
  • Rinse and dry then replace when completely dry.

If necessary, empty then fill the tub again for the remaining vent covers.

Wash Your Kitchen Sponge

It’s amazing how quickly a sponge can start to smell. You only use it a few times and the smell begins and bacteria starts to thrive.

I don’t use a kitchen sponge anymore, I use a chamois or dish clothes where I can toss them in the laundry and wash them regularly.

If you still use a sponge they can be washed when you do a load of whites with a little bleach added or washed in the dishwasher.

When I did use a sponge I washed them once a week and tossed them out every month or two and replaced with a new one.

Clean Light Bulbs and Lamp Shades

Another little something we tend to forget about is light bulbs and lamp shades. When dust cakes on a light bulb it gives off a burning dusty smell and lamp shades smell dirty.

I have some old glass lamp shades that can also get a burning dusty smell from the heat of the light bulb so these need to be dusted regularly and I wash them once a month.

Dirty, Dusty Light Bulbs

  • Turn the light off and let the light bulb cool down.
  • Remove light bulb and wipe down with a damp microfiber cloth.
  • After cleaning, dry with a dry microfiber cloth.

Dusting Light Bulbs

When I dust rooms I always dust off light bulbs, it’s so easy to do – why not?

Cloth or Paper Lamp Shades

Dusting regularly with a whisk broom, swiffer - or if the lamp shade can withstand it – using the upholstery attachment and vacuuming weekly, is the best way to keep the dust down.

Plastic Lamp Shades

Dust regularly or remove to wash in warm, soapy water with a mild soap. Dry completely before replacing.

Clean the Dishwasher

Even though we use the dishwasher multiple times throughout the week with dishwashing detergent does not mean that it keeps your dishwasher fresh and clean. Any environment that is regularly warm, moist, and dark is a place for bacteria to form and cause odors to happen, so what do you do?

  • Clean the food trap out and check drains.
  • Clean around the rubber seal and hinges with an old toothbrush.
  • Occasionally place a dishwasher-safe cup filled with plain white vinegar on the top rack of the dishwasher. Use the hottest water available and run the dishwasher through a cycle.
  • You can also sprinkle a little baking soda on the bottom of the dishwasher and run a hot cycle.

Even if the manufacturer states you don’t need to rinse food from plates, I still do. No dishwasher is perfect and if I don’t run a cycle for a couple of days then I have no hard stuck on food to wash off after I have washed the dishes!

Make Your Own Air Freshener

Making your own air fresheners is fun and there are so many combinations. Here is a couple for you to try:

Doo Doo Odors

This is a recipe for Doo Doo Drops I found on the internet some time ago that I’ll share with you as it was shared with me and many others. I keep one by every toilet in the house.

Here’s what you’ll need to add to a small spray bottle:

  • 1 cup water
  • 10 drops Bergamot essential oil
  • 10 drops Grapefruit essential oil
  • 10 drops Lemongrass essential oil

Add all ingredients to the spray bottle and shake to thoroughly mix together. Shake prior to use as well.

To use, simply spray about three times in the toilet before you doo what nature is calling for. Viola!

Essential Oil Room Freshener

This is a quick and easy way to get the rooms in your home smelling just the way you want.

For this recipe all you will need is a small jar with a lid (like a baby food container or small mason jar), cotton balls, and your favorite essential oils.

  • All you have to do is take a couple of cotton balls and mix them in the jar with one teaspoon of your essential oil.
  • Poke holes in the lid of the jar to release the scent.

Some essential oils are: lavender, sandalwood, pine, patchouli, a citrus scent, etc.

Essential Oil Spray Room Freshener

You can go to a craft store and buy a spray bottle or you can save and wash out one of your old body spray bottles.

  • Fill your spray bottle with one cup distilled water.
  • Add in 20 drops essential oil and shake well to mix. (you can add more if needed)
  • Shake bottle prior to each use.

More essential oil choices are: lavender, orange, lemon, cinnamon, grapefruit, rosemary, coconut oil, etc.

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