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Fresh ways to eliminate household odors

By: The Washington Post
June 2, 2018 Updated: June 2, 2018 at 11:17 am
0

Nobody likes to talk about household odors, but it's important to deal with them. Animal, food and musty smells can settle into your rooms and, like an unwanted houseguest, refuse to leave. To make matters worse, many people tackle unwanted scents with air fresheners that mask odors but do nothing to eradicate them.

Rather than plugging deodorizers into your electrical sockets or lighting an arsenal of scented candles, use a few household staples such as baking soda, distilled white vinegar, coffee grounds, vanilla extract and lemons to get rid of odors once and for all. Here are natural remedies for five of the smelliest problems in your home.

Your trash can smells bad

Food spills and waste can make outdoor and kitchen trash cans stink. To freshen them, first wash them inside and out with warm soapy water, rinse clean, and dry thoroughly. To prevent future odors, try one of these solutions: Dust the bottom of the garbage can with scented cat litter or throw a few lemon or orange peels in the bottom before you insert your garbage bag. You also can dust the bottom of your garbage can with baking soda or unused coffee grounds - either will neutralize future odors.

Your drawers or closets smell musty

That musty smell particular to old furniture and cabinetry can make anything you put inside smell too. So before you fill your drawers or closets, crinkle up some newspaper, sprinkle it with distilled white vinegar, and stuff it inside each musty drawer or place it on the closet shelf for a couple of days to absorb the bad odor. (This is also a good way to freshen smelly shoes.) Once the smell is gone, keep drawers smelling fresh by placing scented dryer sheets in the drawers or on the shelves.

Your room smells like a dead animal

Nothing is worse than the smell that occurs when an animal dies within your walls. The odor can last for months while the carcass decomposes. I have found the best remedy is to pour some distilled white vinegar into a plastic container and cover it with a tight-fitting lid that you have punched with holes. Place the container in a corner of the offensive smelling room. The vinegar will absorb the odor. Your room will smell a bit like salad for a few days, but it's worth it. Over time the smell will dissipate.

Your sink or garbage disposal smells like rotten eggs

To clean your disposal, drop a cut-up lemon, a couple of tablespoons of salt and a few ice cubes into your disposal.

Your refrigerator smells fishy

Scrub all shelves with a mixture of warm water and baking soda, then wipe with a mixture of white vinegar and warm water. To prevent odors, keep a box of baking soda open on a shelf in the back of your refrigerator and freezer, and replace it monthly. Alternatively, soak a couple of cotton balls in vanilla extract and place on a small dish in the back of your refrigerator. Remove once the cotton balls have dried out and replace.

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