No matter how well decorated and furnished your house is it will not be appealing or welcoming if the atmosphere inside is not fresh and sweet smelling. Bad smells can linger for a variety of reasons, from pets and musty damp, to perspiration and even the strong stench of cooking, particularly foods like fish, onions, garlic and spices like curry.
To Keep Things Fresh
To keep your home smelling fresh, here are some good habits you should keep:
- Open windows and air the rooms every day. Even on cold days, try to do this for at least 10 minutes and on nice days, try to keep windows open for as long as possible, making sure that at least two are open (preferably on different sides of a room) to ensure a good flow of air across the room. This is a very simple and inexpensive but highly effective way to keep your environment fresh and clean smelling.
- Wash all fabric furnishings and upholstery as often as possible. Anything removable and washable should be washed regularly (e.g. a monthly laundering of sofa slip covers and weekly washing of any pet bedding). All bed linen should be washed at the very minimum of once a month and much more frequently if the occupants are often involved in sports or other physical activity. If it is not possible to wash or dry-clean any heavy coverings (e.g., curtains, drapes, quilts, bedspreads), at the very least hang them outside to air out.
- Clean the house often – just a regular routine of dusting and vacuuming (and mopping of any hard floors) can effectively remove many odours in a household. Twice a year, wipe down all the walls to remove any residues and their accompanying odours. Have the carpet deep cleaned, either professionally or with hired DIY equipment so that all accumulated debris and grime, as well as dust and allergens are removed.
To Keep Things Fragrant
Once you have taken care of basic cleanliness, there are certain things you can do to introduce a pleasant fragrance into your home surroundings.
Commercial room deodorisers – these come in many forms, from sprays to wall plug ins, which are inserted into an electric socket for continual scent release. Bowls of dried flowered pot-pourri or fragrant artificial flower arrangements can be bought and used to both decorate and deodorise the room.
Scented candles – these can be burnt whenever you wish to provide an ambient background fragrance, as well as being decorative. A wealth of different scents and “flavours” are now available, depending on your personal tastes and your mood, everything from traditional floral scents like rose and lavender, to more unusual aromas, like coffee, chocolate and different types of fruit.
Essential Oils – because these are derived from natural products, they do not contain any chemicals that may be harmful to children and pets. However, they can still be very strong and direct contact with the skin should be avoided, also keep all essential-oil burners well out of the reach of pets and children. Some popular choices for deodorising are lavender oil, lemon oil, cinnamon leaf and tea tree
To Remove Specific Bad Odours
Some common household items are actually very effective at removing specific bad odours. These include:
- Vinegar – not only does vinegar make a very effective and safe natural cleaner, it is also a wonderful deodoriser. Simply placing a shallow bow of vinegar in different rooms throughout the hours will absorb all unpleasant odours in the air. If you are cooking fish or other strong-smelling food, warm a small amount of vinegar on the stove next to you as you are cooking. For a general air-freshener – mix 1 tablespoon of vinegar with 1 teaspoon of baking soda and 2 cups of water, then pour it into a spray bottle after it has stopped foaming.
- Baking Soda – another natural, safe product, which can be used for a multitude of purposes around the home, baking soda is amazing at absorbing odours. Sprinkle some baking soda over the area of concern, wait a few minutes and then remove the baking soda either by sweeping or vacuuming. If you want to use it in a “smelly” sink, pour some baking soda into sink and down the drain, wait a bit and then pour some undiluted vinegar on top of the backing soda, which will foam in a chemical reaction and clear all smells away. For odours in the fridge or freezer, place a small dish of baking soda inside to absorb unpleasant smells and discard (and replace if necessary) at the end of each month.
- Lemon juice – there is a good reason why so many commercial products are lemon-flavoured or lemon-scented. The scent of lemon perks up everyone and freshens the whole atmosphere. Cleaning with lemon juice and baking soda will leave everywhere smelling fresh and the air clean and fragrant.
Remember that scent is the longest-lasting sensory memory so having a clean and fragrant household ensures that all visitors and family have a welcoming and memorable experience when they are in your home.