DIY Ways to Get Rid of Bad Odors in Your Home

The next time you need to freshen things up, don’t run to the store. Just keep it simple, open a few windows ... and raid your cupboards.

By Wendy E. Wrzos

 

There are many store-bought ways to get rid of bad odors in your home, but why do those weird smells always seem to appear when you’re expecting company and you’ve already sprayed your last drop of air freshener in the bathroom?

 

When we need a DIY smelly house remedy, we want it to be instant, smell good, and natural, preferably. Give the tips below a try next time you encounter an unpleasant odor in your home.

 

Coffee

Your morning pick-me-up isn’t just for drinking. Coffee can also absorb all sorts of unwanted odors.

 

• The next time your garbage can has been sitting for far too long, empty it out, and put some (fresh) coffee grounds or beans in the bottom before you replace the bag.

 

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Photo by Przemysław Kozieł

 

• You can also place an open container of coffee in your fridge or freezer to absorb stale odors. I have done this for years, and I actually prefer it to baking soda.

 

• Pop some coffee beans in a clean sock, tie a knot in it, and hang in your clothes closet and your car.

 

• A bowl of dry coffee grounds will also eliminate some of that musty smell in a basement, as well as deter small critters.

 

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Baking Soda

Opening a box of baking soda just might be the absolute best way to deodorize a house.

• Stir about half a cup of baking soda into the kitty litter box. It will quickly absorb odors without harming your cat.

 

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Photo by Przemysław Kozieł

 

• Add a few teaspoons of baking soda to smelly sneakers to eliminate the odor and perspiration.

 

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Photo by Przemysław Kozieł

 

• If your home has been closed up for too long over the winter, getting rid of a musty odor is simple. Just sprinkle baking soda liberally on your carpet before you vacuum. Leave it on the floor for an hour or so, and then vacuum it up. Bonus: This technique also helps to freshen up your vacuum cleaner at the same time.

 

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Photo by Przemysław Kozieł

 

Vodka and Vinegar

Vodka or vinegar can naturally make your home (and you) smell better. But use either one or the other, not mixed. For best results, use the cheapest vodka or plain white vinegar. And be careful, depending on their strength, both vodka and vinegar can be flammable. Don’t spray them near a stove, open flames, etc.

 

Joan Rivers once said, "I always spray my costumes with vodka and water. It's an old Broadway trick: two-thirds water and one-third vodka. Spray your armpits and you'll never smell again."

 

• You can also soak your feet in vodka or vinegar (dilute 50/50 with water) to disinfect smelly feet.

 

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• When you leave your damp laundry in the washing machine for too many days, get rid of that musty odor by running the cycle again (with detergent) and adding a cup or two of white vinegar.

 

• Spritz pure vodka or white vinegar around a room to eliminate the smell of cigarette smoke, or, for a sweeter smell try the recipe below.  

 

Homemade air freshener

Vodka

• 3/4 cup water

• 2 tablespoons vodka

• 10-20 drops of essential oil (lavender, lemon, tea tree, peppermint, vanilla, etc.)

 

Mix together, and store in a spray bottle for up to a month.

 

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Lemons

Here’s a recipe using lemons to make a homemade air freshener:

• 1 teaspoon baking soda

• 1 teaspoon lemon juice (fresh or bottled)

• 1/2 teaspoon of sugar

• 2 cups of boiling water

 

Mix all ingredients together, and put the solution in a spray bottle. Spritz all over the house as needed. This solution will keep for about a month.

 

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Photo by Przemysław Kozieł

 

As you can see, you don’t need to rely on store-bought products to remove bad odors in your home. You likely already have everything you need for your own homemade odor-busting solutions.