No one likes a stinky, smelly home, least of all me. So imagine my surprise when I walked in the door after being outdoors in the fresh air and went Ewwww. What was that smell? It was not that it was foul, per se, but more of a stuffed up closed-in smell. That, plus the smell of cooked food. How did I not notice that before?
My first response to open all of the windows and turn the fans up to high speed so I could get the air moving. Next, I fired up my diffusers, using one of my favorite blends. It is now five hours later and things are smelling a lot better.
Over the years I have done many things to get rid of odors in the home. Many are common sense but that said, sometimes we all need to be reminded that the simplest of solutions are often the best.
6 Ways to Get Rid of Odors in the Home
1. Set a bowl of white vinegar in the offending room.
While this does not produce immediate results, it does work wonders if you give it 8 to 24 hours. For kitchen odors, you can simmer a bit of vinegar on the stove although you must be mindful that you have done so and not allow the vinegar to totally evaporate. The best part of this vinegar-only solution is that it costs pennies and who doesn’t have a jug of white vinegar in their pantry?
2. Move foul smelling dish rags and cleaning towels to a bucket of soapy water.
Often times, the foul odors are coming from soiled dish rags that are sitting on the counter or under the sink. Since it is unlikely that you are going to drop everything and do a load of wash, prepare a bucket of soapy water and drop them in the bucket. Leave them there until laundry day.
3. Replace your kitchen, bathroom, and cleaning towels daily. All towels!
Get into the habit of changing out your towels daily. This not only makes good sense from an odor point of view but will help to prevent germs and viruses that may linger from drying your hands or cleaning your countertops.
4. Run your kitchen sponge through the dishwasher with each load.
This will keep your sponge fresh smelling and the hot water will kill germs. Having two sponges makes this easy because you can alternate them. It goes without saying that you should toss a sponge when it gets too gross to continue using. You can only take frugality so far!
5. Use a diffuser to clean the air.
I own a number of diffusers and have seen the price come down from a norm of $60 or more to as little as $16 or $20. There is simply no excuse not to own a diffuser anymore. Although I prefer to use essential oils in my diffusers (more about that in a moment), you can also use a 50/50 mixture of water and white vinegar or water and rubbing alcohol. Both will clear the air.
6. Dump the garbage
This may seem obvious but speaking from experience, it is the last thing I check. Yesterday’s scraps can produce quite an odor, especially in the heat.
What Not To Do
Whatever you do, forget about those sickly sweet smelling room sprays you buy at the supermarket. All they do is perfume the air; they do nothing to get rid of odors.
I have also seen a number of articles promoting adding a few drops of essential oils to a bottle of water and using this spray to sweeten the air in your home. More power to you if this works but I think it is a waste of your oils. It has never worked for me.
Essential Oil Blends
Everyone has their own favorites when it comes to using a blend of essential oils in a diffuser. Indeed, I have a favorite for sleep and another for focus while working. In terms of clearing the air, however, my favorite is a blend that to the best of my knowledge is no longer available. It is called Healthy Home and although they no longer offer it in their product line, my friends at Spark Naturals were kind enough to share the recipe with me.
DIY Healthy Home Diffuser Blend
2 drops Melaleuca (also known as Tea Tree)
2 drops Rosemary
2 drops Lemon
1 drop Lavender
All 8 drops can be added to your diffuser when you want to purify the air in your home. If you are happy with the results, I suggest that you premix the oils and keep them ready to go in a repurposed EO bottle. I made up a mixture that included 20 drops each of Melaleuca, Rosemary, and Lemon plus 10 drops of Lavender. This filled a 5ML bottle about halfway.
There are many other blends you can come up with to accomplish the same results. Sometimes I use a thieves-like blend (Spark Naturals Shield is one example) but depending on my mood at the time, find it can be a bit overpowering.
- 2 drops Melaleuca also known as Tea Tree
- 2 drops Rosemary
- 2 drops Lemon
- 1 drop Lavender
Add all 8 drops to your diffuser.
If you are happy with the results, I suggest that you premix the oils and keep them ready to go in a repurposed EO bottle. I made up a mixture that included 20 drops each of Melaleuca, Rosemary, and Lemon plus 10 drops of Lavender. This filled a 5ML bottle about halfway.
My Favorite Diffusers
As I mentioned, diffusers have come down in price these past few years. In addition, I believe the technology used to mass produce them has improved. Whereas my earlier units died after a year or so, I have not had a failure in quite some time.
A Word About Essential Oils
I prefer essential oils from Spark Naturals, an online company based in Utah. They are not the cheapest nor are they the most expensive, but they have a quality product I trust and some fantastic sales. You can purchase them directly from their website and also on Amazon.com where they have their own branded store.
Another brand of essential oils I have used is NOW Foods. This bargain brand works great in DIY cleaners. Feel free to experiment and always let your nose guide you. If your essential oil smells like paint thinner, return it. Good oils smell nice.
Note: For direct purchases from Spark Naturals, Strategic Living readers get a 10% discount using this link and discount code “gayelevy” at checkout. I am definitely a "Spark Girl"!
Summing it All Up
Interesting enough, this sort of thing rarely happened while living in Washington state where the moderate climate meant windows could remain open to bring in fresh air 24/7. Not so much here in Arizona where an open window means you are spending money to air condition the outdoors. And yes, I turned off the AC today so I could flood my home with fresh air.
Before closing, I want to thank those of you that have followed me to the Strategic Living blog. Although I do not post very often, I am still passionate about sharing my thoughts about living a joyful and healthy life. You are appreciated.