Your Home Stinks

How to eliminate odors in your home

For Sellers, decluttering and staging a home are both incredibly important to presenting it in a flattering way, but it’s also important to make sure potential buyers don’t stop at the front door because of an unpleasant smell.

stinkWe all have walked into homes that have the strong stench of something undefinable, whether it’s from pets, bad food or strong cooking smells, clogged drains or fresh paint. Our first instinct is to walk right back out or hold our noses until we can politely do so.

What are some ways to make sure your house doesn’t fall victim to these easy to fix problems? Below are some great tips to try.

Pet Smells

You can either spray enzyme cleaner on the spot and make sure the carpet is soaked through the pad before you blot dry. Better yet, if the smells are truly widespread, consider removing and replacing the entire carpet.

You can also try Odorzout – a dry product that you sprinkle on the affected area, to absorb the odor, and then you vacuum it up

Bad Food or Cooking Smells

Make sure you run the oven fan while cooking or open the windows, if the weather isn’t too cold outside. Bag trash and take it outside immediately so it doesn’t linger in the house – consider scented trash bags that also cover any odors. 

Boil two cups of water, add two or three tablespoons of baking soda, and toss in a lemon peel. As a preventative measure while cooking, burn an all-natural soy candle, like Fresh Wave. 

You can also set a shallow bowl filled with white vinegar or coffee grounds on the counter to absorb smells overnight. 

For the garbage can itself – remove the offending trash, then place one tablespoon of coffee, a few cloves, and one tablespoon of baking soda in the center of a coffee filter. Close with a twist tie to make a sachet, and put it at the bottom of the can to eliminate unpleasant odors.

Clogged drains

Sometimes food can get stuck in drains and the smell can waft its way out. If you have a garbage disposal, cut up some lemon slices and run warm water as you throw the slices down the disposal and run it for about a minute. Ice mixed with rock salt, vinegar or mouthwash also works.

Fresh paint

Cut an onion in half and leave the halves on plates on opposite of the room you’re painting – when done, wrap them up and throw them away outside.

In the Fridge

An open box of baking soda is a go-to trick to maintain a fresh smell. But if you’ve got food that’s gone bad or spoiled-milk or meat-juice spills on a shelf, put a spray attachment into a bottle of hydrogen peroxide, spray down your shelves, then wipe.

The Royal Throne

For that ring around the toilet, make a scrub that’s one cup of baking soda, one cup of borax, and one cup of salt. For a scented scrub, add a few drops of essential oil. 

For really bad bowl stains, turn off the water supply and drain the toilet, then add the scrub so that it can sit on the stain undiluted.

Funky Basement

If your basement smells like mildew, it’s probably damp, so run a dehumidifier. 

Mix a few drops of tea-tree oil — a natural killer of mold spores — with either rubbing alcohol or inexpensive vodka and spray on anything that smells musty. The alcohol evaporates quickly, leaving the tea-tree oil to neutralize the odor. 

This can also be used elsewhere in your home.


Pour white vinegar over a hand towel and walk around your house swinging it in the air – this should help eliminate the smell with no chemicals.

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Charles McDonald
Charles McDonald
Charlottesville Solutions
2013 Woodbrook Court, Charlottesville VA 22901
REALTOR® - Licensed to sell Real Estate in Virginia
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