The nose knows (or so they say), but olfactory glands can be unreliable. We tend to notice bad odors in other people's homes but not our own. These three scents-ible steps will help banish unpleasant smells from cooking, soiled carpet and upholstery, mildew, pets and more.
1. Eliminate the stinkers. Use all-natural cleaners: vinegar, plain soap, baking soda, citrus oils, borax. Keep a box of baking soda in each room and replace monthly. In addition, follow a regular cleaning routine:
• Vacuum or mop weekly.
• Launder bedspreads every few months. Wash pillows at least once a year.
• Professionally clean upholstery, rugs and drapes annually.
• Pour boiling water down drains weekly to keep them clear.
• Locate pet items (cat litter, food bowls, beds) in out-of-the-way rooms or niches-and keep them super-clean.
2. Improve ventilation. Opening a window or door circulates odors out of living areas and dries damp places. Change the furnace/air conditioning filter monthly, and employ kitchen and bath-vent fans. Air purifiers have received mixed reviews in their ability to reduce pollutants, allergens and dust. If you do invest in one, choose a model with a fan that doesn't produce ozone levels above 0.05 parts per million (ppm), as recommended by the American Lung Association.
3. Infuse the area with pleasant aromas. Try these all-natural alternatives to conventional air fresheners, which spray out chemical perfumes that can irritate your nose and lungs.
• Bake goodies.
• Put cut flowers, herbs or an evergreen bough in a vase.
• Simmer cloves, cinnamon or cider on the stove.
• Make lemonade or slice an orange.
• Hang laundry in the sun to dry.