All the Sneaky Places Odors are Hiding in Your Home, and How to Get Rid of Them Forever
Quick question: does your home smell as lovely as it looks?
Unless you’re a florist, probably not.
We put a lot of effort into making our homes look gorgeous and inviting, but we usually forget to clean the places that odors like to live.
But it’s not just forgetting to clean your waste bin that’s leading to bad smells in your kitchen. Changes in the weather, pets, kids, spouses, and friends drag stinky smells into your home every day.
And the best way to eliminate those odors isn’t to mask them with an expensive, environmentally unsafe air freshener, it’s to seek out the cause of those smells and remove them.
Convinced that it’s time to deodorize your home? Here’s how to eliminate all of the hidden odors in every room in your home.
Before you read, though, stock up on some baking soda.
You’ll thank us later.
How to Get Rid of Living Room Odors/Smells
They’re cute, they’re fluffy, and they love bringing musty, damp, rotten odors into your homes.
Pets are great, but the smells they carry with them aren’t.
Most pet smells accumulate in the corners of our living rooms on our pet’s beds, and getting rid of them isn't as easy as throwing the bed cover into the washing machine.
The two best ways to eliminate pet bed odors are:
The Baking Soda Method
Remove the cover from your pet’s bed and sprinkle both the bed and the cover with baking soda.
Wait an hour, then vacuum up the soda.
Flip the bed and cover over and repeat on the other side.
The baking soda will lift the smells off the bed without damaging it.
The Vinegar Method
If after you’ve tried the baking soda method, your pet bed still smells, move on to the vinegar method.
Put a half a cup of white vinegar into the fabric softener compartment of your washing machine.
Then put some detergent in the detergent compartment, and wash the bed on a hot wash cycle.
All those sneaky pet odors will be gone...until next week, anyways.
Sofas & Couches
Couches and sofas are the pet beds of the human world in that they’re comfy and they soak up bad smells like a sponge.
Over time, we get used to our furniture’s odors, so you might not even realize that your sofa smells like a toxic waste plant until you invite a friend over who is, “Totally fine sitting on the floor! Really, totally fine!”.
Luckily, the same baking soda trick you used for your pet beds will work for your couch. Simply sift some baking soda onto your couch with a fine mesh sieve, wait a few hours, and vacuum off the baking soda.
If your couch has removable covers, remove them and sprinkle the pads and covers separately. Remember to do both sides of the pads and covers.
Couch still smelly? Remove the covers, and repeat the vinegar method as you did with your pet beds.
Then, next time your friend comes over, smile when they ask you if you just got a new couch.
The great thing about hardwood floors is that they don’t absorb smells.
The terrible thing about hardwood floors is that we almost always cover them with carpets and rugs that do absorb bad smells.
All types of carpets and rugs absorb odors, so it’s a good idea to use a carpet cleaner every few months to keep the smells at bay.
But if you’re regularly cleaning your carpets and they still smell, it’s time to employ the - you guessed it - baking soda method (are you sensing a theme yet?).
Baking soda is a powerhouse at removing bad smells and works for most fabric materials.
So grab a new box of baking soda from your pantry, sprinkle your carpet, turn on To All the Boys for your ten thousandth rewatch, and vacuum up the baking soda when the movie’s finished.
How to Get Rid of Kitchen Odors
If you dare (we don’t) walk over to your kitchen sink and take a whiff.
Surprised by the smell? You shouldn’t be.
We send hundreds of different food products down our kitchen sinks: last night’s garlic pasta sauce, the oil from a can of tuna, leftover that have turned. It’s no wonder our drains are a breeding ground for bad smells.
A professional grade drain cleaner will eliminate the smell, but drain cleaners are expensive, and you won’t use them often enough to justify the purchase.
Instead, mix two parts multi-surface cleaner with one part - wait for it - baking soda!
Mix well then pour the mixture down the drain.
The soda and cleaner will cling to any bacteria or food particles in your drain and disintegrate them.
Trash & Recycling Bins
More often than not, it’s not your actual trash that’s smelling up your kitchen, it’s the waste bin itself.
To clean your trash bin, put your bin in the shower and give it a rinse.
Then take your favorite bathroom cleaner (whatever you use to clean your toilet) and give it a good scrub, then rinse out the soap. Leave the bin to dry.
Finally, once the bin is completely dry, spray your waste bin with a disinfecting spray and leave it to dry again.
You’ve come home from a long day at work, changed into your comfy clothes, and opened the fridge to find some gorgeous vegetables that smell...rotten?
Most of us aren’t cleaning our fridges as often as we should, so our refrigerators stink up our leftovers and brand new groceries.
Of course, you should be removing all of the items from your fridge and doing a regular clean out, but you should also leave a semi-open box of baking soda in your fridge at all times.
The baking soda will absorb and eliminate the bad smells.
Just make sure to replace the box every three months. Otherwise, those bad odors will seep back into your fridge.
Running the dishwasher is the same thing as cleaning the dishwasher, right?
Your dishwasher needs once monthly cleanings to help keep your silverware, plates, and platters squeaky clean.
You can use a dishwasher cleaning tablet or a mixture of one part dish soap and one part vinegar to clean your dishwasher.
Run your dishwasher on its longest cycle on the high heat setting to make sure the mixture gets out all the gunk, especially if you’re someone who’s not a fan of rinsing your dishes before they go in the dishwasher.
We use our microwaves more than we like to admit (hello, midnight pizza pockets), and we leave behind hundreds of not great smells in a very tiny space.
To combat microwave odors, first, wipe out any bits of food from your microwave.
Then place a microwave safe bowl with 4 cups of water and 4 lemon halves in the microwave. Run the microwave on high for four minutes.
The acid in the lemon will remove any tough bits of stuck-on food and any nasty smells.
After the microwave is done, wipe it out again with a damp kitchen towel.
Obviously, you should sanitize your cutting boards on the regular.
But if you’re like us and love onions and garlic (puttanesca sauce all day, every day), regular wipe downs might not be enough.
To freshen up your plastic cutting boards, simply run them in the dishwasher.
For wooden cutting boards, cut a lemon in half then dip it in salt and scrub down all sides of the board (not just the top side that you use to cut your avocados on).
Then rinse the board in cold water and apply a coating of wood oil. If you don’t apply the wood oil, your board will dry out and develop cracks.
How to Get Rid of Bedroom Odors
Just like your pets, your mattress has seen some things.
But if there’s one object in our homes that’s we’re always forgetting to deodorize, it’s our mattresses.
You sleep on your mattress every night, bringing your odors with you, so you probably don’t even realize how smelly it’s become.
For a quick fix, spray your mattress with a fabric freshener when you change your sheets.
To combat more “worn in” mattress smells, sprinkle your mattress with baking soda, let it sit for a couple of hours, then vacuum it up using your vacuum’s brush attachment.
Just make sure you close the door to your bedroom so that any small animals (toddlers included) don’t find their way onto your new “snow-covered” mattress while you’re deodorizing.
We’re fans of neatness here at ThreeMain.
We like a good Pinterest-perfect pantry, folded throws artfully placed on armchairs, and a closed tight closet door.
If you can’t see the mess, it doesn’t exist, right?
Unfortunately, closing your closet door is the worst possible thing you can do. Closing closet doors traps moisture - and smells - in very small spaces.
But if you’re anything like us and not willing to leave your closet doors open all the time, the best way to combat smells is to invest in a good closet dehumidifier that will absorb the moisture from the air, prevent your clothes from feeling damp, and keep bad smells at bay.
If your clothes in your closet smell musty, grab a few tea bags - preferably something strong with chai or cloves - and hang them on a rail in your closet.
The tea bags will absorb the bad odors and expel nice new ones into your clothes.
How to Get Rid of Bathroom Odors
For whatever reason, our washing machine never seems to eliminate all of the odors in our towels entirely
If your towels smell musty after you wash them, throw in a cup of baking soda the next time you wash them.
The soda will give your detergent extra odor-absorbing benefits that will make your towels smell extra fresh.
Pro tip: if your toilet bowl looks dirty between cleans, that means you aren’t cleaning your toilet bowl often enough. According to the experts, you should never see any signs of use in your toilet if you’re trying to keep germs at bay.
If you aren’t cleaning your toilet as often as you should, or if you are and it still smells, pour a ½ cup of hydrogen peroxide into your toilet water, let it sit for a half hour, then flush.
After you flush, spray down your entire toilet (not just the seat!) with a disinfecting spray and wipe it down with a damp kitchen towel.
We don’t realize it, but one of the most germ-infested areas of our homes is our toilet roll.
We touch our toilet rolls with...less than clean hands every time we go to our bathroom. Then we replace the toilet paper without thinking to wash our hands after we do so.
So next time you clean your bathroom, make sure you use a disinfecting spray on your toilet roll to leave your bathroom smelling fresher than ever.
This isn’t so much a sneaky smelly place as a blatantly obvious one that needs to be addressed.
There’s no escaping it: our toilet brushes are some of the grossest objects in our home.
To clean it, grab a bucket, and fill it with water, then add a half a cup of baking soda, put in the brush and “stir.”
Then let the brush sit for a few hours before rinsing out the bucket and rinsing the brush. After rinsing, leave your brush in the tub to dry.
Your nose will thank you.
The fight against stinky smells is neverending, but hopefully, with these tips, your home can smell fresher than ever.
Looking for some more general cleaning advice? Read our expert guide on How to Clean Your Home and on Ways to Keep Your Child's Room Smelling Fresh.
Have a deodorizing tip you’d love to share? Tell us about it in the comments!