Posted on December 7th, 2020
A house that doesn’t smell clean doesn’t feel clean, even if you’ve scrubbed, rinsed, and polished every surface in it. Unfortunately, unwanted odors are an all-too-common problem, even for the most fastidious housekeepers. In addition to the obvious scents created by cooking, smoking, and pet litter, many homes contain hidden odor sources that are difficult to address. Carpets, walls, and other porous materials can absorb smells over time (this is why many people notice unwanted odors after moving to a new home), and mold contained behind walls and inside ducts is frequently responsible for the “musty” smell present in older homes. For advanced issues like these, you’ll need to consult our professional cleaners in Norman, OK; for less persistent odors, however, the strategies below are usually effective:
6 Ways to Eliminate Odors and Freshen Up Your Home
- Tackle common odor sources first.
Over time, unpleasant odors become more difficult to recognize. This happens because our sense of smell adapts to our environment, allowing our brains to “filter out” persistent odors. Research indicates that this olfactory adaptation helps us recognize unfamiliar (and possibly threatening) smells, like smoke. Unfortunately, it also prevents us from readily identifying the sources of a stale smell in the home.
Your first step in freshening up your home should therefore be addressing common odor sources you may have overlooked: Are you changing pet litter and cleaning pet beds or cages often enough? Do you have a large kitchen garbage can that’s typically full to bursting? Are there other odor sources in your home, such as indoor smokers or diaper pails?
As well as regularly cleaning up after any pets you have, we recommend washing your garbage can with bleach at least once a month and placing some kitty litter in the bottom of it to absorb odors. Whenever possible, you should also move odor sources outside. Using small garbage cans inside, then emptying them into a larger garbage pail outside (or in your garage), can freshen up a home immensely. Similarly, smoking outside is the only way to completely prevent smoke-related odors and staining.
- Clean out your fridge.
Most of us have experienced the pungent odor emitted by moldy food at one point or another. However, even if you’re disciplined about tossing out old leftovers, your fridge can still be a source of sour smells. Keeping condiments past their expiry date, for example, can cause the oils in them to become rancid. (While some condiments remain shelf-stable for a year or longer, fatty items like salad dressing and mayonnaise should be thrown away three months after opening.)
At least once per month, empty out your fridge and throw away any items that are past their expiry date. Then, remove the shelves and drawers and soak them in hot, soapy water (this will remove leftover residues from liquid spills, which are another common source of fridge odors). Then, wipe down the interior of the fridge with white vinegar and water before reassembling and refilling it.
- Deep-clean your home twice a year.
Dust build-up, like hidden mold, can cause musty odors. To keep your home dust-free, give it a deep clean at least twice per year, in addition to doing weekly maintenance cleaning. Deep cleaning addresses hard-to-reach areas that would otherwise provide an undisturbed space for dust to accumulate.
- Flush your drains once a month.
Over time, food particles, hair, soap residue, and grease gradually build up in your home’s pipes. Because pipes provide a warm, moist environment that’s perfect for bacteria growth, it doesn’t take long for this gunk to start producing nasty smells.
To stop pipe odors backing up into your home, flush your drains at least once per month. To do this, you can either pour a commercial drain cleaner down them, or use baking soda and white vinegar to make a more eco-friendly solution: Mix half a cup of baking soda with two tablespoons of salt and pour it down the drain. Follow this with a cup of warm white vinegar. Let the mixture foam for at least 15 minutes, then rinse with hot tap water for about 30 seconds.
- Vacuum with baking soda.
When it comes to removing odors, baking soda is one of nature’s miracles: This organic mineral compound absorbs unwanted smells effectively without emitting toxins or creating residues, making it safe for use in homes with kids or pets. It’s also inexpensive and readily available at most grocery stores.
To keep your indoor air smelling fresh, use a colander to sprinkle baking soda evenly over carpeted surfaces and upholstery throughout your home. Let the baking soda sit for at least two hours (for stubborn odors and grease marks, overnight treatment is best), then vacuum as you normally would.
- Place odor absorbers in closets and laundry baskets.
Dirty laundry and worn shoes are unavoidable – but that doesn’t mean you have to live with the way they smell. Placing odor-absorbent dryer sheets in your closets and laundry baskets is a discreet and effective solution for odors in these spaces. Replace the sheets once every three to four months to maintain a fresh scent.
Why Should You Hire an Oklahoma City Cleaning Service for Stubborn Odors?
When basic odor-banishing strategies don’t work, we advise against experimenting with harsh cleaners or over-using scented products as a last resort. Strong cleaning solutions aren’t safe for use around kids and pets, and they may damage surfaces in your home. Scented products, when not used in moderation, have been proven to degrade indoor air quality, potentially leading to respiratory health issues. Instead, the best way to deal with persistent odors is to hire the team at Happy Cleans to properly diagnose and treat them. Our affordable cleaners in Oklahoma have the experience needed to identify the sources of hidden odors, and our professional cleaning equipment can quickly and safely lift unwanted smells from your walls, carpets, and upholstery – leaving you with the fresh-smelling home of your dreams. Ready to get started? Book an appointment with us today.