How To: Get Rid of Pesky Home Odors

updated May 9, 2019
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(Image credit: Bethany Nauert)

We were going on day six (no, that’s not a typo!) of living with the horrific lingering smell of burnt popcorn. The usual drills of opening the windows, spraying air freshener, and lighting candles seemed to have little lasting effect, so it came time to do some research. Here’s a roundup of the helpful tried and true advice that restored our home’s air quality to breezy good health…

1. Vinegar.

-Scrub down the culprit surface—in our case, the microwave— with pure white vinegar (use kitchen gloves as the acid can be hard on the skin). After wiping down the surface, don’t dry up the excess vinegar, let it evaporate on its own. A few hours later, do a rinse with warm soapy water.

-Combine 1/2 vinegar and 1/2 water in an empty spray bottle and spray it as a natural air freshener.

2. Lemons.

-Quarter 3 lemons and boil them in water on the stove or in the microwave for 3-5 minutes. Then let the lemon water sit on the stovetop or in the microwave for a few hours.

-If you have a garbage disposal, putting the quartered lemons in and letting them grind for a minute will help eliminate drain odors in the kitchen.

3. Baking Soda.

-Pour a few inches of baking soda into shallow bowls and leave them uncovered around the odorous rooms of the house for a few days. Baking soda is great for absorbing the smells, but it doesn’t happen instantly.

-Combine with vinegar and use it in lieu of soapy water to scrub down particularly odorous surfaces.

4. Fabric Softener/ Dryer Sheets (we like Method’s eco-friendly version)

-Attach them with tape over air vents. It will spread a continual laundry fresh scent around the home.

-Place a couple in shoes when you take them off, in clothes drawers, and in the bottom of trash cans. They have a surprisingly strong odor that lasts quite a while. And who doesn’t like the smell of clean laundry?