Homes trap all kinds of smells: last night’s salmon dinner, dirty gym clothes in the laundry basket, the cat’s litter box, and more. When it comes to ensuring the home looks, feels and smells clean, 64 percent of homeowners have even gone to extreme measures to rid their homes of pungent odors, such as replacing a rug or carpet (34 percent), purchasing a new trash can (26 percent), or replacing a couch or another piece of furniture (17 percent), according to a survey commissioned by Filtrete Filters from 3M.
But if you’ve become accustomed to the scents of your own home, how can you really know if it’s odor free? Healthy living expert, Building Biologist and author Lisa Beres shares these simple solutions to naturally create and maintain a fresh home:
Kitchen refrigerator: Remove foul odors and stains from leftovers in the fridge by cleaning the drawers and shelves with a homemade cleaning solution. Simply add a few drops of natural dish soap to a bowl of baking soda and stir until it creates a thick paste. In addition, store an open box of baking soda inside the fridge to help eliminate odors before they start. Replace it with a fresh box at least every three months.
Candles and air fresheners: Store-bought air fresheners can contain synthetic chemicals, such as formaldehyde, which can irritate eyes, skin and throats, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Instead, create your own air freshener by combining 10 drops of an essential oil (such as lavender or eucalyptus) with two cups of water.
Pests and repellants: Pesky ants and other insects can make their way into your kitchen pantry when they’re on a mission to find food, but dousing them and your kitchen’s surfaces in toxic repellent isn’t a healthy solution for the home or the family. Instead, set a line of coffee grounds, lemon juice, cinnamon or cayenne pepper around doors and windows to create an effective barrier they won’t cross.
Cooking: Help prevent unappealing cooking odors, such as fish, from spreading and lingering throughout the home by upgrading to the Filtrete Odor Reduction Filter. It helps remove odors and gases from the air passing through the filter and helps keep the home fresh for families and houseguests. Synthetic air fresheners, candles and incense only provide temporary relief from odors by masking them in one particular room, but will do nothing to remove the odors from the entire home.
Damp towels: Wet towels from a shower or a trip to the gym can be a breeding ground for mildew to develop if they sit too long without drying. To rid towels of the mildew smell, first wash them once in hot water with a cup or two of white vinegar. Then wash them again with a natural or eco-friendly laundry detergent. Finally, dry the towels in the dryer on high heat. To avoid mildew and associated smells in the future, hang towels up right away to ensure they dry thoroughly.