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  5. 7 Days to a Fresher-Smelling Home
  • 7 Days to a Fresher-Smelling Home

    Keep odors at bay with this room-by-room cleaning guide.

    A fresher-smelling home A fresher-smelling home A fresher-smelling home

    Sprays, diffusers, candles, plug-ins, absorbers—store shelves are loaded with all kinds of odor-fighting products that merely mask icky household smells in a small area. To truly eliminate bad odors, you’ve got to knock them out at the source. Where to begin? We’ve got your game plan. This seven-day, room-by-room approach will help you ready, aim and conquer!

    • Day 1: Kitchen

      Pungent foods, stagnant drains and full garbage cans can all lead to a kitchen that smells anything but fresh and pleasant. Here’s how to stop kitchen smells in their tracks:

      • Always run your stove's vent hood when cooking. No kitchen ventilation? Create your own by pushing cooking smells out the window with a fan.
      • Stinky garbage disposal? Toss a couple of lemon wedges into the disposal's empty resevoir, run as usual and enjoy the fresh, citrusy scent.
      • Eliminate noxious trash smeels by sprinkling about a cup of baking soda in empty cans. Let the soda sit for 15 minutes to absorb odors, then dump it out before replacing the can with a fresh garbage bag.
      • Replace your regular furnace filter with a Filtrete™ Odor Reduction Filter, which is designed to help reduce odors from cooking, pets, smoke, mildew and cleaning chemicals.
    • Day 2: Bathroom

      The moist, warm environment of the bathroom makes it a prime breeding ground for mold and mildew—and we all know that moldy bathrooms are smelly bathrooms.

      • Run your bathroom exhaust fan while you're in the shower and for at least 20 minutes afterward to clear out the moisture buildup that attracts mold and mildew.
      • Scrub away existing mold and mildew immediately. An alternative to harsh cleaners is to scrub the affected area with a mild bleach solution (four parts water/one part bleach).
    • Day 3: Bedroom

      Your bedroom should be the most relaxing room in your home—and that includes making sure it smells like a soothing sanctuary. Try these simple steps to keep offensive odors from disrupting your serenity:

      • Air out shoes for a few hours before putting them back in the closet. To get rid of lingering odors in a pair of shoes, sprinkle a tablespoon of odor-absorbing baking powder in each shoe and let it sit until the next time you wear them.
      • Share your bedroom with a furry friend? Dog beds are dander and odor magnets. Reduce both by choosing a pet bed with a removable liner that can be washed once or twice a month to keep it clean and cozy.
    • Day 4: Basement:

      Underground, moisture-rich basements are notoriously musty and may even become breeding grounds for health-hazardous mold and mildew. Fortunately, it’s possible to freshen up even the darkest, dankest basement.

      • Pull mildew-causing moisture out of the air with a 50- to 70-pint basement dehumidifier.
      • Banish basement mold spores. They can circulate throughout the whole house when carried by your heating and cooling system. Filtrete™ Healthy Living Filters can pull in and trap mold spores and other unwanted particles, allowing cleaner air to flow through.
    • Day 5: Garage

      Its primary job is to house your vehicles—but your garage may also be home to a host of nasty and potentially dangerous odors and toxins. Here’s how you can make your garage safer and nicer-smelling.

      • Put only bagged garbage in your garbage to reduce the ability of leaky containers and exposed food scraps to create foul odors in the can and surrounding area. Also, every few months, dump a few cups of baking soda in empty garbage cans. You’ll be amazed at how much better they’ll smell.
      • Be sure all household chemicals are fully sealed and properly stored in their original containers to prevent unhealthy fumes from escaping into the air. The EPA advises homeowners to call their local environmental, health or solid waste agency for instructions on proper use and disposal of household hazardous waste materials.
      • If your garage is also your family’s sports-storage center, try storing equipment (gym bags, athletic shoes, helmets, etc.) to allow for maximum air circulation. Coated wire bins, shelves and hooks give plenty of airflow around your gear to prevent smelly odors caused by dust, moisture and sweat.
    • Day 6: Family Room

      Family rooms are all about relaxing and having fun together—and that can mean the occasional spills and messes. Here’s how to keep this family-focused room as fresh as possible:

      • When stains happen, ditch the harsh chemicals and heavy fragrances contained in many stain- and odor fighting solutions. An effective, odorless alternative is plain water. Blot the spill with paper towels, spray it with cold water (or club soda for red stains) and blot it again with paper towels. Repeat as needed until the stain is gone.
      • Vacuum family room carpets and rugs several times a week to prevent dust, food particles, pet hair and general accumulation from being ground into the carpet and creating a stale smell in the room.
    • Day 7: Laundry Room

      When dirty, damp laundry piles up, bad smells are soon to follow. Here are three easy tips for keeping this hard-working room clean and pleasant:

      • Hampers can start to smell ripe fast, but baking soda will neutralize odors till you’re able to throw clothing in the washing machine. Fill sachets with baking soda and toss them in the bottom of each hamper.
      • To prevent the moist conditions that can give your washing machine—and your clothing—a sour smell, leave the washer door open for a couple of hours after your last load to let the barrel dry completely.
      • If you keep a cat box in the laundry room, sift the used litter and add fresh litter on a daily basis. It will keep cat box odors to a minimum—and your kitty will thank you!