5 Ways to Eliminate Smells Instead of Just Covering Them Up

Eliminate smells for that natural home smell
Personalized Comfort
Air fresheners temporarily mask bad smells, but eliminating the underlying cause of the odor is the real goal — a goal that can be attained naturally and with minimal use of chemicals.
Even homes that are meticulously cleaned can be plagued by foul, lingering odors. Air fresheners temporarily mask bad smells, but eliminating the underlying cause of the odor is the real goal — a goal that can be attained naturally and with minimal use of chemicals.
  1. Keep drains and garbage disposals fresh: Organic food waste, like the kind that gets trapped in garbage disposals, rots quickly — especially when subjected to moisture — and emanates foul, lingering odors. An easy fix is to keep a bag of chopped-up lemons and limes in the fridge and toss a few chunks in the garbage disposal every few runs. Periodically pour a cup of white vinegar down the drain, let it sit for a half hour, and then rinse. Vinegar has an acrid, noxious smell, but it's only temporary, and its high acidity will kill burgeoning bacteria and other odor-causing elements quickly, cheaply and naturally. 

  2. Make drunk air freshener: The key to air freshener is vodka, which isn't in the stuff they sell in stores. It evaporates quickly and absorbs odors. Mix one part cheap vodka with three parts water and add a dozen or so drops of your favorite essential oil, such as lavender or eucalyptus. Keep little spray bottles (they can be decorative to match your motif) in places like the kitchen and bathroom.

  3. Kill the source — and then make it coffee: Removing the source of the odor is the first and most important step to eliminate smells. This could be as simple as taking out the garbage or something as involved as fixing bad plumbing. Once the source of the odor is gone, put coffee grinds in a bowl with the windows shut overnight. The next day, throw out the coffee grinds. 

  4. Freshen the refrigerator and freezer: Place an open container of baking soda in the center of the back wall of both the refrigerator and freezer. Write down when you put it in and change it every three months. Some brands even sell baking soda containers with special openings just for this purpose. Next, soak a small cotton pad with vanilla extract and place it in the freezer for an effective, natural deodorizer. For the refrigerator, soak a cotton pad in a mixture of half water and half white vinegar.

  5. Air conditioning and filtration: Finally, invest in a ductless air-filtration system with a multi-stage filter that traps particulate matter as well as impurities on the microbial level. Many household odors are the result of airborne contaminants that can only be eliminated through deodorizing filters that use natural substances such as catechin or enzymes to attack odor molecules. Some systems incorporate nanotechnology to trap contaminants on the atomic level. Systems like these continuously circulate air so — in addition to filtration — the homeowner gets constant circulation, which eliminates stagnant air and the buildup of moisture.
Several common household items — most notably baking soda and white vinegar — contain powerful properties that eliminate smells without the use of chemicals. But less-commonly known products like coffee and vodka can do wonders when it comes to eliminating — not covering — bad smells. Eliminate the source, get creative with what you have and consider investing in mechanical ventilation and filtration system that works to fight smells 24 hours a day.

This article and its content are sponsored by Mitsubishi Electric US Inc., Cooling & Heating Division. 

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