Making Your Home Smell Nice | Anyclean

updated: 23/10/2023


Most of us spend a lot of time making sure that our home looks beautiful – surfaces dust- and grime-free, stainless steel sparkling, white ware and bathroom surfaces gleaming and pristine white. And so we should. But we should not neglect pleasing our senses other than sight when cleaning and tidying up our house.

Modern households are full of a range of unpleasant smells. While the average household no longer reeks of animal manure and the like, as was the case in days gone by, our noses can be assaulted by a range of modern stenches. While there isn’t much we can do about the neighbour’s coal smoke or the fumes from a busy road nearby, we can do something about the other smells in the house.

Common sources of unpleasant smells in the house include cigarette fumes, coal smoke, cooking smells, dogs and chemical smells (and, as you all have guessed, smells from the toilet). The first step in making your home attractive to the nose as well as to the eye is eliminating these olfactory offenders. Quit smoking – you know it’s horrifically bad for you. Change from burning coal to a using wood as fuel for the fire – wood smoke is a less unpleasant smell (some people even like it in small amounts) and the ash absorbs unpleasant smells, besides the fact that burning wood encourages the growing of managed wood lots, which is better in the larger scale of things regarding carbon emissions and greenhouse gases.

As far as possible, try to eliminate strong-smelling chemicals. The worst offenders here are home cleaners, especially those based on chlorine or ammonia, which emit toxic fumes (the fumes are especially toxic if chlorine and ammonia are combined – never do this). Old fashioned cleaning products such as baking soda, vinegar, soap and basic detergent give off fewer fumes. What’s more, baking soda is something of an odour-eater and absorbs strong smells, especially inside the refrigerator. Disinfectant is a mid-range offender. While it doesn’t smell unpleasant, too much around the house is reminiscent of hospitals and other medical establishments and doesn’t make for a nice homely atmosphere, so use disinfectant only where necessary.

You probably don’t want to eliminate your beloved dog, and it is impossible to give up cooking or using the toilet if you want to stay alive and healthy. Also, even if you don’t smoke, you may own a house or furniture that was previously owned by a smoker and still contains traces of the smoke (this writer owns a second hand sofa once owned by a smoker. Three years on, you can still detect tobacco in it if it gets warm). In this case, you have to take positive action to prevent unpleasant smells.

Fresh air is the first way to eliminate all these smells. Opening windows and using an extractor fan in the kitchen or in the bathroom eliminates the majority of stale or damp odours, besides helping damp areas dry out. Most cooking smells are quite pleasant when fresh (think how delicious roast mutton smells) but if they linger, the smell turns stale. Keep fresh air flowing through the house while cooking and afterwards to let the vapours disperse. Fresh air also works wonders in toilets.

Most people use an air freshener in the toilet. If, for some reason, you do not use one (for example, if you’re sensitive to the chemicals in air freshener), then lighting and burning a single match after using the toilet covers and absorbs any stink.

To eliminate doggy smells in the house, wash your dog regularly. If possible, make sure your dog does not sleep on the furniture and, if possible, sleeps outside. Regular vacuuming will help eliminate most of the doggy odour that comes with shed hairs and skin particles.

But you also want to make sure your house has a positively pleasant smell to it rather than bland, scentless neutrality. You can choose from many ways of putting a positively pleasant smell into the house. Traditional methods such as pot pourri and fresh flowers are lovely, as are using incense sticks, scented candles and aromatic oil burners. Aromatic oils can be used in other ways than just in a burner. Putting a few drops of aromatic oil on the filter or dust bag of a vacuum cleaner means that as you vacuum, the fragrance is released through the house. A little aromatic oil can also be used to make your own scented drawer liners from plain kitchen towels or even photocopier paper. Dab a little on a cold light bulb: when the light is switched on, the glass will heat up and release the scent. However, when it comes to aromatic oils, the rule “you get what you pay for” applies. Natural aromatherapy oils are best of all, but very good quality synthetics are also an attractive choice. Cheap oils are usually cloying and rather nasty.

When scenting your home, don’t overdo it. Too much scent in the air is overbearing and can cause headaches. Keep house scents light for the best effect.

About the author 

Nick Vassilev

Nick blogs about cleaning. He is a cleaning expert with more than 25 years of experience. He is also an NCCA-certified carpet cleaner. Founder and CEO of Anyclean.