How to Neutralize Odor in Your Home

Sometimes, even when you’ve taken out the trash, washed your yoga clothes, and cleaned your kitchen, there are odors that linger. Maybe you’ve just become accustomed to them, or perhaps the problem is more severe, like pet dander or last night’s dinner. Either way, bad smells can be hard to get rid of. But don’t despair—with a little chemistry and some elbow grease, you can neutralize odor in your home and leave the air smelling clean and fresh again.

First, find the source. For grasses that seem to come and go, like those caused by smoke or old food, it’s important to find the source and remove the source from the house. You may need to take out the garbage, clean a spill or soiled item, or repaint walls and ceilings to get rid of the problem odor.

After you’ve done some detective work to find and address the odor source, it’s time to deodorize the rest of your home. Odor neutralizers, like coffee grounds, vinegar, baking soda, and oats, can absorb and eliminate unwanted smells from the air. Leaving bowls of these natural odor eliminators throughout the house can help keep your place smelling fresh.

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Tobacco smoke odor is particularly tough to banish, but you can make your home smell better by opening windows and using cleaning products with ammonia and glycol (two ingredients that neutralize odors). For odor-causing fabrics, try rubbing them with baking soda or putting open boxes in the fridge, under sinks, and between the garbage can and the bag. A spritz of Febreze Unstoppables Touch Fabric Spray ($7, Walmart) will also deodorize carpets and furniture and leave a pleasant scent behind.

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