Sometimes no matter how much you clean your house, it still smells funny. You take out the trash and wash the dishes, but it doesn’t smell clean. Maybe not bad, but definitely not the light, fresh smell you were hoping for. Does this ever happen to you? It definitely has for me. So if you have the same problem, I’ve decided to share my tips for getting that fresh smelling house you so desire.
1. Open some windows.
This is the one that I like the best because sometimes no matter how much you clean, the inside air is just stale. Opening the windows and doors allows all the outside air to flow through and get some fresh air in the house. Bonus points if you can open windows or doors across the house from each other- this helps create a cross-breeze that can blow through the house and freshen up the air in minutes. If it’s the middle of summer and it’s 105 outside, maybe try opening the windows in the early morning for just a few minutes. Heaven knows it’s like that here in Texas. Or if it’s winter, try opening them for just a minute or two- just enough to let the clean, crisp air blow through without tanking your heating bill.
2. Clean the floors.
If you have carpets, vacuum them really well. I love using scented baking soda to help clean the carpets- you just sprinkle it on the rug and let it sit for 15 or so minutes, then vacuum it up and everything smells wonderful and clean! The scented baking soda for carpets is usually found in the same aisle as the laundry detergent. Or you can mix a cup of regular baking soda with a few drops of your favorite essential oils for a customized scent and a more natural cleaning solution.
If you have tile or hardwood, mop the floors with Pine-Sol or another cleaner. I confess, I’m not a fan of mopping. I always save it for last… and then conveniently forget about it until hubby gets home! (There are some cleaning tasks I enjoy doing, but mopping isn’t one of them.) But every time hubby mops the house it always smells super clean and fresh within minutes!
3. Clean the kitchen sink with baking soda and a lemon.
I am embarrassed to admit it, but sometimes I clean the whole kitchen and it still smells funny. Because of the sink! (Please tell me I’m not the only one with this problem!) The kitchen sink is probably one of the most used and potentially grimy spots in the house. If the sink smells clean, that’s a big step to the whole kitchen smelling clean and fresh!
To clean the sink, first sprinkle baking soda in your slightly damp sink and let it sit for a few minutes. (If the sink is too wet the baking soda will dissolve and won’t have the rough texture for scrubbing.) After letting it sit to work its magic, scrub the sink with a sponge for a few minutes, then rinse the baking soda down the sink.
Next, cut a lemon in half or into wedges and “scrub” the sink with the lemon, cut side down. The acidity of the lemon helps clean the sink and break down stains, as well as make it smell citrusy and fresh! Just a side note, I don’t do this every day. More like once a week or when it really needs it!
4. Put a dish of vinegar water or baking soda out for half an hour.
Believe it or not, these solutions help soak up whatever odors are lingering in the air. It’s wonderful! You can try mixing a cup of water with 1/4 cup of vinegar, or just sprinkle some baking soda in a dish and leave it on a windowsill or a dresser for half an hour. The longer you leave it out, the longer it has to clean the odors and the more effective it is (within reasonable time limits, of course). Some places I’ve read suggest leaving it out indefinitely and just refilling it every week, but we have cats. So that won’t work.
5. Light a candle.
If you know me, then you were probably expecting this tip from the beginning. I love candles! Light a nicely scented candle and everything will smell better in no time! Candles scented like fresh flowers or clean linen do wonders for making a room smell fresh.
6. Make a homemade air freshener.
Air fresheners are one of the easiest ways to make your house smell clean. You can make your own air freshener by combining a cup of water, 2 tablespoons of rubbing alcohol (or vodka), and a few drops of your favorite essential oil in a glass spray bottle. (Glass is recommended because some oils are acidic and have a corroding effect on plastic bottles.) The alcohol is to help the water and essential oils blend together, otherwise you’ll be spraying plain water everywhere while the oils float on top of the water in the bottle! Some of my favorites are lavender (15-20 drops) or a mix of tea tree, lemon, and eucalyptus (4, 8, and 6 drops).
7. Put scented soap in your drawers.
This one might seem kind of weird, but a friend gave me several bars of homemade goatsmilk soap scented with herbs and essential oils. They even have cute names like “Starry Night” and I liked the bars so much that I couldn’t actually use them! (That doesn’t happen very often by the way. Normally I think things you don’t use are kind of a waste). I put them in my t-shirt drawer instead and everything smells wonderful and fresh! Not the whole room, just my clothes.
8. Bring in a houseplant.
Green things circulate the air and make fresh air. Plus they look pretty. Get yourself a houseplant. 🙂 Okay, so this tip might be a little more of a long term solution, but effective for freshening the air in your home! My love for houseplants is almost as great as my love for candles. You see the little ivy plants a lot in my home because I think the vines are fun! …and because those seem to be best at not dying on me. Yeah, I’m still working on my green thumb.
9. Use aromatherapy on your house.
Another super easy way to make your house smell clean quickly is to put nice smells in the air. You can put a few drops of essential oils in a diffuser and simply turn it on. You will have a fresh smelling house in minutes! Not to mention diffusing essential oils can have health benefits too. Some of my favorites are lemon for the kitchen, or lavender and orange for the living room or bedrooms.
Or you could make your own aromatherapy concoction in the kitchen with some fruits and spices and a pot of boiling water. A few slices of lemon and sprigs of rosemary are great for a fresh scent, or try oranges and cinnamon for a more seasonal, homey smell.
10. Hang fresh herbs.
Fresh herbs smell so wonderful, and there are so many ways to use them! You can tie a bunch of cut herbs together and hang them in a room, or leave them as they are and put them in flower vases to decorate the house. Even growing a pot of fresh herbs makes a room smell fresh. I was growing several pots of herbs in my kitchen and every time I passed through I would get a whiff of sweet freshness. It took me a few days to figure out that it was the smell of my sweet basil and mint!
If all else fails, bake cookies. I’ve perfected the art of the chocolate chip cookie, and that definitely always makes the house smell heavenly! (Brownies, however, are an entirely different story. My hubby, Josh, is always amazed that I manage to make every single batch completely different from the previous ones. I’m gonna keep trying though!)
So there you have it. Do you do any of these things? Are any of them new to you? List your favorite tips for making a clean smelling house in the comments below. I would love to hear them!