As a homeowner and a property manager, I’m well-versed in the fact that homes can sometimes smell strange. At times, these odors may be identified, at others, they remain a mystery. There are few things worse in life than living (or showing) a bad-smelling property. Especially when you can’t nail down the root of the problem. Lucky for you, I’ve compiled a list of my go-to odor-improving tips to help you get your house smelling back to its normal scent.

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  1. Air it Out

It may seem obvious, but sometimes, old houses simply need a good airing out. For many households, homes may be shut up all year round. Before central air was invented and installed in the majority of households, homes relied on air flow from open windows. Take a nod to the past and let your house air out for a day or two. Open the windows, turn on a fan or two, and see if the odor is lifted naturally.

  1. Enlist the Help of Food!

One of the best go-to secrets at removing odors from the home is to heat a ¼ cup of cinnamon and 1 cup of water on the stove. Cinnamon is incredibly potent and works quickly to eliminate any existing smells. Best of all, this strategy will have your house smelling like warm apple pie in no time!

Lemons are also a powerful deodorizer. Make your own cleaning detergent using lemon. And if possible, send your used lemon slices and peels down the garbage disposal. As they’re minced to a pulp, they’ll be working overtime to help clean the inner tube of the disposal that’s often hard to reach but quick to develop a funky smell.


  1. Do an Entire House Audit

Sometimes, the bad odors stem from places we don’t typically visit. The basement is a common culprit where small animals or insects can become trapped and die. Take time to explore all of the places in your home that may hide the source of the smell.

While you’re performing your audit, it can be a good idea to take the time to deep clean the rooms. Wash the windows and the curtains. Deep clean the floors and the rugs. Wash blankets, throw rugs, and all towels. Sometimes, the best way to get rid of the odor is to get rid of the dirt!

  1. Fight Mildew the Right Way

If mold or mildew is your culprit, consider taking the steps to remove it from your home. The longer it’s present, the more damage it can do. If you don’t have the resources to remove it completely, or you’re stuck in a rental apartment, try the following methods to mask the smell!

  • Run a dehumidifier to cut down on extra moisture
  • Spray tea-tree oil on surfaces that smell moldy
  • Take time to wipe down areas that are prone to developing mildew, like the bathroom walls

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