How to banish household odours
HAVE certain areas of your home been smelling a little funny lately? Here are the most common household offenders and how to eliminate them.
Cigarette smoke in upholstery The smell of cigarettes lingers in carpets and furniture fibres long after the smoke clears. Sprinkle baking soda over the offending surface, let it sit for several hours, and clean it up with a water-filtration vacuum, which traps small particles. If the odour lingers, take a day to deep clean your carpet or upholstery. To get rid of this smoky odour for good, take pre-emptive measures — ban smoking inside the house.
Smelly garbage After a while, even throwing out the garbage every day isn’t enough to eliminate the odour of rotten perishables as the smell clings onto the bin itself. Toss away whatever is in your garbage and give the bin a good scrubbing inside and out, using a disinfectant cleaner.
If you’d rather use natural methods, clean the bin with your favourite eco-friendly cleaner and then deodorise it by spraying it with white vinegar. Let it sit for a few minutes, then wipe clean. If your bin requires desperate measures, take it outside, spray it down with detergent and rinse thoroughly.
To prevent odours in the future, clean your bin at least once a month and consider switching to garbage bags that block odour from seeping out. Put perishable items into a smaller sealable plastic bag before tossing them out, and take the garbage out frequently.
Refrigerator odour Baking soda is the best defense when it comes to fridge odours. But if you still sense that something’s awry, try doubling up with activated charcoal. Routinely check your fridge for expired or spoiled food, and give the interior a good wipe down with soap and water every week or so.
Coffee pot odour The smell of freshly brewed coffee may be inviting, but the lingering after effect it leaves behind is a wake-up call that your coffee pot needs cleaning. Fill the pot with one part white vinegar to two parts water, then pour this solution into your water reservoir and turn the coffee maker on. If you have a reusable mesh filter, leave it in, but otherwise you don’t need a filter.
Let the vinegar go through an entire cycle in the coffee pot. You may want to open a window to dissipate the scent of vinegar (it will eventually die down). Once the solution is done brewing, pour it out, let the coffee maker cool and repeat the process. Then do two brews of water only. Lastly, wash your pot with dish soap and rinse it well with water.
Pet smells Air out your furniture if you can - putting it in the sun for a bit may help zap some of the smells naturally. Then vacuum it carefully using a water-filtration vacuum or a HEPA filter which is designed to trap small particles. You may also need a cleaning product like Nature’s Miracle, which is designed to remove pet odours.
Dishwasher odour Can’t figure out where that kitchen odour stems from? Check your dishwasher as past dinner odours tend to cling to this appliance. Run the machine while it’s empty, using two cups of white vinegar instead of detergent. In the future, be extra vigilant about scraping off food before loading dishes into the machine, especially if you know that they’ll be sitting there for a while.
Musty mildew in the bathroom Mildew thrives in moist environments like bathrooms and basements. The best solution is to open all the windows on a dry day and run a dehumidifier. Use the exhaust fan or an oscillating fan to circulate the air. Remove damp towels, rugs and shower curtains, and run them through the laundry. The best (albeit not the most pleasant) way to eradicate that mildew smell is to mix equal parts bleach and water, and spray down your bathroom tiles. Be sure to wear protective gloves and a dust mask while doing this. Prevent mildew build-up by drying off the stall after every shower.
Musty drawers There are simple yet efficient ways to remedy a musty drawer. sprinkle baking soda into your drawer and let it sit for at least a few hours (or a few days, if you can). Then vacuum it up. If odour still lingers, pop in a potpourri sachet. Home-dzine.