In many homes, odors emanate from kitchens, laundry, pets, dirty carpets, bathrooms, and garbage. And in most cases, they can be dealt with some simple home remedies.
Here are some helpful tips from all of us at EH Clean on how to remove the worst odors that are found customarily in the average American home.
1) General Odors
Use your nose to determine where the pungent smell is coming from. Once you find the item that is causing the odor, clean it with hot soapy water, using an antibacterial cleaner or detergent like Dawn dish soap.
After cleaning, fill a bowl with 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup white vinegar and go over the surface you just cleaned to disinfect the area. Once the area is completely clean, open the windows to let the clean air in.
Note: Some surfaces should not be touched by vinegar such as marble and natural stone surfaces. Vinegar is acid and could etch and dull the surface.
You can follow all this up with a nice homey smell like oranges and cinnamon. Take two tablespoons of cinnamon and some orange peels and simmer them gently in 4 cups of water. This fresh scent will permeate throughout your house.
2) Smoke Odors
Smoke can be tough to get rid of depending on the buildup and frequency of exposure. There's a lot to be said about opening the window to let some fresh air circulate through a room.
For general freshening, sprinkle baking soda over the carpets and let sit overnight, vacuum in the morning.
Fill a nylon stocking with cat liter to absorb odors. Place discretely behind the TV, furniture, etc. If the buildup is heavy, a heavy duty cleaning of carpets, furniture and wall washing might be necessary. Tar and nicotine gets stuck on surfaces like walls. To clean and deodorize walls and cupboards, use ammonia. Ammonia can burn if you get it in your eyes so wear protective eyewear and gloves. Ammonia also has a strong odor, so open windows when you have a lot of cleaning to do. You may also have to wash draperies, furniture and carpets.
For peace of mind - get your smoker to go outdoors!
3) Pet Urine Odors
If you smell it but don't know where it's coming from, you’ll need to follow your nose or find the target area with a black light. Body fluids and certain vitamins contain phosphorus. Black lights emit an ultraviolet light that makes phosphorus glow.
Turn out the lights and close the curtains to block out as much overhead light as possible. Shine the black light over the carpet and any biological material will come to light, highlighting the area where your pet urinated.
Blot with white paper towels until you've gotten as much liquid out as possible. Do not rub - you don't want to spread the stain.
Liberally apply (not too wet though) a 50/50 mixture of white vinegar and water. Let sit a few minutes then use clean towels or more paper towels to soak up the liquid.
Cover with a clean towel until dry to keep dirty feet, pets, and kids off the spot.
If there is any odor remaining after cleaning, generously sprinkle baking soda over the spot and work into the carpet with your fingers. Let sit several hours then vacuum.
As we talked about in Removing Smoke Odors above, ammonia is good for some odors but do not use it to clean urine stains. Your pet's urine breaks down into the same components as ammonia. If you clean with ammonia, your pet will come back to pee there over and over again!
4) Carpet Odors
Why can your carpet smell?
If you have pets they may have had an accident on your carpet as we discussed above. Your pets can also bring in wetness, dirt and other debris when coming in from outside.
Other causes of carpet odors may be from spilled food or beverages that may not have been cleaned or not cleaned thoroughly.
It's possible your carpet is old and is causing a musty odor.
Carpets or carpet fibers seem to hold on to odors and linger for days. One of the first things you can do (and yes, I've mentioned this before) is to open some windows to air out the room and give it a good vacuuming. All little fresh air never hurt anyone and it's great for battling odors.
Vacuuming on a regular basis can do wonders too. Don't forget to change your vacuum cleaner bag, a full dirty bag can cause dusty, musty odors. If you have a bagless vacuum, clean the dirt chamber often.
5) Refrigerator Odors
For odors in your refrigerator, it may be as simple as going through the contents and removing old and smelly foods. That being said - if the old or expired food items or spills haven't been cleaned up and have been in the fridge for a long period of time - you may need to take everything out and give it a good cleaning.
Mix together 1/4 cup baking soda to 4 cups of warm water.
After throwing out the old items, remove the rest of the remaining items and clean the sides, shelves, and drawers. Wipe down when finished. Reload the refrigerator and leave an open box of baking soda in your clean refrigerator. By doing this, you’ll ensure that your refrigerator stays fresh-smelling.
At European House Cleaning, also known as EH Clean, you know that you are going to get amazing results every time. As a local, woman-owned, residential and commercial cleaning company located in the San Francisco East Bay, we get rave reviews from people who have been working with us for decades.
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How to remove odors
Pet Urine Odors
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Simple home remedies
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