We’ve all been there: You’ve scrubbed, polished, wiped, and swept your home from top to bottom, but an unpleasant smell lingers in the air despite your best efforts. Before you reach for the nearest air freshener or scented candle, it’s important to do some detective work to get to the root of the bad odour in your home. In some cases, unwanted smells are linked to the presence of health hazards, such as bacteria, mold, or mildew. Likewise, the overuse of scented products comes with its own risks. Research indicates that a single scented product can contain upwards of 300 chemicals, some of which are linked to respiratory problems, migraines, and other chronic health issues.
For most people, the easiest way to get rid of unwanted odours is to hire a professional cleaner to deep-clean their home. During a deep clean, our Milwaukee maids thoroughly scrub, sanitize, and vacuum all of the hard-to-reach places where odours typically hide. Beyond that, using the five strategies outlined below can keep your home smelling amazing in between visits from your cleaning service.
5 Ways to Eliminate Bad Odors and Make Your Home Smell Great
1. Control dampness.
According to experts, excess moisture is the leading cause of unpleasant household odours. Indoor humidity levels above 60% create ideal conditions for mold, mildew, and bacteria growth, all of which produce foul, musty odours as a result of natural “off-gassing.” (As mold and bacteria grow and spread, they emit strong-smelling microbial volatile organic compounds that are often noticeable even in the absence of visible mold stains.)
In addition to quickly repairing roof and plumbing leaks, it’s a good idea to install dehumidifiers in areas of the home that are typically exposed to chronic dampness, such as the bathroom, basement, and attic. Note, however, that while dehumidifiers prevent mold from growing, they can’t kill mold that’s already present. If you notice visible mold stains anywhere in your home, call a professional cleaner to help you safely remove them.
2. Create a schedule for cleaning litter boxes, pet beds, garbage cans, and other high-odor items.
The longer we spend around specific smells, the less we tend to notice them. This change occurs due to a process known as “sensory adaptation,” where our brains learn to filter out familiar smells to more effectively identify new odours. In our evolutionary past, this ability helped us identify potential threats in our environment (e.g., the scent of a nearby predator or fire). Today, however, it limits our ability to precisely locate unpleasant odours emanating from things we live with on a day-to-day basis, like garbage cans and litter boxes.
To prevent these overlooked smells from taking over your home, learn how often you should clean the various high-odour items you use each day. Then, attach a calendar to the fridge outlining what needs to be cleaned, and when. As a general rule, we recommend emptying garbage cans at least once a week, cleaning your garbage disposal every two weeks, and washing out your garbage cans once a month. If you have pets, try to scoop litter boxes daily, wash pet beds once a week, and clean litter boxes once every two weeks.
3. Don’t leave dirty laundry lying around.
Anyone who has ever smelled a dirty sock knows that unwashed clothes can be a potent odour source. To stop dirty clothes from detracting from your home’s freshness, make sure everyone in your family deposits their worn clothing in a laundry basket. (I.e., ensure dirty clothing doesn’t get thrown on the floor, stuffed into the back of the closet, or tucked under the bed.) This step will prevent smelly clothes from being deposited in hard-to-find places around the home. Then, set aside one day of the week to do laundry together as a family.
4. Use natural scents to make your home feel welcoming.
Using chemical perfumes and air fresheners isn’t the only way to enjoy your favorite scents. In many cases, natural compounds, such as essential oils, are just as effective when it comes to making your home smell like lavender, spices, or citrus. These oils can be added to DIY candles to provide a safer alternative to conventional scented candles, or they can be dispersed throughout your home with the aid of diffusers.
Alternatively, you can try simmering a mix of water, citrus peels, and spices on the stove for several hours when you want your home to smell cozy and inviting.
5. Place odor absorbers in strategic areas.
No matter how often we clean our homes, there will always be dark, poorly ventilated areas – like closets and cupboards – that are susceptible to developing unwanted odours. Fortunately, placing small satchels of activated charcoal in these areas provides an inexpensive, non-toxic method for controlling stale smells. Activated charcoal has a negative ionic charge that attracts and traps odour particles, thereby effectively neutralizing them.
To keep your charcoal in good working condition, place the satchels outside in bright sunlight for an hour each month. The UV radiation in sunlight destroys odour-causing bacteria and “reactivates” the charcoal, so it can continue purifying your home’s air.
Need Expert Help Banishing Stubborn Odors? Contact the Team at Better Cleans
Running a home is a lot of work. Between routine cleaning, maintenance, and staying on top of clutter, it’s normal to get overwhelmed sometimes. No matter what’s going on in your life, you should never feel embarrassed to hire a house cleaner – making time for yourself is integral to staying happy, healthy, and productive. Whether you’re struggling to find the source of an unwanted odour or having difficulty staying on top of your weekly chores, our licensed, bonded maids can lighten your workload and help you derive more enjoyment from your home. Contact us today to discuss our affordable domestic cleaning services in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and arrange your first appointment.