Getting Rid Of Unpleasant Odors In Your Home
Few things can be more embarrassing to a well-meaning homemaker than unpleasant odors around the house. A foul smelling garbage disposal or ripe garbage pail can make even the most inviting of homes a less desirable place to be.
Unpleasant odors are often associated with poor housekeeping. While this may sometimes be the case, foul odors can inhabit even the tidiest of homes. Bacteria is a prime source of most household odors. Decomposing food, pet feces and dampness caused by poor ventilation are top producers of odor-causing bacteria.
Ironically, most unpleasant odors can be eliminated using a few common household products. Baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice, rubbing alcohol and cat litter can do more to freshen the air within then a battery of caustic cleaning products.
One fundamental element in preventing unpleasant odors from returning is to eliminate the source. Be careful about what you throw into the garbage pail. Empty food cans should be thoroughly rinsed before they are tossed into the trash. Fruit and vegetable peels should be fully ground in the garbage disposal or placed in a compost pile. Never put wet garbage into household trash.
Another effective means of keeping a house smelling fresh is with lots of ventilation – fresh air. It isn’t enough to open a window now and then. Open closet doors and dresser drawers regularly. Never place damp clothing into a closet or dresser drawer.
Aside from its primary use for our feline friends, cat litter is an especially effective odor-eater throughout the house. Its clay composition give it “magnet-like” properties when it comes to absorbing foul odors. For example, freshen a musty trunk by pouring cat litter into a large, uncovered coffee can. Place the can into the trunk and close the trunk lid. In most cases the odor will be gone overnight.
Cat litter can also eliminate odors in garbage bins. Simply sprinkle a couple of inches of the cat litter into the bottom of the can. Replenish the cat litter each time that the can is dumped.
And, believe it or not, cat litter acts as an excellent absorbent for foul odors in the refrigerator. There’s just something about cat litter in the refrigerator that leaves a bad taste in one’s mouth. No pun intended.
If you feel the same way about cat litter in the frig as do we, consider baking soda. Place a small dish or bowl filled with baking soda on one of the refrigerator shelves. It works just as well in the freezer. Baking soda has lots of other odor-eliminating uses. Remove odors and spills inside the refrigerator or freezer using a cloth wrung out in a solution of 2 tablespoons of baking soda in one quart of warm water.
Baking soda in combination with table salt, vinegar and boiling water acts as a environmentally-friendly drain cleaner/odor eliminator. Pour one cup of table salt, one cup of baking soda, one cup of white vinegar along with two quarts or boiling water into a drain. We suggest that you do this at bedtime in order to allow the solution to remain in the P trap and drain overnight. Perform this little routine about once each month for clog-free, fresh smelling drains.
Spruce up a smelly garbage disposal by grinding cut up sections of oranges, lemons or grapefruit while flushing the unit with warm water. Another safe method of cleaning the garbage disposal is by using ice cubes made of vinegar and water. Pour one cup of vinegar into an empty ice cube try. Fill the balance of the tray with water and freeze. Grind the vinegar cubes in the disposal. The vinegar acts as a cleaning agent while the ice sharpens the blades.
One of the least pleasant and most difficult household odors comes from pet urine. Urine, more than any other odor, has a tendency to permeate an entire home. Urine soaked carpet should be professionally cleaned. Severe cases may require carpet and pad replacement. Concrete or wood flooring below the carpet and pad should be sterilized with a solution of one cup of bleach in one gallon of hot water. If the odor persists, the area should be sealed with a coat or two of shellac.
White vinegar works especially well on concrete that has been tainted by urine. Scrub the area using a solution consisting of one half white vinegar and one half warm water. Or put undiluted denatured alcohol in a spray bottle and spray the floor thoroughly.
White vinegar can also be used to get rid of strong cooking odors. Place a pan of white vinegar on the stove and let it simmer.
To remove fish, garlic and onion odors, wash utensils, pans cutting boards and your hands in lemon juice.
Nothing can sour a good novel more than that musty smell that frequently accompanies vintage books. To rid books of musty odor, store them in a paper bag filled with crumpled newspaper. The newspaper will absorb the smell. Repeat this several times with fresh newspaper.