Sometimes we don't even know our house has a less than pleasant odor coming from it because we are there all the time. Maybe when you leave the house and return, it may hit you like a wave and you begin to search for it's culprit. Here are six things I have found that can leave your house smelling less like delicious baked goods or sweet smelling flowers and more like getting a whiff from a garbage truck--along with 6 tips on how to make and keep it it smelling fresh.
Laundry that sits and sits can leave a room smelling awful, especially if there are wet items left in the pile. Wet clothes start off with a mildew smell that is hard to remove once it forms. If it continues to sit much longer, that mildew turns to mold. You don't want moldy laundry stinking up your laundry room, or any other room in the house.
Tip: Lay wet clothes, towels, and wash clothes over the bathtub or laundry tub to dry before tossing them in the dirty laundry.
The dirt that accumulates in the carpet and put off a dull, stale smell in the home. It won't be a strong, in-your-face-smell like mildew, but it certainly isn't pleasant. This happens when we fail to vacuum on a regular basis and/or we don't wash our carpets with a carpet cleaner, once or twice a year.
Tip: Dust a sprinkling of baking soda on your carpet after you vacuum up the dirt. Let it sit for about 2 hours, and then vacuum. This is something you can do if you're on your way out to run errands. The baking soda will help absorb the smell without adding chemicals into the air or your carpet. Once you vacuum up the baking powder, your're left with cleaner smelling carpets and fresher smelling air.
Dishes left in the sink day after day (even if you're filling the dishwasher, but leaving certain ones behind), can smell up your kitchen. Food gets old and smelly very quickly. Sometimes we forget about cups with a little milk left in the bottom. We'll leave the house and notice when we come home when a wave of rotten milk hits our nose. That's like the worst thing to walk into (except maybe rotten baby formula!)
Tip: Gather all dirty dishes from around the house every evening. If something doesn't fit in the dishwasher and it has food stuck on it, scrub it off while it's still easy. At that point, you may as well just hand wash it and put it away.
Can someone say gross? I don't think I need to go into much detail here. A bathroom not cleaned regularly (read: daily) will quickly begin to smell all kinds of disgusting.
Tip: Wipe down surfaces and toilets daily. It only takes a few minutes. Then you don't need to worry about buying those smelly plugins to cover up the smelly bathroom.
Leaving your stove to clean another day, especially if you have a gas stove, can reek up the house. Gas stoves always have the pilot lit, thus baking on whatever food is left behind. The smell can be an awful, burning stench. Then it's a pain to scrub off.
Tip: Wipe things as they spill whenever possible. At the very latest, wipe the stove down right after dinner. Keep the kitchen smelling fresh by eliminating the odors, rather than covering them up.
Un-emptied Garbage Cans.
Forgetting to empty the garbage cans, even the little ones in bedrooms or bathrooms, can result in unpleasant smells. We don't always remember what we throw into these cans, nor we do know what our children throw in them!
Tip: Empty garbage cans daily. Take them straight outside.
A Few Finishing Touches
A delicious smelling candle.
I love food scents, such as hazelnut cream, and I enjoy candles more in the fall and winter months.
Fresh cut flowers.
Lilies are my absolute favorite and I love having them mixed in with a spring or summer bouquet on my kitchen table.
Baked Goods and The Crockpot
Chocolate chip cookies. Fresh baked bread. A winter roast. Mmmm mmmm mm! Need I say more?
What other tips can you offer to keep our homes smelling fresh and clean?