If you are considering putting your house up for sale or already have your home for sale it is very important to get rid of a smelly house and any unpleasant odors that may turn away potential buyers. A clean and fresh smelling home creates a neutral palette for buyers and can often bet the difference between a quick sale and no sale.

Today I’ll spend some time discussing common household odors, tips to remove household odors as well as share some common household odors and sources you may not think of.

10 Ways to Eliminate Household Odors

I use many of these household deodorizers in my own home and found some new ideas at Why not try to eliminate household odors naturally with some of these common household products?

  1. Vodka: If you have woolens, clothes, carpeting, blankets or even gloves that are getting musty or holding offensive odors, try spritzing the offending odor maker with vodka. It kills bacteria and is odorless. or, rubbing alcohol does the trick just as well and it is relatively inexpensive.
  2. Orange Peel and Juice: Kitchen or bathroom sink odor – Now here is a strange but true solution. For the garberator, drop orange, lemon or grapefruit peelings down the drain with hot running water, grind then rinse. For the bathroom sink, pour ½ cup of orange juice down the drain with hot water – the offensive odor is gone.
  3. Powdered Mustard: Even glass jars can take on the odor of the food stored in them. If you mix 1 tsp dry mustard in 1 quart hot water and soak your glassware in it, the odors vanish
  4. Baking Soda: Not only is baking soda great on eliminating stains and odor in clothing when used in the wash, it is a great way to freshen up your rugs between shampooing. Let the baking soda sit on the carpet before vacuuming for the best effect. It’s great in the refrigerator for eliminating mixed food orders too. Leave small bowls filled with baking soda around the house to absorb any odors that collects.
  5. Fabric Softener Sheets:  Place in each drawer and linen cupboard to keep the fabrics smelling fresh from the dryer until you use them.
  6. Onions: Who would have thought that the stinky onion can actually help with odors. It does. Place a half onion on a plate in your damp basement overnight. In the morning you can toss the onion and enjoy the newfound freshness – it leaves no odor.
  7. Vinegar: Have you ever tried to eliminate household odors with vinegar? We all know vinegar is great for cleaning windows, but did you know that if you place a small bowl of white vinegar on your stove while you cook it absorbs all the funky smells that great spices can leave behind? Rinse with vinegar or spritz with vinegar and most odors evaporate. Scrub your cement floors with vinegar and neutralize unwanted musty smells.
  8. Salt: If you sprinkle salt on the boiled over drippings, it will absorb the burnt smell left behind.
  9. Coffee Grounds: A sock filled with coffee grounds will absorb funny freezer odors.
  10. Soap, Water and Elbow Grease: Wash down your home from top (ceilings) to bottom (floors) and everything in between. Sometimes it is as simple as that.

Where is the smell coming from? Common Household Odors

The first word of advice to anyone preparing their home for sale is to de-personalize and de-clutter. But you should be just as concerned with deodorizing your home. Odors and bad smells can hide in the least thought of places. Odors can collect in anything porous and typically older furniture, lamps and paintings have a distinctive musty odor. If possible consider packing away these older items for later to eliminate unnecessary musty odors in your home during showings.

Here are some other common hiding places for smells in your home that you may not think of.

Old paintings and art. Wipe down old paintings and spritz the backs with a deodorizer. Use only the minimum in your staging, pack and seal the rest for display in their new home.

Curtains. Make sure to remove your curtains and machine washed or spritz with a deodorizer. Paying the extra dollar to have your curtains dry cleaned if needed can be well worth it.

Old shoes and boots can stink. If you have a collection of favourites, my suggestions is to seal that footwear in green garbage bags with a sprinkling of baking soda thrown in for good measure. Keep only that footwear you need while you are selling your home.

Carpets. Especially if your home is older or you have smokers in your home your carpet can be a collection of stale and musty smells. Get rid of smells in the carpet by having your floors professionally shampooed.

Pet beds hold pet odors. Invest in a new bed if the old one has seen better days. If it is newer, keep it clean by washing it weekly. Change kitty litter daily – do not let any pet accident sit – wash and deodorize any doggie accident as quickly as possible. Pack up the pet toys –dogs and cats can have bad breath too and their slobber can linger on the toys.

Walls, ceilings and appliances can hold odor. Clean them thoroughly, use deodorizer in the cleaning solution and wipe down daily. Lemon water boiled in a microwave does wonders for sanitizing and deodorizing its interior – it works in eliminating the odor in an oven too.

Pillows. If you can wash your pillows, then do it. Pillows hold onto all of your personal odors from your sweat and skin exfoliation – it is worth it to wash your pillows frequently, and replace those you use daily when your house goes on the market. Store your extra pillows in plastic sealable bags – you can buy Ziploc bags with a vacuum adapter built in. These are great space savers and by vacuuming the air out much of the lingering odors are sucked away.

Get Rid of Smells in the Kitchen

Don’t let last night’s curry, garlic or fish turn away buyers! Try burning a neural candle, leave your hood fan running the night before a showing or even bake a batch of chocolate chip cookies to make the kitchen an inviting place in your home. After all, the kitchen is usually the most important room in the house.

Aim for a Neutral Odor in Your Home During Staging

You have heard it on the decorating shows to keep your decorating neutral, well, the same holds true for the odors that linger in your home. Use cleaning products with the least perfume. Do not try to cover up an offensive odor with perfume deodorizers, potpourri or candles. Clean it then use a neutralizing deodorizer. If you crave pretty scents, fresh cut flowers work wonders, so does fresh baking, and fresh laundering.

As an experienced real estate agent in Surrey and White Rock I can tell you that many house sales are emotionally driven. Studies show how connected our sense of smell is with our emotions. The smell of a fresh home can be more powerful than any other motivator.

If you are ready to list your White Rock or Surrey home for sale or need help finding the perfect home to buy in the Greater Vancouver neighborhood give me a call at 778-929-4290! At West Coast Estates our real estate agents would love to discuss how we can help you put your home for sale in Surrey or White Rock.

Ryan Taylor

Ryan Taylor Real Estate Agent

Are you still having some questions? Just contact me and I'll be happy to provide answers and professional advice you are looking for.

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