There are few things more inviting than a good-smelling home. Unfortunately, some homes contain foul smells that some people might find unsettling. And these foul smells can come from just about anywhere, from pets to mold and everything in-between.
Did you know that these foul smells have something in common? They are all caused by one or more volatilized chemical compounds, also known as VOCs. These compounds are responsible for a variety of smells, which can gradually take over a home.
Volatilized Chemical Compounds and Health Problems
Along with being unpleasant, studies show that certain foul smells can also cause health problems. To help put this into perspective, we need only take a look at a study published by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). According to the research, volatilized chemical compounds, which are responsible for unpleasant smells in many homes, have been linked to the following:
- Respiratory problems
- Eye, nose, and throat irritation
In extreme cases, prolonged exposure to VOCs has been shown to give way to chronic health problems, such as kidney and liver problems. That said, the best way to remove foul smells and to safeguard your health is to rid your home of VOCs.
According to Bart Wolbers, an independent health researcher, freelance medical writer, and founder of Nature Build Health, a company dedicated to investigating the scientific viability of natural health interventions, one way to accomplish such a task would be to invest in activated carbon air filters.
Activated carbon air filters are made from a bed of activated carbon with millions of tiny absorbent pores. It can trap 99.97 percent of small particles 0.3 microns or higher circulating in the air if used in conjunction with HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters. Collectively, these filters can go a long way toward ridding your home of foul odors, not to mention allergy-causing bacteria.
Additional Ways to Clean up the Air in Your Home
Before foul smells start to linger in the air, they first start in specific areas of the home. From there, they pass through your HVAC system and then spread from room to room.
While activated carbon filters can absorb airborne odors, it is also a good idea to get into the root of your home’s odor problem. Some of the things that can contribute to a home’s poor air quality are:
- Kitchen and bathroom drains
- Garbage disposals
- Wet or damp clothing
- Mold growth
Ways to Keep Your Home Smelling
Once you’ve identified the cause of the foul-smelling odors in your home, it’s time to find out how to get rid of it and keep your home smelling fresh.
Here are some things you could try:
1. Essential oils
While HEPA and activated carbon filters can neutralize the air in a home, they don’t do much in terms of making it more fragrant. One way to make your home smell more inviting is by using essential oils. That said, consider pouring a drop or two of lemon, lavender, or clove essential oil on your air filter before running your HVAC system. These calming scents can quickly permeate every room in your home, making it smell great in a matter of minutes.
Allowing potpourri to fill the air in your home, much like essential oils, can quickly improve how it smells. For best results, consider simmering lemon with vanilla and rosemary on a stovetop for a few minutes. This combination not only cleans the air but also yields a pleasant smell in the process.
3. Cleaning your garbage disposal
When it comes to your kitchen, keeping your garbage disposal clean can help keep foul smells at bay. Certain foods are especially prone to sticking and eventually rotting on the disposal’s blades.
When this happens, foul odors can start to make their way throughout the home. One way to deodorize and clean your disposal is to pour ice cubes infuse with lemon peels into it and then running if for a few minutes. The lemons help neutralize foul smells. And the naturally abrasive ice removes food stuck on the blades.
4. Cleaning your carpet
If you have a carpeted floor, make sure to vacuum regularly. Doing so helps quickly get rid of allergens and foul smells that can become trapped in carpet fibers. For best results, consider sprinkling baking powder on your carpet before getting started, which will help remove odors even more.
5. Dryer sheets
Generally speaking, it is not the trash itself that can make a home smell. It is the bacteria, such as Salmonella, E. Coli, and Listeria, for example, that can grow on discarded food. Putting dryer sheets in your trash can will help slow the growth of such bacteria and leave your home smelling fresh longer.
Taping dryer sheets to a table or box fan is yet another way to remove foul-smelling air from your home. In short, the combination of dryer sheets and a fan works like a diffuser, pulling in foul air and pushing out fresh air in its place.
7. Eucalyptus leaves
Flower pots filled with eucalyptus leaves not only make your home more visually appealing. It also helps remove foul odors. Further, doing so can also provide some health benefits to you and your family.
According to a study published by Medical News Today, the properties in eucalyptus leaves have been shown to reduce inflammation associated with bronchial asthma.
8. Taking off your shoes
Along with limiting the amount of dirt that comes into your home, taking your shoes off and putting them into a shoe closet can keep foot odor from traveling throughout your home. While we are on the topic, spraying them down with a deodorizing air freshener might also be a good idea.
9. Homemade cleaners
Making your own cleaning sprays is a great way to save money and also clean your home. More than that, spraying a fine mist of these homemade cleaners in the air can neutralize foul odors. And they can be made for a fraction of the cost associated with buying the ones sold in stores. To get started, all you need is a sprayer bottle filled with white vinegar, citrus peels, and herbs of your choice. It may also be a good idea to spray some in the trash can and on various surfaces in your bathroom.
10. Turning on your oven
A great way to mask unpleasant smells in your home is by placing some vanilla extract in the oven. For best results, preheat your oven to about 350 degrees, pour 1 or 2 capfuls of your favorite vanilla extract in an oven-safe dish, and bake for about an hour.
To keep foul odors at bay, especially in the bedroom, you should wash sheets, pillowcases, and other bedding at least once per week. After all, they can quickly become soiled with dead skin, body oil, and sweat, all of which result in an unpleasant smell over time.
12. Avoid smoking inside your home
Apart from contributing to a host of health problems, smoking indoors can make your home smell awful. That said, if you’re a smoker, you should smoke outside or perhaps consider quitting altogether.
13. Cleaning up after your pets
Pet dander, not to mention urine and feces, can quickly take a toll on the air quality in your home. To that point, making it a habit to clean up after your pets can go a long way toward keeping your home smelling fresh all the time.
14. Getting rid of expired food
If you have expired food in your home, either in the refrigerator or cupboards, they will eventually start to smell. That said, it is a good idea to periodically check expiration dates and throw away food that has already expired.
15. Washing dishes
Leaving a pile of dirty dishes in the sink is a sure-fire way to boost the stench in your home. Washing your dishes immediately after using them will keep odor-causing bacteria from gathering on them.
Many factors could affect the air quality in a home, some of which can even trigger health problems. Fortunately, you can do something to combat these odor-causing problems. And best of all, they will all go along way toward making your home more inviting for both you and your family.