How to Make Your House Smell Good (And Four Reasons It Doesn’t)

You don’t have to light a candle or spray an air freshener to make your house smell good all the time. 

Smell is one of the most important senses. It’s tied to emotion and memory, so making your home smell fresh is a worthy goal. But instead of using chemical-laden products to mask smells, try a strategy that eliminates bad odors and incorporates the scents you love.

Here are the best ways to make your home smell good.

The Key to Making a Home Smell Good: Eliminate Bad Odors First

How to Make Your House Smell Good

The secret to a good-smelling home is to eliminate bad odors first. Offensive odors are hard to mask, and if you don’t stop them at their source, your house won’t smell the way you’d like.

There are four primary causes of bad home odors:

  • Pet messes
  • Smoke
  • Stinky drains 
  • Musty smells from high humidity

If you’re dealing with any of these, you can eliminate and prevent them from recurring. Here’s how.

Eliminate Pet Odors with an Enzymatic Cleaner

Urine can seep into any porous surface, emitting a distinct smell. And if you don’t eliminate the odor, chances are, your furry friend will keep using the bathroom in the same spot.

To get rid of odors caused by pet accidents (or slobber), use an enzymatic cleaner. Enzymes eat bacteria, which is what gives urine a pungent smell. You can use an enzymatic cleaner on hard and soft surfaces.

On furniture, like a couch or mattress, spray an enzymatic cleaner over the affected area, and allow it to penetrate. After the cleaner sits for an hour, place a towel over it with a weighted object to wick away excess moisture. 

If your pet has made a mess on a hard surface, clean it up and spray it with an enzymatic cleaner. Let it sit for a minute, then wipe away with a paper towel.

Get Rid of Smoke Smells with Vinegar

Smoke, whether from cigarettes or burnt food, can coat surfaces leaving a long-lasting scent. To eliminate a smoke smell, wipe down walls and other hard surfaces with a mixture of half vinegar and water. The vinegar will remove the caked-on smoke and deodorize the room.

Clean Bad Smelling Drains with Boiling Water

If a drain has leftover food remnants, hair, or rarely gets used, it can release hydrogen sulfide gas, which smells like rotten eggs.

The best way to rid a drain of the rotten egg smell is with a mixture of baking soda, vinegar, and boiling water. 

Here’s what to do:

  • Dump a large pot of boiling water down the drain
  • Allow the drain to cool, and add one cup of baking soda
  • Dump one cup of white distilled vinegar over the baking soda
  • Allow the baking soda and vinegar to fizz for 10 minutes
  • Dump an additional pot of boiling water down the drain

Doing this once per month will keep your sinks from stinking.

Use a Dehumidifier to Cut Down on Musty Smells

Homes with damp basements often emit a musty smell that travels through the house. To get rid of this smell, you’ll need a dehumidifier.

Placing a dehumidifier in a damp basement pulls moisture from the air, reducing foul odors and lowering the chance of mold and mildew. You can also open basement windows to let fresh air circulate through the space.

According to the EPA, if you have a musty smell in your home, you should look for signs of mold growth. If there’s mold in your home, you can clean and remove it as long as it’s smaller than 10 square feet.

To clean the mold and kill mold spores, wash the surface area with a mixture of three parts white distilled vinegar and one part water.

The Best Natural Methods to Make Your Home Smell Good 

Once you’ve eliminated the source of bad odors, use natural methods to make your house smell fresh. 

Create a Stovetop Potpourri

A stovetop potpourri is a pot of boiling water with fresh, fragrant ingredients. It can emit a strong scent that will waft through your home, making the whole house smell good.

To make a stovetop potpourri, add ingredients and water to a pot and bring it to a boil. After it begins to boil, reduce the pot to a simmer, adding water as needed.

Some common stovetop potpourri ingredients you can mix and match:

  • Lemon, lime, orange, or grapefruit slices
  • Vanilla extract
  • Cinnamon sticks
  • Rosemary
  • Cranberries
  • Cloves
  • Nutmeg
  • Ginger

Use an Essential Oil Diffuser 

If you love candles but want to replace them with a natural-based fragrance, diffusers are a top alternative. Essential oil diffusers release a scented mist into the air.

There are many styles of essential oil diffusers to match your decor. But, they all work the same – fill them with water and add a few drops of your favorite smelling oil.

Place Odor Absorbers Around Pet Beds, Litter Boxes, and Basements

Place odor absorbers in problem areas near litter boxes, pet beds, and basements. You can use baking soda, bags of charcoal, bowls of vinegar, or store-bought odor-absorbing gels to keep your home smelling fresh.

Create a Room Mist

Looking to replace a store-bought air freshener with something natural? Make your own room mist. 

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A small spray bottle
  • Your favorite essential oil
  • Witch hazel
  • Water

Place 20-30 drops of your favorite essential oil in the bottle – you can use one oil or combine scents for a custom room spray. Then, fill half the bottle with witch hazel and the remaining space with distilled water.

You can spray the solution in the air like a store-bought air freshener.

Bake Vanilla Extract

If you love the smell of vanilla, fill your home with the scent by using it in a stovetop potpourri or baking it in the oven. 

For a baked vanilla scent, fill a baking dish with an inch of water. Then, add a teaspoon of vanilla. Bake the mixture on low heat for an hour. Check the baking dish every 15 minutes to ensure the water hasn’t evaporated. (Add water if needed.)

Open Your Windows

Nothing can replace the smell of fresh air. Whenever the weather permits, open up windows to let fresh air circulate through your home.

Add Flowers or Herbs to Your Home

A sweet-smelling bouquet will liven up a room and make it smell better. But, if you want something long-lasting, consider growing herbs on a windowsill. Some of the best-smelling herbs include mint, lavender, lemon balm, rosemary, and chamomile.

Use a Good Smelling Daily Cleaner

One of my favorite ways to make a house smell good is with a scented cleaner. If you want a strong-scented cleaner that’s not overpowering, consider Mrs. Meyers. Try Method or Better Life products if you want a product with “green” ingredients.

Find a cleaner you love and use it daily to wipe down your kitchen countertops and other high-traffic areas.

Create a Cleaning Schedule 

A vital step to a fresh-smelling house is to wash dishes, take out the trash, and clean the bathroom. A few minutes spent each day on basic tasks will keep your home clean and manageable.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

Do candles make a room smell good?

If you love scented candles, use them. They’ll waft through the home, making it smell good. Consider beeswax or soy candles with essential oils if you’re sensitive to artificial fragrances.

How to make a room smell good fast?

Make your room smell good fast by removing trash, opening the windows for ventilation, and using an essential oil diffuser, room spray, or candle to add a pleasant smell.

Will an air purifier make my house smell better?

An air purifier can make your house smell better by pulling contaminants out of the air. Air purifiers are also beneficial in eliminating smoke and musty smells from a room.

What’s the cheapest way to make your house smell good?

The cheapest way to make your house smell good is to create a stovetop potpourri. You can simmer citrus fruit, spices, cinnamon, or vanilla extract. Rather than buying special ingredients, make a recipe using what you have.

Final Thoughts

You spend a lot of time in your home and should enjoy it and the way it smells. But before you buy products that promise to make your home smell better, eliminate bad odors. Then, start incorporating natural scents into your home. 

Remember to air out your home on warm days and create a signature scent with a stovetop potpourri, essential oils, or your favorite cleaner.