Tag Archives: cleaning

9 Easy Ways to Make Your Home Smell Amazing

indoor plants

tips to make your home smell great

Maybe company’s coming and you’ve got to get rid of that burnt food smell fast! Maybe you’d like to freshen up a musty room. Or maybe you just want to make your home smell extra good for a relaxing at-home spa day.

Ready to love the way your home smells? These 9 methods are effective and don’t require a lot of work.

First, a quick safety disclaimer: If your home smells like gas, rotten eggs, or anything else that smells toxic, leave the house right away and call your utility company. Here’s more info on what to do.

Now let’s get started!

1. Cook Vanilla Extract

cook vanilla extract

Photo: Bill HR

Believe it or not, you can make your whole home smell delicious for about a day by baking vanilla in the oven! This trick has been around for a while, so there are plenty of ways to do it — you can even substitute a different essential oil if you want. If sweet smells aren’t your favorite, lavender is a great choice.

Here’s how to do it: Lifehacker recommends you pour two caps full of vanilla extract into a coffee cup or oven proof dish. Set the container in the oven and leave it there at 300 degrees for one hour. You should start smelling the difference in about 20 minutes.

If your oven is the cause of the stink in the first place, you might want to try the simmer pot method instead. It’s easy! Just boil your favorite herbs, spices, and fruits in water then reduce heat to a simmer.

2. Scented Candles

You knew this one was coming! Scented candles are popular because they really work. If you’re buying them at the store, take some time to sniff a few candles before you pick your favorite. If you’re ordering them online, my advice is to stick to a good brand like Better Homes and Gardens that reliably makes great smelling candles that don’t have the added unwanted chemical smell.

There are many different ways to get the most out of your scented candles. Here are a few:

  • Pick two compatible scents and light both candles in the same room at once.
  • Invest in candle warmers. They warm candles from the bottom, melting the wax slowly, and can make each candle last longer!
  • Put candles in closets and other enclosed spaces (like your linen closet), but — here’s the trick — don’t light them. They’ll make everything smell great!

3. Open Windows (if it’s not too cold)

Simply opening some windows is a great way to bring in fresh air and usher stinky air out, but just opening windows isn’t always enough. Set up a fan near the window and direct it so that you are blowing air outside. This gets rid of stale air. Fresh air will immediately take its place.

You can also set up window boxes right outside windows you regularly open. Flowers in vases don’t usually last long, but flowers that are planted do! You’ll be able to smell those sweet floral aromas every time you open the window.

4. Indoor Plants

Speaking of natural fragrances, indoor plants are a great way to keep your home smelling fresh. Did you know that indoor plants actually purify the air? Your home won’t just smell cleaner; it will actually be cleaner.

Plus, indoor plants don’t just make you healthier; there’s a lot of evidence they make you happier too. Back in the 80s, NASA came up with a list of air-filtering plants as a way to help keep the air in space stations clean. Another interesting tidbit NASA researchers found? Your best bet is to place at least one plant per 100 square feet of space for the cleanest possible air.

5. Car Deodorizer for the Vents

Who says those little Febreze squares need to stay in the car? You can use them to help make your home smell great too.

All you have to do is clip them onto the metal air vents in your home, the same way you would in the car. This works especially well in relatively enclosed areas, like the bathroom.

6. Clean Your Garbage Disposal

tap kitchen sink

Photo: Kaboompics

This may not be the most fun item on the list, but if your kitchen smells funky, this may just do the trick. Run the disposal to make sure nothing is sitting in there. Then slowly pour in a half cup of baking soda while running warm tap water.

Baking soda is one of the best natural cleaners out there. Here’s another thing you can use it for…

7. Sprinkle Baking Soda on the Carpet

clean carpet

Photo: liquene

Sprinkling anything on your carpet might feel like it goes against your basic instincts, but hear me out. Baking soda is a great natural cleaner. It’s safe, non-toxic, and inexpensive, and it works wonders on a musty carpet. Give this a try:

  1. Sprinkle baking soda all over your carpet.
  2. Let is sit for about 30 minutes or a little longer.
  3. Vacuum thoroughly.

For light-colored carpets that don’t show the powder, you can even leave a light layer of baking soda behind for long-term freshness. If you have a darker carpet, be aware that it might take some time to vacuum up all the baking soda.

8. Make Linen Spray

curtain interior furniture

Photo: Kari Shea

Cleaning upholstery, bedding, blankets, rugs, and carpets can be a hassle. A good linen spray makes the job easier and keeps everything smelling great between cleanings. Plus you can make your own with ingredients you may already have.

Here’s how:

  1. Fill a glass misting bottle or a spray bottle with 50% vodka and 50% water
  2. Add 15 to 30 drops (depending on the size of the bottle) of your favorite essential oil
  3. Shake gently to combine the liquids
  4. Enjoy the amazing scent!

Tip: Experiment with different ratios of ingredients to find what works best for you.

9. Clean with Lemon

Harsh cleaning products like bleach will definitely get the job done, but they don’t always smell the best. Lemon is a great-smelling alternative, especially in the kitchen and bathroom. Here are just a few great ways to clean with lemon:

  • Rub half a lemon on soap scum and hard water stains in the shower.
  • Mix lemon juice and baking soda into a paste and use it to clean the toilet.
  • Use a little lemon and salt to polish copper, brass, and chrome.
  • Microwave lemon and water on high until the mixture is bubbling but not boiling. After this, you’ll be amazed how easily the inside of the microwave wipes clean!

Does Your House Smell Amazing Yet?

I hope this post gave you some ideas for making your home smell wonderful. Remember, your home should be somewhere you love to spend time. Even the most beautifully designed spaces don’t feel like home if you don’t love the smell. For more home tips and design advice, check out the rest of my blog.

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Company’s Coming! How to Clean House Fast

how to clean house fast woman messy room

Did your in-laws text and say they’re only 15 minutes away? Are your relatives paying you a surprise visit? Breathe. You can do this.

The kitchen table may be covered in wrapping paper, and cat fur might blanket the stairs, but all is not lost. These people won’t be doing a white-glove inspection. You just need a few pointers on how to clean house fast. These 8 tips will help you get the house into shape in record time.


1. Determine Your Priorities

Close the doors to bedrooms, closets, laundry room, and anywhere else you can (that’s where you’ll stash stuff until everyone has left). What’s left is probably the living room, kitchen, bathroom, and maybe guest rooms. Maybe a hallway or entryway too. What do visitors see first? Start there.

When focusing on how to clean house fast, remember to only clean what people will see and use. This means floors and tables in the living room, and the sink and toilet in the bathroom. Skip the shower unless people will be staying overnight.


2. Make It Smell Fresh

I know it’s freezing out, but crack open a few windows to get rid of any musty smells, and turn on the bathroom fan. Light candles in various rooms to make the place start smelling nice while you clean. To banish kitchen odors, run warm water and half a cup of baking soda down the disposal. If you have time, throw a pot of water on the stove with a few drops of an essential oil, like lemon or lavender. If you don’t have essential oils, throw a sliced-up lemon and some cloves and cinnamon sticks in the water. The fresh aroma will fool guests into thinking it’s always clean at your house.

candles living room cleaning

Source: Adrienne DeRosa


3. Hunt and Gather

Armed with a trash bag or empty laundry basket, speed through the high-priority areas and collect clutter. Tidy books and magazines into stacks, or better yet, toss remote controls and similar items into a classy wicker basket. Things like shoes, kids’ toys, and other clutter goes into the basket to be tucked out of sight. And obviously part of how to clean house fast is throwing trash away as you go.

cleaning house fast baskets

Source: Enviable Designs


4. Clean Top to Bottom

Professional maids clean top to bottom, left to right. So before you vacuum, give the coffee table and couches a quick sweep to get all the crumbs onto the floor. And if you have time to dust, sweep any cobwebs in the corners first. Going top to bottom will prevent you from getting mad at yourself when dirty toilet water splashes onto the clean bathroom floor.


5. Speed-Clean the Bathroom

Squirt some toilet cleaner in the bowl and let it sit while you give the sink a quick scrub. (How to clean house fast: multitask.) Good Housekeeping advises quickly running a paper towel with rubbing alcohol on it over your mirror, sink, and faucets. If you don’t have rubbing alcohol, a half-water, half-vinegar solution works well too. (Glass cleaner will also make your faucets gleam.) Grab a different paper towel with rubbing alcohol and swab down the toilet seat and rim. Swap in a clean hand towel, and voila!

clean bathroom zen bathtub

Source: Laidlaw Schultz Architects


6. Tackle the Kitchen

Give the kitchen counters a quick swipe with a sponge and some baking soda. Hide counter clutter in the cabinets or drawers. (This is how to clean house fast, not do a deep clean.) If you have a bunch of dirty dishes, stack them in the sink, or put them all in the dishwasher if possible. Toss out anything spoiled or smelly in the fridge, and finish with a quick sweep of the kitchen floor. You probably don’t have time to mop, but use a wet paper towel to clean up any spills. If you have big oven spills that will create smoke while you cook, use this guide to quickly clean your oven without doing the multi-hour self-clean cycle.

clean white kitchen mod design

Source: Jessica Helgerson Interior Design


7. Tidy the Guest Room

Clean sheets and a made bed go a long way. After that, make sure side tables are clean. Open the blinds to let light in and make it look inviting. Put out a clean set of towels. Finish with the vacuum. Flowers, a fun magazine, or a nice candle make a sweet accent on the bedside table if you have them on hand. Take heart: You’re almost done!



8. Collect Yourself

Your guests are coming to see you, after all, not inspect the tops of your picture frames. Give yourself a quick spritz of your favorite perfume, apply some fresh deodorant, or dust on some loose powder to freshen up after your cleaning frenzy. Pat yourself on the back for figuring out how to clean house fast. Now take a deep breath and smile. Is that the doorbell?

What are your secrets for tidying up in a hurry?