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  • Alexander Wissel

Your Home Stinks! How to Keep Your Home Smelling Great

A Clean House Smells like Profit

  • Learn how to identify and tackle the source of unpleasant odors in your home.

  • Discover the importance of proper ventilation and regular cleaning for a fresh-smelling home.

  • Explore natural alternatives like essential oils, indoor plants, baking, and flowers to add pleasant scents to your space.

How to Keep Your Home Smelling Great - Source:
How to Keep Your Home Smelling Great

Do you ever walk into your home and get hit by an unpleasant odor? As a Realtor, we’ve walked into countless homes, and a lot of them don’t smell great. There are a lot of culprits, but sometimes the worst offenders are the homes that use artificial scents.

The overpowering smell of too many scented candles, air fresheners and plug-in smell machines all do one thing.. They make your home stink. It could be a turn-off for home buyers, and driving away offers.

In this article, we will explore natural ways to keep your home smelling great and welcoming. Say goodbye to artificial air fresheners and hello to a naturally fragrant abode!

There are many natural ways to keep your home smelling fresh and inviting. By identifying and eliminating odor sources, ensuring proper ventilation, increasing the fresh air, cleaning regularly, and incorporating natural fragrances like baking smells and flowers you can improve how your house smells. The key point is to reduce unnatural and artificial scents.

Stop Using Artificial Scents!

We get it, there are some who love having a different scented candle out with every season, and a new air freshener ever week. An odorless house is a bland house in their mind. But you need to understand that buyers consider heavy ‘air fresheners’ to be a sign you’re hiding something. You don’t want to have people think you are selling under false pretenses.

When it comes to selling your home, you want someone to walk in and be able to smell your house for what it is. Truth, just like odors, always gets discovered.

As a real estate agent when I walk into a home with clients, we want to smell the home: Is there is a musty or moldy smell that might indicate water issues. Are there pet odors? Some pet odors will dissipate. Other pet odors – like cat urine – are a nightmare to eradicate.

Identify the Source

Too many artificial scents can give a buyer the wrong impression. If your home has an issue that is causing a smell, address it. If it doesn’t have a clear cause, you’re going to need to investigate. Don't be shy about getting an outsider to help. It's a real thing to be 'nose blind' to a smell you're around often.

The first step in tackling unpleasant odors is identifying their source. Is it coming from the kitchen, bathroom, or perhaps the garbage bin? Once you locate the culprit, you can target your efforts and find an appropriate solution.

Ventilation is Key

Get that air moving! Proper ventilation is essential to maintain fresh air circulation in your home. Open windows and doors to allow fresh air to flow in, especially when cooking or after using cleaning products. A lot of bad smells can be cured with just getting some fresh air in spaces where the air is stale and stagnant.

If you have the time prior to selling consider installing exhaust fans or ceiling fans in areas prone to moisture. If your bathrooms and kitchen spaces don’t already have fans, installing ventilation them can minimize unpleasant smells.

Keep your fans on and keep your air moving. Open your doors and windows for a day to bring in fresh air. If your home still smells off afterwards, then you need to take another look at what could be causing your odors.

Clean Regularly

Keeping your home clean is crucial to maintaining a fresh-smelling environment. Regularly vacuum carpets, sweep floors, and dust surfaces to eliminate dirt and dust particles that can harbor odors. Don't forget to clean upholstery, curtains, and bedding regularly as well.

Upholstery and fabrics can trap a lot of odors in. If you have a lot of older furniture – or just fabrics that get a lot of use – consider having them steam cleaned to sanitize and neutralize odors.

Avoiding Common Culprits

A big odor generator that many sellers miss is their home’s ventilation shafts. Your vents have dust in them that holds on to smells. So every time the A/C or heat kicks on it pushes those smells back into your home. It’s why some heavy pet smells and even smoker residue are almost impossible to eradicate – it’s stuck to areas you’ll never clean. Clean your vent covers as well.

Dust traps smells, so use cleaning products designed to pick up and trap dust instead of just moving it around.

Be mindful of mold growth, as it can cause musty odors. Fix any leaks or moisture issues promptly to prevent mold from thriving. Paint ‘wet’ areas like basements, bathrooms and kitchens with products designed for reducing mold and odors. A gloss paint resists moisture much better than flat paints ofter used for ceilings and in bathrooms.

Get a dehumidifier for your basement. Mold and mildew don’t need much moisture to thrive. Cut off their air supply with a dehumidifier to dry the air. It’s an easy way to improve the air quality in a home. While most people want a little higher humidity in a home to live in, when you’re selling you should aim for dry and sanitized.

Let’s Tackle Specific Odors

Certain items or habits in your home can contribute to unpleasant odors. Avoid leaving dirty dishes in the sink, dispose of garbage promptly, and ensure proper ventilation when cooking pungent foods. We’d suggest not cooking anything ‘aggressive’ in your home for the prior two weeks before you list.

Don’t use your fireplace. If you have a wood burning fireplace we’d suggest not using it for the prior month. Lot’s of buyers want a fireplace, but few want to live with the smell of a campfire.

Clean your trash cans inside and out. Wipe down surfaces that don’t see a lot of cleaning. The sides of toilets, underneath your sinks, and shoe storage containers can all be hidden sources of bad smells.

Pet Odors: Keep your furry friends clean by bathing them regularly and maintaining their bedding and litter boxes. Sprinkle baking soda on carpets and upholstery before vacuuming to absorb pet odors. Use pet odor neutralizing products.

If you can, get your pets out of the home for the two weeks prior to listing. Cats especially seem to trigger a lot of allergic reactions. If a child walks into a house and starts reacting to the cat dander in your home, chances are the parents will leave and won’t consider the house. Get those allergens out of your home and deep clean them away.

Harness the Power of Nature

Rather than relying on chemical-laden air fresheners, opt for natural alternatives that not only freshen the air but also offer therapeutic benefits. The biggest point with any of these is to add light touches to add to the space, not mask odors. Here are a few ideas:

Essential Oils: Use a diffuser to disperse pleasant scents throughout your home. Lavender, citrus, and eucalyptus are popular choices known for their refreshing and mood-enhancing properties.

We don’t want you to go nuts here. But we do recognize that there are some scents – citrus, lavender, vanilla – that most people respond to. A small diffuser with a drop or two of an essential oil can add to the enjoyment of a space. I’ve put essential oils first because they are my least favorite option here.

Indoor Plants: Embrace nature indoors by placing houseplants known for their air-purifying properties. Plants like aloe vera, spider plant, and peace lily not only freshen the air but also add a touch of greenery to your space.

We love staging with plants – they add green and life to a space. Plants can help reduce ‘foreign’ smells like plastic and replace it with earthy nature. Indoor plants are a great way to improve a space for many reasons, smell being just one.


That’s right, I said baking after telling you to stop cooking in your kitchen. Baking is not cooking. Baking smells can evoke good memories with buyers and lead to a quicker connection with your home

The smell of fresh bread and cookies are two of the most powerful smells that you can use to sell your home. If you have a bread-maker, crank out a loaf of bread in the morning. Bake a quick batch of chocolate chip cookies – the break apart kind – 30 minutes before your leave your home.


Most indoor plants don’t flower, or flower enough to help the smell. Adding a few flowers in arrangements around your home can be a great way to naturally mask the odors that you just can’t get rid of.

My favorite way to improve a home’s smell is using white lilies in a vase on a kitchen table or entryway. White lilies are an aromatic way to bring a strong smell into the house without it feeling forced. Lilies are also sculptural and look great in photographs.

Fresh roses, peonies (although there are ants) and a few other flowering options can have a great effect and look natural and authentic. Ask your florist for suggestions.

How to Keep Your Home Smelling Great

A fresh and inviting home is within your reach, and you don't need to rely on artificial air fresheners to achieve it.

By implementing these natural tips and tricks, you can keep your home smelling great, while also creating a healthier and more welcoming environment. Remember: remove odor offenders, clean your home thoroughly, ventilate and add light scent touches to your home.

So, say goodbye to unpleasant odors and hello to a naturally fresh and inviting home!


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