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How to Get Rid of Bad Smells in the Home

We may not think of our noses as being extremely sensitive, but they can actually detect a bad odor at three parts per billion. That’s the equivalent of three seconds in 32 years. The next time there’s a bad odor in your home, tackle it at the source so it doesn’t linger. Here are our tips for getting rid of three of the most disliked smells in the home:

Trash Can Smell

If there’s no trash in the trash can and it still stinks, then you’ll need to clean the trash can itself. Food spills are often the source of bad odor, so start by scrubbing the trash can – inside and out – with soapy water, rinsing clean, then drying. If the trash can still smells, try washing it with a solution of 1 cup baking soda and 1 gallon of water. Many bad smells are acidic in nature, so a base like baking soda is able to neutralize the acids that cause bad smells.

Dog Urine Smell in Carpet

The key to removing dog urine smell is getting rid of the uric acid crystals which are found in the urine. These crystals aren’t visible to the naked eye and like to bind tightly to carpet fibers. If you’ve ever cleaned your carpet, thinking you’d successfully removed the urine smell, only for it to reappear, that’s because the uric acid crystals are still in the carpet. To completely remove the odor, try using a pet urine remover that’s specifically formulated with enzymes to break down uric acid.

Mildew Smell in Washing Machine

If your washing machine – or your clothes – smell like mildew, but there’s no mildew on your clothes, check your washing machine for residual water leftover from wash cycles. Warm, moist environments are a great place for odor-causing bacteria to breed.

To remove the smell from the washing machine, add bleach to a cleaning cycle (if your washing machine has one) or a wash cycle without clothes. Run this cycle weekly and then decrease the frequency over time, as the mildew smell gradually decreases.

If the inside of the washing machine isn’t dried out, it’s also possible for mildew to take hold inside the machine and around seals on the door. Check the seal for traces of mildew and wipe the area weekly with a bleach solution (3/4 cup of liquid bleach in a gallon of cool water). To prevent the odor-causing bacteria from breeding again, leave the washing machine door open after each load to help the machine dry out.

Now that you’ve tackled the bad smells, you can enjoy the scents you love. Learn more:

When It Makes Scents: Cleaning Product Fragrances

Stop and Smell Your Foyers

Which Scents Bring You Joy?

Smell That? It’s Happiness!

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