How to Make Your House Smell Good All the Time

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Everyone has a different definition of what smells "good." It can be a spicy scent, floral aroma, minty freshness, or medicinal antiseptic smell. One thing that we can all agree on is that malodors are not pleasant for anyone. According to the Monell Chemical Sciences Center at Sweden's Umea University, malodors like rotting garbage, a stinky wet dog, or smelly socks can cause psychological and physiological stress. So, making our homes smell good is beneficial to everyone's well-being.

We've compiled several ways you can add your favorite scents to your home. However, routine basic cleaning is essential to reducing unpleasant smells. Proper cleaning, making repairs to prevent leaks, pest control, and frequent removal of clutter and garbage goes a long way to a home that smells lovely. Adding fragrance may mask problems temporarily but won't solve the root of the malodor.

  • 01 of 08

    Natural air fresheners

    Natural cleaners

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    Whether you're trying to remove the odors from fresh paint, cigarette smoke, or pets, natural products from your pantry can work wonders.

    • Vinegar: You may not love the smell of vinegar but placing an open bowl of apple cider or distilled white vinegar in a corner will help trap cooking and cigarette smoke odors.
    • Deactivated charcoal: Charcoal will not add a scent to the air but it will absorb malodors.
    • Baking soda: Just as baking soda works to absorb odors in your refrigerator, a bowl placed in a room will also absorb odors.
    • Lemon water: Water absorbs odors and adding slices of fresh lemon will provide a clean citrus scent.
    • Coffee grounds: Fresh coffee grounds add a scent to the air but also absorb odors when placed in an open bowl.
    • Vanilla or peppermint extract: Saturate a few cotton balls with cooking extracts and place them on small saucers around the room. They also work great when placed in a vacuum bag or dust cup to add a bit of scent as you clean.
  • 02 of 08

    Simmer pots

    Cinnamon sticks in pot on wooden table

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    Real estate agents know the power of comforting aromas in helping to sell a home, so they bake cookies or simmer spices in water on the stovetop. You can do the same thing at home with your favorite herbs and spices.

    Simple fill a small saucepan with water and bring it to a boil. Add the ingredients you've chosen and allow them to boil for three minutes. Reduce the heat to low and let the brew simmer. Check the level of water every 30 minutes or so and add more as needed. You can also use a slow cooker to create a simmer pot.

  • 03 of 08

    Diffuser Sticks

    Diffuser sticks in essential oils

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    Diffuser sticks add a layer of scent slowly as the scented solution is wicked up the natural material rods. You can buy room diffusers in a myriad of scents or you can make your own with a favorite container, bamboo skewers, essential oil, baby oil, and alcohol.

  • 04 of 08


    Multiple colored candles in glass jars burning

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    Scented candles have been used for centuries in rituals to provide restful thoughts and medicinal healing. Today we use them as decorative focal points, aromatherapy, and to create ambiance.

    You can make your own candles or choose from dozens of scents. When making your selection, it is best to choose candles made from beeswax or soy and those without wicks that contain metal. Paraffin-based candles are made from petroleum that releases hydrocarbons or VOCs into the air.

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08

    Essential Oil Diffusers

    Steam coming from oil diffuser on coffee table

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    Commercial essential oil diffusers can be purchased in lots of shapes and sizes so you can easily find one that fits your home decor. Most operate with an ultrasonic plate that breaks down the oil into base molecules and uses water as a transference method to disperse the oils into the air in an ultra-fine mist.

  • 06 of 08


    Pink petals potpourri bowl

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    Potpourri adds a decorative look to bowls and containers and can add scent to a room. You can make your own by gathering your own natural materials, allowing the material to dry for a few weeks, and adding just a few other ingredients.

  • 07 of 08

    Dried Flower and Herb Sachets

    Lavender buds and essential oil on wooden table

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    Sachet bags are often tucked away in closets, shoes, and dresser drawers to keep clothing smelling fresh and can even repel damaging insects. You can easily make your own by drying flowers and herbs from your garden or buying already mixed potpourri.

  • 08 of 08

    Commercial Air Fresheners

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    Commercial air fresheners are sold as aerosol sprays, pump sprays, gels, candles, and plug-ins. They are formulated with different odor-eliminating technologies to alter the pH of odor molecules and/or odor-trapping technologies to alter the way we perceive odors.