How to combat bad odours in your home

June 30, 2015

Household odours are not limited to the kitchen and bathroom, or to just tobacco and shoes. Impress your guests with these helpful hints that will help chase away other bad smells in your home.

How to combat bad odours in your home

Tobacco odours

  • Vinegar helps to counter the lingering smell of cigarette smoke. Boil it in a pot on the stove and after it cools, pour it into small decorative bottles or bowls to be spread around the house.
  • Rinse out ashtrays with a vinegar solution as well, and sprinkle coffee grounds in the bottom of your ashtray to help absorb the smell of ashes.


  • Start with clothing storage. A piece of soap or a small sachet of lavender, cedar chips or even coffee grounds will imbue your closet with a pleasant smell. Also, try to hang your coats and jackets outside to air before hanging them back up in the closet.
  • Most of us are intimately acquainted with the problem of stinky athletic shoes. One simple remedy is to sprinkle a little baking soda in your shoes, let them stand overnight, then vacuum out the soda. If you have particularly sweaty feet, change your shoes regularly. When you're not using your sneakers, stuff them with a pair of socks filled with kitty litter to absorb the odour and wick away moisture. A final option is to place shoes in a zipper lock bag in the freezer overnight to kill odour-causing bacteria.

Other odours

  • Keep musty odours at bay by burning a bay leaf, placing a piece of citrus fruit peel on a hot heating element or hanging a vanilla bean in your room.
  • If the exhaust from your vacuum cleaner smells stinky, change the bag and simply vacuum up some lavender flowers or peppermint leaves. Alternatively, dab a cotton ball in a little perfume or aromatic oil and vacuum it up.
  • Absorb the smell of animal litter by adding a little baking soda to the litter box.
  • Add a piece of charcoal to vase water. This will keep it from smelling foul.
  • Mouldy smells vanish from plastic containers when you wash and dry them, fill them with crumpled newspaper or coffee grounds, and freeze them overnight.
  • Rinse musty-smelling leather suitcases with vinegar and leave them open and exposed to fresh air for a few days.
  • Eliminate the smell of oil-based paint by setting several bowls of peeled, sliced onions around the room.
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