Bad smells can be harder to get rid of than your office lurker. Luckily you probably already have some of the tools to fight these odors, and you donít even know it.
Gym Shoe Funk
If you have non-leather shoes, you can wash them in the washing machine. If that doesnít work, heat or freeze the funk out. Try leaving the shoes in the sun or putting them in a Ziploc bag in the freezer overnight. Then sprinkle the insoles with baking soda or store-bought Odor Eaters. And next time, wear socks.
The Dog Smell in Your Car
The first order of business is to get rid of any blankets, pillows, toys, or bones in the car. Vacuum seats and floorboards to remove pet hair. Sprinkle upholstery and floor mats with baking soda and let sit over night; vacuum in the morning. If the car still smells like a kennel, spritz with a solution of equal parts white vinegar and water. Let dry completely, with windows down.
Mold and Mildew
Serious mold requires professional help, as it can cause health problems. But if itís just a musty smell thatís bothering you, run a dehumidifier to pull some of the odor-causing moisture out of the air. Activated charcoal (available at most pet supply or garden stores) will neutralize mold and mildew smells in damp basements and crawl spaces. White vinegar, tea tree oil, and grapefruit seed extract (which can be found at health food stores) are natural fungicides that can be mixed with water and sprayed on mildew. Ground coffee in a (clean) sock, hung in a closet, can also get rid of musty smells.
First, get rid of the source. Clean out food thatís moldy, rotten, old, and smelly, and anything that has changed color or physical state. If it looks like it could walk out of the fridge on its own, into the trash it should go. Wipe down the walls, shelves, and bins with a solution of warm water and white vinegar, and stash an opened box of baking soda in the back to absorb odors. (Replace every few months.)
Cats mark their territory with a super odiferous, ammonia-scented urine that is one of the stinkier substances known to man. Traditional cleaners leave behind (and even reactivate) the protein crystals that are responsible for the smell. Luckily there are a number of special enzymatic cleaners on the market for just the purpose. Try Urine Off, Anti-Icky-Poo, or Natureís Miracle Just for Cats.
Garlic on Your Hands
Scrub your palms with a cut lemon or lime. Alternatively, rub your hands over a stainless steel spoon under cold, running water for 30 seconds.
When Fido gets up close and personal with Pepť Le Pew, your best friend becomes your noseís worst enemy. The most effective recipe for getting the stench out: scrub with 4 cups hydrogen peroxide (3 percent), 1/2 cup baking soda, and 1 teaspoon mild dish liquid. (Check out Has Your Dog Ever Been Skunked? for more detail.)
Fish Smell in the Kitchen
Set a bowl of white vinegar by the stove or oven when you cook fish to help neutralize odors. Bag and tie any leftover bones, scales, or bits before they go in the trash can, and follow any remnants that go down your sinkís garbage disposal with half lemon or lime.
To remove cigarette or wood smoke from clothes, hang them outside for a few hours, where sunlight and air can get to them, or use an electric fan. If they still smell like an ashtray, youíll probably need to wash or dry clean the items. Furniture or clothes with extensive smoke damage (say, from a fire), will likely need to be professionally cleaned by a fire restoration company.
Your little angelís diapers stink like the devil, and the Diaper Genie only does so much to contain the reek. Itís no surprise that whatís in the diapers is creating the smell, so try emptying the diapers into the toilet before depositing them into the diaper pail. Sprinkle regularly with baking soda or a product like Smelleze or Diaper Buddies, and take out the trash at least once a day.
More from DivineCaroline:
More from Care2:
- How to Make a Non-Toxic Cleaning Kit
- 7 Ways to Make Your Living Space Smell Nice
- 12 Ways to Use Temperature Instead of Chemicals to Clean
By Kathryn Williams, DivineCaroline