10 Stinky Smells & How to Get Rid of Them

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.

Refrigerator Stink

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.)

Cat Urine

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.

How to Stop Your Cat from Peeing in the House

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.

Skunk Spray

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.

Smoky Clothes

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.

Diaper Stench

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.

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By Kathryn Williams, DivineCaroline


Terry V.
Terry V4 years ago


Peter L.
Peter L.4 years ago

If there is a 100% biological Air Cleaner that removes all organic odeurs, the ones you mentioned in the article: would you try it?
Well: in the Netherlands we use ZHERO Air Cleaner, this is a brand new product, and it works! It leaves no smell, it works in 30 minutes, and it works definitely! Car dealers use it, dog-owners, dogtrainers, hotels, a big hygienic cleaning company...www.zhero.nl
It can be ordered on the internet.

Jac D.
Jac D.4 years ago

have you tried an air purifier? - there is a smaller unit for domestic use; it simply plugs in - great for bedrooms! I will try to put the link here Air purifiers

Peter L.
Peter L.5 years ago

Please look on www.zhero.nl, this is a really new product to vanish all bad smells. It is based on purely biological polymere, it works very good. www.zhero.nl. The producer does have english text on the bottle, you have ask for it with the contact form.

Fred Hoekstra
Fred Hoekstra5 years ago

Thank you Samantha, for Sharing this!

Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson5 years ago

thanks so much!

Rosie Jolliffe
Rosie Lopez5 years ago

thank u

Suzanne L.
Suzanne L5 years ago

TY. I have used Nature's Miracle for kitty pee and it is very good.

Elsie Hovav
Elsie Hovav5 years ago

Useful tips thanks.
Also for smelly fridge a bit of ground coffee in an open container usually does the trick.

Danielle I.
Danielle I5 years ago

Thanks - Helpful tips