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Seven Days to a Fresher-smelling Home

Store shelves are loaded with odor-fighting products designed to mask the unpleasant smells that can accumulate in your home.

Store shelves are loaded with odor-fighting products designed to mask the unpleasant smells that can accumulate in your home. Rather than cover up the smells, try this seven-day, room-by-room approach to attack potential odor-causing offenders.

Seven Days to a Fresher-smelling Home

DAY 1 – Cut KITCHEN Smells at the Source

Your kitchen is typically one of the biggest sources for odor. Cooking smells, stagnant drains and garbage cans with food waste all contribute to that moment when you sniff the air and say, "Ugh! What's that smell?"

  • To prevent a sour smell from building up in your garbage disposal, toss a couple of lemon wedges into the disposal's empty reservoir and run as usual.
  • Replace your regular furnace filter with a Filtrete Odor Reduction furnace filter from 3M. These electrostatic filters are designed to remove odors caused by cooking, pets, mildew and smoke. It's a good idea to change your filter every three months, and 3M makes it easy with its free online filter change reminder.

DAY 2 – Banish Odor-Causing Fungi in the BATHROOM

The moist, warm environment of the bathroom makes it a prime breeding ground for mold and mildew.

  • Run your bathroom exhaust fan while you're in the shower and for at least 5–10 minutes afterward to clear out the moisture build-up that attracts mold and mildew.
  • If mold or mildew appears despite your best prevention efforts, scrub it away as soon as possible. An alternative to harsh cleaners is to scrub the affected area with a mild bleach solution (4 parts water/1 part bleach).

DAY 3 – Soothe the Senses in the BEDROOM

Your bedroom should be a sanctuary of relaxation. Try these simple steps to keep offensive smells from disrupting your serenity.

  • Air out shoes for a few hours before putting them back in the closet. It will keep your clothes and closet from smelling like an old sneaker.
  • Your pet's bed is a dander—and odor—magnet. Reduce both by choosing a pet bed with a removable liner that can be washed once or twice a month to keep your pet's sleeping spot clean and cozy.

DAY 4 – Sink BASEMENT Stink

Basements are notoriously musty because they're primarily underground and harbor more moisture. This provides the ideal environment for mold and mildew growth that causes a musty odor.

  • Pull mildew-causing moisture out of the air with a 50- to 70-pint basement dehumidifier.
  • Mold spores in the basement can circulate throughout the whole house carried by your heating and cooling system. A Filtrete Odor Reduction or Healthy Living furnace filter from 3M can capture a variety of problematic airborne particles, including mold spores and other allergens.

DAY 5 – Beat Odor Build-Up in the GARAGE

Its primary job is to house your vehicle, but the garage also contains a plethora of odor-causing sources.

  • Put only bagged garbage in your garbage can. It helps reduce leaks that create foul odors in the can and surrounding area.
  • Be sure all household chemicals are fully sealed to prevent unhealthy fumes from escaping into the air.
  • Store sports equipment so that air can easily circulate around it. Coated wire bins, shelves and hooks give plenty of airflow around your gear to prevent smelly odors caused by dust, moisture and sweat.

DAY 6 – Keep It Fresh in the FAMILY ROOM

A lot of family life happens in the family room, along with a lot of messes and spills.

  • Ditch the harsh chemicals and heavy fragrances contained in many stain- and odor-fighting solutions. An effective, odorless alternative is plain water. Blot the spill with paper towels, spray it with cold water (or club soda for red stains) and blot it again with paper towels. Repeat as needed until the stain is gone.
  • Vacuum the carpet several times a week to prevent dust, food particles, pet hair and general accumulation from being ground into the carpet and creating a stale smell in the room.

DAY 7 – Let Your Clean Run Free in the LAUNDRY ROOM

You'd think the laundry room would be one of the cleanest rooms in your house, but dirty laundry piles up and general overflow from other rooms often winds up in the laundry room.

  • To prevent the moist conditions that can give your washing machine—and your clothing—a sour smell, simply leave the washer door open for a couple of hours after your last load to let the barrel dry completely
  • If you keep a cat box in the laundry room, sift the used litter and add fresh litter on a daily basis. It will keep cat box odors to a minimum—and your kitty will thank you!

You can have a cleaner, fresher home without harsh chemicals and overpowering fragrances. With these simple ideas and natural cleaning products, you can create a fresher-smelling home in no time.