Your open house is scheduled for noon. You walk in at 11:45 a.m. and “OH, MY GOSH! What is that horrible smell?!!”
Maybe the owner’s left something in the garbage before leaving for the weekend. Maybe they fried up a nice big pan of garlic and onions the night before. Or maybe the house has just been sitting all alone for a while, closed up for the season.
Whatever the reason, when you’re in a hurry and need the place smelling better fast, trying to mask odors with air freshener is usually not the best option. Now you’ll just have a house that smells overly perfumed and frequently mixes negatively with whatever it is that’s already offending.
Here’s what you should do instead to help clear out the stink!
1) Remove the source, if possible. (Smelly garbage cans, overflowing cat boxes, etc.)
2) Open all the windows to allow as much air to flow through the house as you can. You can speed up this process further by placing a fan in the window blowing out to suck the smell out with it.
3) Baking soda is a great odor absorber. Sprinkle it on carpeting, let it sit, then vacuum it up. Sprinkle it in the garbage cans. Sprinkle it over the litter box.
4) Vinegar is another way to combat offensive smells. Not only does cleaning up the source with a combo of vinegar and water help eliminate the smell, but boiling vinegar on the stove also cuts down on the offender as the humidity from the vinegar fights the odors in the air.
5) If you have access to lemons and/or oranges, squeeze a little fresh juice and cut up the peel, then add it to water and let it boil. It has the same effect as vinegar alone, only it will leave behind a nice, light, citrusy scent.
6) Wipe down walls with vinegar and water. You don’t have to do a total house cleaning, but wiping some of the walls down where the odor is most offensive can truly help as the odors seem to cling to drywall and paneling.
7) For musty/moldy smells, plug in the de-humidifier! This will help suck some of that damp moisture right out of the air and take the smell with it.