You know the feeling in the pit of your stomach when the phone rings and a friend announces she’s stopping by your house? In fifteen minutes. And as soon as you hang up the phone you realize… your house smells funny. Not funny like “can’t distinguish what cleaner you just used” but more like “a wet dog cooked breakfast and burnt the bacon.”
Don’t grab the essential oil diffuser or light a candle, those are only temporary solutions that just blend with the yucky smell and create something extra weird. Instead, try one of these super easy tricks for a naturally great scent that takes over your whole home in just minutes and kicks that icky smell’s butt out the door.
1. Fill the kitchen sink with hot soapy water
This is my oldest and best trick. Keep great-smelling dish soap on hand and fill the sink basin with “dish washing water.” This is also a perfect way to hide those dishes and glasses piled up on the counter and in the sink that haven’t made it to the dishwasher yet. It’ll look like you were in the middle of washing them when your friend called and the dish soap has an amazing superpower of taking over any other smell in nearby rooms.
2. Run over hard floors with a Swiffer Wet Jet
These handy dandy quick mopping tools have a variety of different scented cleaners and they all smell awesome. I’ll be real with ya, Winston smells pretty stinkin’ bad when he comes inside after playing out in the summer heat. A few swipes of the Wet Jet instantly banishes the stink. If you’ve got ten to fifteen minutes, this is definitely the best bet.
3. Break out the Febreeze
Febreeze spray really lives up to what it says it does. It is very successful in killing bad odors, however, it should be used sparingly. Do not, I repeat, do not douse every piece of furniture, carpet, curtains, pets, and family members with this stuff. It is really strong. A little goes a long way, and be sure to test out the scent before you buy it.
Some varieties smell fresh and clean, but others kind of make your nose burn and allergies flare up. I like the ones with natural smells like fresh linens and outdoor meadows. I also like the apple scent, but not when it’s mixed with cinnamon. It starts to seem a little fake when the scents start combining together. For the most part, natural ones are the way to go. You can even pop car vent clips onto your indoor vents in a pinch.
4. Dust surfaces with wood cleaner in common areas
Dusting cleaners like Orange Glo and comparable store-brands all have a very clean smell. They are usually lemon or orange based and instantly give the “freshly cleaned home” vibe. Just spray a little bit onto a microfiber cloth and run it over any applicable surfaces. The spray’s scent is strong enough to linger around for a while and *bonus* no embarrassing dust piled up on the furniture.
5. Simmer a pot of goodness
If you have some extra lemons or oranges hanging around in your kitchen, you can slice one up, pop it in a pot of water, throw in some herbs from the garden (mint or lavender work great) and simmer on the lowest setting. This gives your home a lovely subtle scent without going over the top, but only works if your guests will be near the kitchen or have a somewhat open concept layout. It also takes about ten minutes to start spreading through the air.
For the ultimate speedy solution for the “I’ll be there in three minutes” surprise guest, stuff dryer sheets in random [hidden] places. Your whole house will smell like freshly washed laundry and this only takes seconds to do.
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