Try these 3 Tricks to Neutralize Bad Odors for a Home That Always Smells Fresh and Inviting

Masking bad smells is only a short-term solution, so try these three tricks to deodorize your home once and for all

a large loft apartment with big windows
(Image credit: Alan Gastelum)

Scent is such an important part of every home, but some unpleasant odors are not easily disguised. No matter how many candles you burn or air fresheners you plug in, nothing can overcome certain bad smells that linger around your home. 

A scented candle can fix a lot of things, but they can't work magic. Even the strongest fragrances cannot completely obscure the scent of the curry you cooked yesterday or the dampness of your dog after being out in the rain. The key to an amazing-smelling home is to first remove odors, after which you can add some sweet-smelling scents (if you really need them). 

The question is, how is that done? To find out, we asked scent experts for three tips that help you remove odors and neutralize the scent of your home. You might even find this is all that's needed to turn your home into a space that always smells fresh and inviting. 

1. Take care of your upholstery

A living room with mixed textures

(Image credit: Roger Davies. Design: Sara Story)

One particular area of the home that tends to hold smells, particularly the bad ones, is upholstery. At the center of every living room is a couch and, no matter how pristine it looks on the surface, there's always a lurking scent that has seeped into the fabric. 

As a result, this is the main area experts advise you to target if you want to neutralize the scent of your home. ‘Odors can get trapped in upholstery and fabrics, so it's essential to address them to deodorize your house fully,’ says Michael Gottron, owner of Germicidal Maids. 

There are many ways to target this smell, but it should start out by cleaning your couch. ‘Use a fabric refresher spray or upholstery cleaner to freshen up furniture, curtains, and carpets,' says Michael. 'Look for products, that are designed to neutralize odors and leave fabrics smelling clean and fresh.' Another hidden fragrance hack to make your living room inviting involves adding scented laundry sheets to the covers of your throw pillows and trust me, I can attest the benefits.

2. Make sure you ventilate the space

large windows in living room

(Image credit: Tim Lenz. Designer: Tami Wassong. Stylist: Katja Greeff)

There aren’t many problems that a bit of fresh air can’t fix, and bad odors are no exception. ‘One of the simplest ways to deodorize a house is by letting in fresh air,’ says Michael. Proper ventilation will prevent stale smells from accumulating and replace them with natural freshness, and it's by far one of the best natural ways to scent your home.

‘Open windows and doors to allow for proper ventilation, which can help eliminate stale odors and improve indoor air quality,’ advises Michael. If, particularly in summer, you have problems with bugs and flies entering your home through open windows, there's a solution for that, too - consider investing in window netting (like this from Amazon) that allows fresh air in without the creepy crawlies.

3. Clean with neutralizing products

Neutral bedroom with patterned bedding

(Image credit: Amazon)

Lastly, look for deodorizing products that work hard to tackle bad aromas before they reach your nose. There are certain ingredients and scents to look out for that work particularly well at this. 

Citrus and charcoal are both identified by cleaning expert Karina Toner as miracle ingredients for deodorizing the home. ‘After cooking food items with strong scents, simmer citrus peels on the stove with a dash of water for a natural, refreshing aroma throughout the kitchen,’ she says. ‘Equally, activated charcoal absorbs odors like a champ. Place it in small pouches and put them in musty corners.’ These ones from Amazon are an affordable option that you can easily place around your home.

More and more brands are introducing neutralizing products to their fragrance lines ups. The latest is Diptyque’s 'La Droguerie' collection which offers a whole host of products that make deodorizing more luxurious, and it's one thing that people with amazing-smelling homes always buy. One of the stand-out products is the odor-removing room spray with basil. It effortlessly removes unpleasant aromas (rather than just masking them) and replaces them with fresh scents of basil, mint, and tomato leaves.

Follow these guidelines and you're guaranteed to have your home smelling fresh in no time. Finish with your favorite candle or diffuser and you'll have a home that always smells fresh and inviting, so matter what. 

Amy McArdle
News writer

Amy recently completed an MA in Magazine Journalism at City, University of London, with experience writing for Women’s lifestyle publications across arts, culture, and beauty. She has a particular love for the minimalist aesthetic mixed with mid-century furniture, especially combining unique vintage finds with more modern pieces. Her previous work in luxury jewellery has given her a keen eye for beautiful things and clever design, that plays into her love of interiors. As a result, Amy will often be heard justifying homeware purchases as 'an investment', wise words to live by.