How To Keep Your Apartment Smelling Fresh?


Everyone loves a clean and fresh-smelling apartment. Having a pleasant-smelling home is also therapeutic and relaxing. Plus, as a guest, the smells from an apartment can tell you a lot about a person’s home. 

Sometimes, opening windows and doors is enough to get some clean air inside and get the apartment smelling fresh. However, this is not always the case. Besides, leaving windows and doors open can be a little tricky when you have unpredictable weather patterns. To remove this unpredictability from the equation, there is a need to come up with solutions for dealing with any bad odors in the apartment.

In most cases, it is relatively easy to deal with bad smells and keep your apartment smelling fresh. The key is to avoid masking the smell with other smells, such as over the counter fragrances. Doing this will only make the situation worse. This article will cover several tricks you can use to get rid of these smells and keep your apartment smelling divine, both for people who have fragrance related allergies and those who don’t.

Sources of unpleasant smells in the house

The human nose can pick out over a million different smells. You should ideally try to achieve a fresh and fruity smell in the apartment. However, this can be a little bit difficult to get when an appalling odor is proving elusive. Here are some potential sources:

  • Garbage or trash – Garbage and trash are often the most obvious cause of bad order in the apartment. If you have a trash can in the house, small amounts of rubbish spills can accumulate and linger on the bins even after emptying. This can cause bad odor inside the can. Trace amounts of garbage can also spill on the lid and create an unpleasant smell around the apartment.
  • Kids – If you have kids in your apartment, they may also be the main contributors to the smelly odor. Toddlers tend to hang around with wet diapers causing the unpleasant smell. They may also bring dirt and mud in the house leaving behind a messy environment.

Plus, their shoes, clothes, and toys could also be potential sources of bad smells. These are all places that easily get overrun by germs, so you may want to make sure that they are cleaned regularly.

  • Damp clothes – Speaking of which, wet and damp cloths are also a common way that makes the apartment foul-smelling. This dump mess provides a favorable environment for bacteria to rapidly multiply. Other fabrics such as dish towels and utensil washing sponges are also a good spot for unsafe bacteria to accumulate. This happens when they are left dump and not stored properly after washing.
  • Pets – Unlike us, pets can’t clean up after themselves. They tend to leave various types of waste all over the house. This is especially true with dogs. Some pets can also be hard to potty train. Others shed a lot of hair that collects all over the house, making the entire apartment smelly. Pets can also be messy and unruly at times. Pet litter found inside or outside the apartment may be the cause of the unwanted smell.
  • Bedding – If you enjoy spending time in bed covered with your beddings, they may be the source of the smell. In this case, you would have left behind a trail of body oils and dirt which creates a breeding ground for bacteria. If you do not wash and change the beddings regularly, the buildup of dirt and natural body odor would cause the undesired smell.
  • Moisture – Ordinary house equipment and appliances that come into contact with water can be a good hub for smelly bacteria. Drawers and cabinets used to store cleaning gadgets can trap moisture that builds up over some time. This can lead to molds and mildew growing leading to an infusion of unpleasant smells around the apartment.
  • Dishwasher – The most common appliance that causes unpleasant smell is the dishwasher. This equipment provides a stable environment for molds and bacteria to grow. The warm and dump condition is an ideal environment for this invasive bacteria. Refuse left behind after washing is also the main attraction.
  • Furniture – Furniture in the apartment can also be a breeding ground for bacteria. Volatile organic compounds are the main culprits normally found on and in indoor furniture. These organisms tend to emit a strong scent that is mainly associated with bad odor in the apartment.
  • Poor ventilation – The lack of proper ventilation in the apartment can be costly since airflow is restricted. Dust particles, dead skin, pollen, and insect droppings make up a large percentage of this stagnant air. This, in turn, affects air quality.

The steps to follow to get your apartment smelling fresh

To achieve good air quality and good refreshing smells in the apartment, here are some of the things you can do:

  • Check for mildew – You should regularly check for mold and mildew in the apartment. These are the main sources of the musty but unpleasant smells that may be coming from your apartment. This may be found mainly in air conditioning and heating vents, laundry basket, windowsills, behind and under furniture and fittings as well as under carpets and rugs.

Since mold and mildew are also found in the bathroom area you should consider it as well. You will probably find some under or around the bathroom sink, on the shower curtain, in the shower or bathtub, and on the bathroom walls.

  • Dust the apartment – The presence of dust may also be the leading factor of the unpleasant smell in the apartment. This is because it is a combination of both indoor and outdoor air. Dust is usually found around the tops of windows and doors, around electronic equipment, and on carpeted surfaces. 

When you identify where all the dust is, the next step is to thoroughly dust the apartment. It will make your make the apartment look tidy while also getting rid of the musty smell associated with the dust.

Dust from top to bottom, letting the dust from the top of furniture and surfaces fall to the ground. This will make final dusting a lot easier. Use a damp cloth to easily collect the dust particles and not let them rustle up in the air. Also wear a face mask to prevent inhaling the dust.

Also, pay special attention to dust and other indoor pollutants that normally accumulate in the upholstery. This is because they tend to invite dust mites. Curtains should be washed routinely and upholstered furniture should be vacuumed to remove dirt and dust.

  • Clean the floor – The next phase is to clean the apartment floor. Most dirt is found on the floor and special attention should be put in cleaning this surface. If the apartment floors are tiles or made of hardwood, use a clean damp mop for cleaning.

For carpeted areas around the apartment, check for damp patches that cause mold and mildew infestation. Baking soda can be used to soak up the moisture. Vacuum the entire carpet and do not forget the areas behind furniture and fittings.

  • Ventilate the space – Open the apartment windows to allow stuffy indoor air to escape. This will then allow fresh clean outdoor air to fill up the entire house. Stagnant air affects the air quality and smell of the apartment. This is because it contains a mixture of numerous unhealthy particles that makes the apartment smelly.
  • Do your laundry – If you have been spending a lot of time in bed, try to wash your sheets and bed covers as regularly as possible. Sweaty and dirty clothes should also be cleaned the laundry basket emptied. Make sure to use water temperatures set at high to remove even the natural oils. This is because when dirty clothes pile up in the baskets, bacteria amass and break down body oils in the sweat releasing unpleasant gases filling up the apartment.
  • Get a dehumidifier – You can take things a step further by using a dehumidifier. Since moisture is the backbone for mold and mildew infestation, it should be properly eliminated inside the apartment. This technique will reduce the stuffy smell in the apartment.
  • Clean out the fridge – The fridge can also be another source of the bad odor in the house. Therefore the fridge’s proper cleaning and maintenance ensure the kitchen area has a pleasant smell. 

Rotten food in the fridge should be disposed of. The interior should also be properly cleaned with cleaning solvents.

  • Use odor absorbents – You can also use odor absorbers in the apartment. This method is highly prevalent as it works by absorbing the odor found in the apartment. Natural odor absorbers that are commonly used include baking soda.
  • Don’t mask the bad smells with other smells – Using fragrant smells to mask the foul smell, such as scented candles and air fresheners, will only work temporarily. The use of chemical methods such as air fresheners may also lead to health effects because harmful volatile organic compounds may be released in the air.

Most people tend to use scented candles and air fresheners to mask the odor forgetting that in the long run, the odor will overpower the cover-up. Make a thorough such around the apartment for any mold and mildew. It is also essential to look for any water leakages and moisture sources.

Other ways to make the apartment smell fresh

There are some natural and artificial ways of making the apartment smell great. Most people would prefer artificial ways as they are easier effort-wise. However, some people are allergic to chemicals aerosols. Therefore there is the need to come up with basic and natural ways of making the apartment smell great. Here are some natural ways to eliminate odor in the apartment.

  • Lemon basil spray – The natural scent of lemon and basil can be warm and refreshing. A simple way of making the spray involves mixing hot water with basil leaves and let the mixture steam for a few minutes. Filter the mixture by using sieve then add a few drops of vodka followed by five drops of lemon essential. Place the mixture in a spray bottle that can be used easily.
  • Reed diffuser – This is a simple baby oil mixture that is placed inside a diffuser. Add a few drops of any essential oil depending on your smell preference inside a glass container and then top up with baby oil. Insert diffuser sticks in the container and place it on a tabletop to achieve the required results.
  • Linen spray – This spray works well for clothes, towels, and bed sheets. In a reusable spray bottle, add two or three drops of vodka then add a combination of essential oils. Fill the rest of the bottle with water. Use the spray on soft linen to make them smell fresh and warm.
  • Carpet Deodorizer – To remove strong odor emanating from the carpet, this technique can be easily used. By using a perforated mason jar, add baking soda and corn starch. Add a few drops of essential oils and stir the mixture. Pour the mixture on the carpet regularly before vacuuming.
  • Simmer pot – This is an easy home remedy for creating a good smell around the apartment. Add slices of oranges or lemon in a hot pot of water and let it simmer for a while. Then add a few cloves and cinnamon sticks and remove the lid to let the mixture settle for a few hours to release the good scent.
  • Gel room scent – This is an easy home remedy for making the apartment smell fresh. To a cup of boiling water, add a few padded bags of gelatin. Stir gently until the gelatin completely dissolves and then add two drops of essential oil. Add salt in the cooled mixture and stir until a solid form. 

Since this fragrance is usually put on display, you can add a drop of food color for visual stimulation.  

  • Smudge sticks – This method has been used for centuries for cleansing rituals and also for getting rid of indoor smells. It is normally made up of a bunch of dried herbs that produce good vibrant smells. Herbs like thyme and sage are commonly used.
  • Homemade air freshener – When making a citrus mint air freshener uses a recyclable spraying container, add three-quarters of water followed by vanilla extracts. In the mixture, add a few drops of orange essentials. Put in the mixture eight drops of peppermint oil and shake well. This can be sprayed all over the apartment to enhance a good and refreshing smell.
  • Stovetop potpourri – This is a technique that infuses the scent of a medley of petals and spices to fragrance a room. 

In a saucepan, add a few slices of orange, lemon peels, cinnamon, and water. Let the mixture simmer until the sweet aroma fills up the apartment.

  • Eucalyptus leaves – The leaves of the eucalyptus tree give rise to good scent and can be used to freshen up the apartment. Place a few bunches of the leaves in vases around the house. Specifically, place one or two vases in the bathroom this creates an atmosphere similar to a spa.
  • Smelly shoe deodorizing spray – A quick fix remedy to eliminate the pungent shoe smells which affect most apartments. Add two or three drops of thyme oil essentials to a cup of water and stir properly. 

Place the mixture in a spraying bottle. Spray shoes with the solution and allow them to dry.

Artificial air fresheners

A final remedy may be the use of artificial air fresheners. There is a wide array in the market. This may leave your apartment smelling however you want it to. From baby fresh clean to a meadow at dawn. These, however, would only be temporary solutions to a permanent problem.

While this solution is effortless on your side, there are things to consider. For instance, how safe are they to the environment? The jury is still out there but the chemicals found to be on these aerosol sprays have been known to damage the ozone layer.

Therefore when procuring your artificial freshener, you should be conscious of the ingredients that went into its manufacturing. Other artificial air fresheners such as silica gel are known to be poisonous when ingested. This is most often with younger kids in the apartment or even pets. Therefore their administration and placing should be handled with care.

Final thoughts

While the above methods may help keep your apartment fresh, the ultimate responsibility of making sure things stay that way lies with you. There is no one size fits all solution for every apartment. It is up to you to try these tips out till you find something that works for you. Above all else, try to avoid temporary solutions and instead fix the problem from its core.

Keeping your apartment smelling fresh is an endless process. Make it a habit to clean regularly, and keep the space dry and moisture-free. You can do this by aerating your apartment regularly and letting in natural light.

Melanie Asiba

Melanie is an author. She enjoys traveling, reading and trying out new things. In addition to writing for Apartment ABC. Connect with her at [email protected]

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