Help, my house STINKS! How to get rid of smells for good

Help, my house STINKS! How to get rid of smells for good

Does your house smell as good as it looks? Whilst the interior may look welcoming, house smells are enough to make even the most gorgeous of homes unappealing.

Household odours are pretty common, and it's not necessarily caused by uncleanliness. During the changing seasons, the humidity, lack of aeration and heating can quickly cause rooms to become stuffy or develop a musty smell.

Want to banish bad smells once and for all? There's no need to go buying expensive air fresheners. Expert Home Tips have 12 handy hacks to help you eliminate all kinds of household smells.

Ready to make your house smell fresh? Let's get started.

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Bathroom smells

Bathrooms can, unsurprisingly, get pretty smelly pretty quickly. It's not only the toilet that's to blame, but the stagnant water around the sink, and condensation from the shower can make musty smells common.

1. Toilet roll refresher

toilet roll holder
Is your toilet roll the key to a fresh-smelling bathroom?

One of the easiest ways to add a refreshing fragrance to your bathroom, is using essential oils. Add a few drops to the inside of your toilet roll tube and they will fight against unpleasant odours to leave your bathroom smelling fresher.

2. Toilet spray

Get your toilet smelling fresher than ever with a DIY bathroom spray. Today's Creative Life's No.2 Poo Spray is a real lifesaver, and will keep your bathroom smelling fresh no matter what goes on in there!

3. Toilet brush hack

There's no avoiding it - toilet brushes are pretty nasty by nature. Keep yours smelling as fresh as can be, by squirting some scented cleaner into the bottom of the toilet brush holder. Not only will this keep the brush clean, but if you use something like Flash, it will give the whole room a lovely citrus smell.

4. Refresh your towels

blue bathroom towels and dressing gown
Wash towels frequently to stop them from smelling damp.

If you follow our blog, you should already know how often to wash your towels to keep them fresh. Unwashed towels are not only unsanitary, but will make your bathroom smell damp and dirty.

To make them smell fresher than ever, wash them after every 3 uses, and throw in half a cup of baking powder for extra freshness. 

Bedroom smells

5. Wardrobe deodorizer

Wardrobes are home to all kinds of smells - socks, stinky shoes, that dusty, old dress you've not worn in years. 

Go into your kitchen and grab a few tea bags - they can be used as a wardrobe deodorizer. Herbal tea bags work best - something powerful with chai or cloves is ideal. Place them in your wardrobe, preferably hung over the rail . The herbs will absorb bad smells and release gorgeous new ones.

6.  How to refresh your mattress

How to clean a mattress
Mattresses need cleaning too!

If your bedroom looks clean, but smells rotten, the answer could be something you've not thought of - your mattress. To freshen your mattress in three easy steps:

  1. Sift a cup of bicarbonate of soda onto your mattress.
  2. Leave it to sit for 30 minutes.
  3. Vacuum over your mattress using the brush attachment.
  4. Check out our other mattress-cleaning tips!

Kitchen smells

7. How to remove fridge smells

Cheese - need I say more? It may be delicious, but it can be overwhelmingly pungent - a quick opening of a cheese-packed fridge is enough to leave your whole kitchen smelly...well, cheesy.

Fighting off bad fridge smells couldn't be easier. Just place half a lemon on the centre shelf and it will make the whole thing smell fresher than you ever thought possible. Replace weekly to fight those extra-cheesy smells.

8. Smelly kitchen sink

clean stainless steel sink
That's one sparkly sink!

Drains may be out of sight, but they certainly won't be out of mind once they've started to smell bad. Luckily, the solution requires just two ingredients, which you probably already have in your cupboard - vinegar and bicarbonate of soda.

Pour one cup bicarbonate of soda onto the drain, then follow with two cups of vinegar. Let this bubble away happily for five minutes, then flush repeatedly with very hot water.

For more amazing uses for bicarbonate of soda, check out Anushka's article.

9. Get rid of cooking smells

Cooked a tasty fry up? Your kitchen will no doubt be paying the price. Get rid of cooking smells easily with the help of bicarbonate of soda.

Place some in a small bowl and leave on your countertop overnight. It will dissipate any bad smells and banish any evidence of your indulgent breakfast.

10. Bin odour neutraliser

Tacking out the rubbish isn't a job anyone likes to do - what a stench! We have a great hack to make it much less unpleasant.

Sprinkling bicarbonate of soda or cat litter onto the base of the bin can have a dramatic effect on the way your bin smells. Either of the solutions will work as a bin odour neutraliser by absorbing bad smells and preventing them from escaping.

Living room smells

10. Eliminate pet smells

Muddy dog shichon
How cute is our little Ralph?!

Your home wouldn't be the same without your fluffy friend, but it could probably do without that 'dog smell,' right?

If you've tried even the most potent washing powder you own to no avail, we could have the answer - white vinegar.

Place half a cup of white vinegar into the fabric softener compartment of your washing machine along with your usual choice of detergent. Post-wash, all traces of dog will be banished...until next time.

11. Coffee candle

There are candles, and then there are candles that make your whole home smell glorious. There's no need to spend a fortune of freshening your home - great results can be achieved at home using coffee beans a few tea lights.

Fill small, shallow glass jars with coffee beans, and place a tealight in the centre. You'll be amazed how powerful your coffee candle can be!

12. Refresh your sofa

Blue modern sofa
Sofas need cleaning too!

Sofas aren't something many of us consider washing often, however, just like your mattress, they do need occasional TLC.

The same mattress baking powder hack can be used for your sofa- sift baking powder onto your sofa, wait, then vacuum off for instant freshness. Your visitors will be asking if you've bought a new one!

Do you have any unusual tips of your own to make your home smell great? Share them with us in the comments below!


Stephanie C


Lover of all things fashion & foodie...I look to satisfy my tastes without obliterating my budget. Wannabe interior designer, I'm an avid cushion cover maker and charity shop hunter.

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  1. Author Amanda Hannah on January 12, 2018 at 8:17 am

    What can be done about an awful smelling washing machine? I've tried the products you can buy specifically for this from the supermarket such as the Dettol product but it still doesn't work. Can you use bicarbonate of soda in the washing machine? It seems to come up time and time again as the answer to so many things or do you suggest something else?

  2. Author Louise Comb on January 12, 2018 at 8:36 am

    Some great sounding tips here, thanks. I plan to try some of them. The coffee candle sounds amazing. Thanks XXX

    1. Author Stephanie C on January 15, 2018 at 2:42 pm

      Hi Louise. We're so glad you enjoyed our tips! Please come back and visit us soon :)

  3. Author Margaret Parker on January 12, 2018 at 9:39 am

    I have a tip that I use regularly, pick one of your usual nice smelling soaps then with a knife slice thin pieces of the bar a bit like wood bark, then put them in to a small candle holder jar or saucer like container and place in your bedroom or bathroom, you can mix different colours together the smell is wonderful and can last for several weeks,then just freshen then up each time.

    1. Author Stephanie C on January 22, 2018 at 9:39 am

      Hi Margaret. We just LOVE this tip! I have lots of fresh smelling soaps I have received for Christmas presents so will definitely be giving it a go. Thanks so much for sharing :)

    2. Author Jojn on May 4, 2018 at 10:34 pm

      You don't want to be breathing in soap could cause other issues

  4. Author Julie Trent on January 12, 2018 at 10:49 am

    Place a container of used tea bags in the fridge and change daily. This will keep your fridge smelling sweet.

    1. Author Stephanie C on January 22, 2018 at 9:39 am

      Hi Julie. Finally, a use for all those tea bags! Top top - thanks for sharing :)

  5. Author Caro on January 12, 2018 at 11:08 am

    I am surrounded by neighbours that smoke and they do it outside, the smell of cigarette smoke gets into my house and it stinks. Any ideas on how to get rid of this, I don't really want to use chemical air fresheners to do it. Thanks

  6. Author Mark Hier on January 12, 2018 at 12:25 pm

    Can you help me to get rid of Nicotine smells please? The former tenant used to smoke and I am a reformed smoker, so I am hoping that you will be able to help me please. Many thanks Mark

  7. Author Maureen falconbridge on January 12, 2018 at 2:55 pm

    I spray zflora into a binbag before I put it bin I also put zflora into the bottom of my toilet brush holder

    1. Author Stephanie C on January 15, 2018 at 2:47 pm

      Hi Maureen. We love Zoflora here at Expert Home Tips! Thanks for pointing out just some of it's many wonderful uses :)

  8. Author Pamela Eyden on January 12, 2018 at 6:30 pm

    I put bleach in the bottom of my toilet brush holder. I put in enough to cover the brush and when it evaporates I wash the brush and holder in a cleaning bucket and then do the bleach thing again. But, I've not got little kids or animals so no risk of accidents

    1. Author Stephanie C on January 15, 2018 at 2:40 pm

      Hi Pamela. My mother used to do this, and our bathroom always smelled lovely and fresh. Great tip - thanks for sharing :)

  9. Author Phil Fieldhouse on January 12, 2018 at 7:05 pm

    On the doggy smell one, what goes in the washing machine, dog, carpet or couch?

    1. Author Stephanie C on January 24, 2018 at 9:24 am

      That depends how thorough you want to be I guess, Phil!

    2. Author Amy on June 20, 2018 at 3:06 am

      But seriously, what are you suggesting to be washed in the washing machine to eliminate the dog smells? ????

  10. Author helga on January 13, 2018 at 12:32 am

    spray soft furnishings with your fave fibric conditioner diluted with warm water. the house smells lush for days. or put couple drops lavendar oil on a cloth wipe all light bulbs then when in use the heat spreads the smell allover its also great to help relaxing.

    1. Author Stephanie C on January 15, 2018 at 2:39 pm

      Hi Helga. What a great tip! Sensationally simple and easy - we love it. Thanks so much for sharing :)

  11. Author Sue Marsden on February 8, 2018 at 4:41 pm

    I use a spray bottle filled with diluted fabric conditioner to spray on my fabrics and also on my rugs and my radiators leaving my home smelling fresh for days.My dogs bed gets a spray to keep nasty dog smells away.

    1. Author Stephanie C on February 14, 2018 at 10:16 am

      Hi Sue, This sounds like a lovely tip and it's very easy to do too! We bet your home smells great. Thanks a lot for sharing.

  12. Author Nancy Brown on April 25, 2018 at 1:29 pm

    We have a smell that only occurs in one area of our house... unfortunately, it's near the front door. It usually only occurs during humid weather. My husband says its from the attic - which has old insulation. The problem is that we recently got new insulation, but in that particular area of the attic, there is nothing to be done to remove the old insulation due to how the previous owners built an addition to the house. How can I mask that? The area is somewhat large, including entry, formal dining room, and two stair cases. Pleases help!

    1. Author Joanne A on August 22, 2018 at 12:32 pm

      Hi Nancy! Can I ask if you have had a professional come and look at it and whether they had anything to say?

  13. Author Sue on May 16, 2018 at 10:26 am

    Hi, I have a strong smell of Ghee around the house left by tenants. Any ideas how to get rid of it? I have tried neat white vinegar for a few days & smell is still there. Thanks.

    1. Author Joanne A on August 16, 2018 at 5:20 pm

      Hello Sue, where would you say the smell is coming from? Just so I know what kind of surfaces you are trying to treat.

  14. Author Hayley Harrison on May 29, 2018 at 7:38 am

    Have foul smell coming from my unit.. have blocked vents, used peppermint oil and air freshners. Anymore suggestions?

    1. Author Stephanie C on June 4, 2018 at 9:32 am

      Hi Hayley. What unit is this?

    2. Author Ali on June 14, 2018 at 2:12 am

      I have the same problem as Hailey. Just moved into a place n it smells terrible i washed the walls carpets floors etc n it still smells bad

  15. Author Maureen Hale on August 14, 2018 at 6:37 pm

    Lots of tcp used in bathroom smell is overpowering!having bad headaches.What can I use to neutralise

    1. Author Joanne A on August 15, 2018 at 5:26 pm

      Hi Maureen! TCP is one of those smells that seems to linger forever! You could give some of the tips in this post a go - essential oils are very potent so would be perfect for masking this kind of thing. I'd also suggest keeping the windows open as much as possible and maybe even cleaning and repainting the areas that seem to have the TCP smell. Hope this helps!

  16. Author Luba Katterhenry on August 16, 2018 at 3:11 pm

    How to get rid of carpet smell. Seems like combo of musty and stale chlorine. Very disgusting

    1. Author Joanne A on August 16, 2018 at 4:36 pm

      Hi Luba! Hope is not lost. We have a really easy fix. Just sprinkle baking soda in a thin layer over your carpet. Leave it for a few hours if possible and then vacuum it up. The baking soda will help to neutralise any smells.

  17. Author Jason on September 23, 2018 at 5:40 pm

    Number 10 seems to be missing something. Re-read... what does the washing machine have to do with the living room?

    1. Author Joanne A on September 25, 2018 at 10:32 am

      Hi there Jason! We're talking about how you can clean fabrics that might be in your living room - blankets, cushions, pet beds etc. Hope this clears that up!

  18. Author B on October 9, 2018 at 9:13 pm

    Everything smells bad in my house

    1. Author Joanne A on October 10, 2018 at 9:09 am

      Sorry to hear that, B! Do you know what might be causing the problem?


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