The Everyday Home: The stinky side of life

Sonya McDaniel, extension educator, FCS/CED
Pottawatomie County Extension Center

It happens in every home. You walk in the house, and yuck, what is that smell! This weekend at our house it was our little inside dog who decided to roll in something very unfortunate outside, but before we could catch her, she was already on the couch. For my parents it was a forgotten gallon of milk and ice cream in the car. It can be any number of causes or places, but one thing remains the same… we want it gone. Below are a few ways to neutralize odors, instead of simply covering them up.

Activated charcoal (also called activated carbon) is a fine, black powder that acts as a sponge to absorb small particles that cause bad smells. You can order small sachets to place in your refrigerator, under car seats or anywhere you need a foul odor removed. In a pinch, broken up charcoal briquettes can help. They are messy and be careful about pets and small children.

A staple in the back of most refrigerators is a box of baking soda. For another way to remove odors with baking soda, create a deodorizer with an old spice jar. Use a funnel to pour some baking soda into a recycled spice jar for a stylish way to eliminate odors. The holes in the top allow the smelly particles to meet the baking soda and remove odor. You can also add a few drops of citrus essential oil for an even better-smelling mixture.

Coffee grounds will sweeten the air and eliminate odors. Place the grounds in a covered plastic container with holes punched in the lid. Coffee has a strong, pleasant scent that can help neutralize bad smells.

Another tried and true odor eliminator is two parts water with one part vinegar. This solution can be used to clean and deodorize microwaves, burnt pans and smells in the kitchen. It is also one of the best ways to remove human/pet urine or vomit smells from carpet and upholstery. This one worked for the unfortunate milk and ice cream incident for my parents. After cleaning the upholstery with vinegar/water solution, air dry and then some charcoal … we were able to ride in the car with the window up once again!

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