Simple Deodorizer Ideas for Your Home | Reader's Digest

Simple Deodorizer Ideas for Your Home

Fixes for a fresher and more fragrant home.

from Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things

Coffee Grounds

Get rid of the smell of spoiled food after a freezer failure. Fill a couple of bowls with used or fresh coffee grounds and place them in the freezer overnight. For a flavored-coffee scent, add a couple of drops of vanilla to the grounds.

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Cotton Balls

  • Saturate a cotton ball with your favorite cologne and drop it into your vacuum cleaner bag. Now, as you vacuum, the scent will be expressed and gently permeate the room.
  • Sometimes the refrigerator just doesn’t smell fresh. Dampen a cotton ball with vanilla extract and place it on a shelf. You’ll find it acts as a deodorizer, offering its own pleasant scent.
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Fabric Softener Sheets

  • There’s no need to buy scented drawer-liner paper; give your dresser drawers a fresh-air fragrance by tucking a new dryer fabric softener sheet under existing drawer liners, or tape one to the back of each drawer.
  • Don’t spend hard-earned money on those plug-in air fresheners. Just tuck a few sheets of dryer fabric softener into closets, behind curtains, and under chairs.
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Lemons

  • There’s nothing cozier on a cold winter night than a warm fire burning in the fireplace — unless the fire happens to smell horrible. Next time you have a fire that sends a stench into the room, try throwing a few lemon peels into the flames. Or simply burn some lemon peels along with your firewood as a preventive measure.
  • You don’t have to use an aerosol spray to neutralize foul-smelling cat-box odors or freshen the air in your bathroom. Just cut a couple of lemons in half. Then place them, cut side up, in a dish in the room, and the air will soon smell lemon-fresh.
  • When your humidifier starts to smell funky, deodorize it with ease: Just pour 3 or 4 teaspoons lemon juice into the water. It will not only remove the off odor but will replace it with a lemon-fresh fragrance. Repeat every couple of weeks to keep the odor from returning.
  • Remove refrigerator odors with ease. Dab lemon juice on a cotton ball or sponge and leave it in the fridge for several hours. Make sure to toss out any malodorous items that might be causing the bad smell.
  • If your garbage disposal is beginning to make your sink smell yucky, here’s an easy way to deodorize it: Save leftover lemon and orange peels and toss them down the drain. To keep it smelling fresh, repeat once every month.
  • Freshen and moisturize the air in your home on dry winter days. Make your own room scent that also doubles as a humidifier. If you have a wood-burning stove, place an enameled cast-iron pot or bowl on top, fill with water, and add lemon (and/or orange) peels, cinnamon sticks, cloves, and apple skins. No wood-burning stove? Use your stovetop instead and just simmer the water periodically.
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Oranges

  • Dried orange and lemon peels are a far superior choice for use as kindling than newspaper. Not only do they smell better and produce less creosote than newspaper, but the flammable oils found inside the peels enable them to burn much longer than paper.
  • Pomanders have been used for centuries to fill small spaces with a delightful fragrance as well as to combat moths. They are also incredibly easy to make: Take a bunch of cloves and stick them into an orange, covering the whole surface. That’s it. Pretty simple, huh? Now suspend your pomander using a piece of string, twine, or monofilament fishing line inside a closet or cupboard, and it will keep the space smelling fresh for years.
  • Fill your abode with a refreshing citrus scent by simmering several orange and/or lemon peels in 1-2 cups of water in an aluminum pot for a few hours. Add water as needed during the simmering. This process freshens up the pot as well as the air in your home.
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Salt

  • Is an unpleasant odor wafting from your garbage disposal? Freshen it up with salt. Just dump in 1/2 cup salt, run the cold water, and start the disposal. The salt will dislodge stuck waste and neutralize odors.
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Spices

What could be more welcoming than the smell of something good cooking? Instead of using commercial air fresheners, simply toss a handful of whole cloves or a cinnamon stick in a pot of water and keep it simmering on the stove for half an hour. Or place a teaspoon or two of the ground spices on a cookie sheet and place it in a 200°F (93°C) oven with the door ajar for 30 minutes. Either way, your house will naturally smell spicy good.

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Vanilla Extract

  • Having trouble getting rid of that bad odor in your refrigerator, even after scrubbing it out? Wipe down the inside of the fridge with vanilla extract. To prolong the fresh vanilla scent, soak a cotton ball or a piece of sponge with vanilla extract and leave it in the refrigerator.
  • Is the odor of fish, or some other strong smell, lingering in your microwave? Pour a little vanilla extract in a bowl and microwave on High for one minute. Now, that’s better.
  • If you would rather not have the unpleasant smell of fresh paint in your house, mix 1 tablespoon vanilla extract into the paint can when you open it. The house will smell delicious!
  • It’s an old Realtor’s trick. Put a drop or two of vanilla extract on a lightbulb, turn on the light, and your house will be filled with the appealing scent of baked goods in the oven.

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Vinegar

If you’ve recently burned a steak — or if your chain-smoking aunt recently paid you a surprise visit — remove the lingering smoky odor by placing a shallow bowl about three-quarters full of white or cider vinegar in the room where the scent is strongest. Use several bowls if the smell permeates your entire home. The odor should be gone in less than a day. You can also quickly dispense of the smell of fresh cigarette smoke inside a room by moistening a cloth with vinegar and waving it around a bit.

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