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11 Simple Deodorizer Ideas to Make Your Home Smell Fresh

Keep your home smelling fresh and breath easier by using these household items.

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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 one of your favorite fragrances. Use things like your favorite cologne, essential oil such as lavender, lemon juice, or vanilla extract. Try placing one in your vacuum cleaner to have the scent expressed throughout the room while you clean. You can also put a wet cotton ball on a shelf in your fridge to act as a deodorizer. Here are other life-changing ways you can use cotton balls.

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Fabric softener sheets

Don’t spend hard-earned money on those plug-in air fresheners. Just tuck a few sheets of dryer fabric softener into closets, dresser drawers, behind curtains, and under chairs.

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Lemons can be used all over your home to help deodorize it. If the smell of your garbage disposal is getting a little overwhelming put lemon peels down it to get rid of the smell. If you want your whole kitchen to have a lemon scent and not just the sink, cut a lemon in half and place it (cut side up) in a bowl of water and let them sit.

Lemons are also a great aid for your fire. Throw some lemon peels directly into the flames to give your fire a fresh smell. Or, 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. These aren’t the only uses for lemons, try these other ways too.

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Oranges can be used in all of the same ways that lemons are used to deodorize your home. They can also be with cloves to make pomanders. 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. Here are other uses for orange peels.

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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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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

Eliminate lingering smells in your home, refrigerator, and microwave with vanilla. 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!

Try an old Realtor’s trick. Put a drop or two of vanilla extract on a light bulb, turn on the light, and your house will be filled with the appealing scent of baked goods in the oven. These are other unusual uses for vanilla extract.

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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. Here are more than 95 other uses for vinegar.

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The oil from eucalyptus plants is anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, therefore it’s great to use places that are closed off and tend to get musty. Place a few branches in closets and other musty places in your home to deodorize the air and breathe more easily.

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Baking soda

If you forgot about some food in the back of your fridge and the scent it left behind is overwhelming, baking soda can help. Place an open box in your fridge to neutralize bad smells.

Morgan Cutolo
Morgan Cutolo is a former senior production editor at Trusted Media Brands. She graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 2016, where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. In her free time, she likes exploring the seacoast of Maine, where she lives, and snuggling up on the couch with her corgi, Eggo, to watch HGTV or The Office.