Pungent cat urine. Strong dog smell. Dirty socks. Musty. Tuna fish. Overwhelming synthetic fragrance.
Smells that smacked me in the face as the door swung open and jolly loving people welcomed me into their homes. As I gasped for air smiling with all of my gusto. I wish that these words did not summarize some of my experiences in other people’s homes. But the smell of people’s homes can assault. And I just have to note that these people were entirely gracious and in some cases were trying their best. Which moves me to teach more on homemaking since so many women just did not receive adequate training in this field. I am championing the woman whose home smells bad. I am not looking down on her. I’m saying, keep going. Now look over here, have you thought about this? Ok, now make sure you do this. I am here to cheer you on in your homemaking. We do not sharpen our skills without knowing where we need to improve.
Good scent is the primary signal of clean. There is an obvious difference in the scent quality of a home that is daily maintained and weekly deep cleaned to one that is not. It is obvious when people are just spraying chemicals into the air to cover smells. The goal is to clean consistently and deeply!
Our sense of smell becomes accustomed to the scents that are normal for us. That is a good reason to not get comfortable with a dirty house. If a dirty house is normal to you, the smell of a dirty house will be normal to you. Not to mention that if you do not smell the foulness because you are accustomed to it, you are probably not cleaning those sources of odor consistently enough or deeply enough.
Odor Culprits: Low wall areas, even hard floors not just carpet and rugs, as well as furniture are big odor culprits. These things need to be deep cleaned weekly! Daily cleaning keeps crumbs and hair off the sofa, floor and countertops, but deep cleaning washes odor out!
- Eliminate Pet Odor. Dog fur and skin oils have a particularly pungent odor that will rub off and cling onto any surface they frequently lay on or against. Weekly mopping is crucial to ridding a hard floor of this strong dog odor. Even lower walls that they lay against will need to be cleaned. Any potty accident on a rug will need to be thoroughly addressed with an enzyme cleaner than breaks down the odor. Or TOSS it. If you cannot completely eliminate potty odor, get it out of the house. Cat litter boxes need to be scooped daily, perhaps twice daily! Add a few cups of fresh litter bi-weekly to keep it deep, which will help to thoroughly encompass the deposits and replace what is being lost. Clean the floors and walls around the litter box in case of any stray potty splashes and litter. All pet beds and blankets need to be washed once per week! All of my throw blankets on any furniture are automatic pet blankets so they get washed weekly.
- Eliminate Furniture Odor. Cooking odors settle onto furniture. If you have furniture anywhere near your cooking area even in the next room it needs to be washed! Cooking odors travel and permeate and coat everything! Also, upholstery gets filthy after one week just with sitting, from skin and hair oils or dirt from clothing, even without pets. How do I know? Because I have kept blankets over my sofas for years and within a week those blankets are tinged brown where we sit. They require weekly washing. This means that furniture without coverings require weekly steam cleaning. Consider investing in sofa covers for high use rooms that you can strip off and wash weekly. Especially if your pets lay on your furniture. If you are going to own upholstered furniture and not use coverings, own a steam cleaner and steam clean that furniture weekly. Leather furniture can be wiped clean with leather furniture cleaner.
- Eliminate Floor & Wall Odor. Remember the food odor? It SETTLES on floors and coats walls! The walls and appliances in the kitchen especially need to be degreased but even walls throughout the house need to be cleaned to get rid of odor! As for the floors, I would say to just rip out carpet and have hard flooring. Then, once a week mop with the proper cleaner. If you have to clean carpet, once a week sprinkle baking soda carpet powder over it and let it sit for a good 30 minutes before vacuuming. Vacuuming alone will not remove odor! Use a baking soda carpet powder, work it in with your shoe and let it sit before vacuuming.
- Eliminate Air Odor. Air out your house at least once a week but especially after pungent food is cooked. Fresh air is a vital aspect to keeping a clean and odor free home. Especially after you clean surfaces, that old stuffy dusty air needs to get pushed outside. Just air it out for 10 minutes in hot or cold weather or up to an hour or all day in temperate weather. If the wind is blowing you can air it out much quicker as the breeze will blow right through freshening it up!
- Eliminate Unidentifiable Odor. Sometimes even after we consistently and deeply clean these big odor culprits, there is still unidentifiable odor. Check your sink drains, keep them clear and clean. Spray sanitizer in shoes and keep shoes away in closets, drawers, or cubbies. Keep laundry hampers from building up. Keep bath towels and hand towels swapped out regularly and hung properly to dry between uses. Keep trash taken out. Scent boosting is an option beyond cleaning that helps with any unidentifiable odor and just perfumes the rooms as a finishing touch. Candles, sachets in drawers, diffusers, etc. are just some options. Just choose the ones that are safe for pets and keep them all away from children and pets.
These are the main culprits of bad odor. If you are unable to perform these thorough cleanings, hire a maid to do the deep cleanings for you. Homemaking is about getting the job done and managing the household so that it is cared for whether you do it or the work is delegated. Homemaking is for the senses. The goal is always the experience. So keep your wits about you and always be assessing…how does it smell in here? Then address these items and see it make the difference.