A thorough cleaning by a professional house cleaning company will often do the trick because to get rid of odors you must remove the source, not just cover the odor up with perfumed air fresheners. Cleaning removes or kills the germs that cause the most unpopular household odors. Bacteria working on forgotten food, spills, or organic waste in kitchens or bathrooms, for example, give off gases that smell bad. Musty smells usually come from the tiny funguses called mold or mildew. Most air fresheners just mask bad odors with perfumes. Remember – the smell of clean is NO odor at all.

Organic messes such as vomit or urine (human or animal), especially those that have penetrated absorbent materials like carpeting or upholstery, should be treated with a bacteria/enzyme digester.

Cooking odors and cigarette smoke respond best to airing out with fresh air and an odor-neutralizing spray like Febreeze or Zero Out. If you would like to go organic, leave out a small bowl of vinegar for a few hours to overnight to neutralize bad odors. For carpet and rugs, sprinkle with baking soda, which is known to eliminate all types of smells. Leave on for a few hours to overnight, and then vacuum up. repeat if necessary.

Here are some more ideas for natural air fresheners:



A sprig of fresh eucalyptus will all a fresh scent to rooms for about two weeks.

Fresh flowers

A bunch of tulips is not only pretty to look at, but they also can purify the air. Bamboo palms, azaleas, and rubber plants are also believed to have this ability.



Lemons are acidic, so they are especially useful for eliminating strong cooking odors. Fish, cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage) which give off strong sulfur odors especially benefit from simmering lemon slices from a whole lemon in a pan of water for ten minutes. You can also throw in a handful of cloves for variety if you have some handy.


As mentioned above, a small bowl of vinegar can neutralize cigarette smoke, cooking odors, and even musty smells.


Just the right size for scenting closets and drawers, pomanders are oranges studded with whole cloves. You can place them in a circle of cotton fabric, draw up the edges and tie with a ribbon for a pretty scented gift.


You can find potpourri, a mixture of many types of dried flowers like lavender. rose hips, and juniper berries, in any craft store. Place in a small bowl with orris root powder and a few drops of matching essential oil and gently toss until mixed. Refresh once a month with essential oil.


A natural, non-toxic, volcanic rock, the zeolite is great for absorbing and removing smoke, cooking, and pet odors. You can hang pouches in closets or basements to eliminate musty odors. Found in many hardware stores.


  • Aslett, Don. The Cleaning Encyclopedia: You’re a to Z Illustrated Guide to Cleaning Like the Pros! Dell Publishing, 1993.
  • Stewart, Martha. Martha Stewart’s Homekeeping Handbook: The Essential Guide to Caring for Everything in Your Home. Clarkson Potter/Publishers, 2006.

Additional Resources:

Castle Keepers House Cleaning is independently owned, not a franchise, with branches in Charleston, SC and Greenville, SC. To schedule your cleaning service, contact us today at 888-302-5582 or Request a FREE Estimate online!