Skip the harsh chemical-based commercial cleaners and find natural odor eliminator choices to freshen up your home.
For a long time, I thought that the only way to deal with bad smells involved harmful chemicals. Not only harmful to our health but also to the environment.
But I decided to set out on a project with my kids to see if we could find a way to make our own natural odor eliminator.
As it turns out, removing odor is a lot easier to do using a few household items and some essential oils. And the results are far better than with plug-in air fresheners that you find in stores.
In this post, I want to share our ideas and even a few off-the-shelf eco-friendly products that can improve air quality.
We’ll also cover what kind of stuff absorbs bad smells best.
Creating a natural odor eliminator with non-toxic chemicals is a lot easier than you might think. Most people will have all the necessary ingredients at home to get started.
This odor neutralizer is one that we use to just spray as an air freshener. You can use it in restrooms or the kitchen after dinner to tone down strong smells.
All you need to do is mix water, baking soda, and lemon oil in a saucepan and gently stir while heating it until the baking soda has fully dissolved. Don’t bring it to a boil; just wait until it’s warm enough for the ingredients to mix fully.
Then, let it all cool down and transfer it carefully into a sprayer, and you’re ready to go.
If you don’t have lemon essential oil, then you can also use lemon juice from half to a full lemon.
Your basement can become home to some unpleasant odors that build up over time. Often, it’s down to a certain level of dampness, especially if you keep temperatures lower in this kind of storage area.
The best thing you can do here is regularly getting to the source of the odor without just causing a chemical smell to temporarily overpower it.
Fill a sprayer with three cups of warm water and one cup of vinegar. Then use a scrubbing brush to clean the floors and any surfaces that could become damp and smelly.
The good thing about vinegar is that the smell disappears pretty quickly. But if you don’t like it, then a few drops of essential lavender or eucalyptus oil will make the space smelling clean and fresh.
Many people simply resort to placing air fresheners in bathrooms, but that doesn’t deal with the underlying problem. Often it can be smelly and blocked drains that can be the underlying problem.
And simply adding a fresh scent to the air will only mask bad odors.
Instead, mix equal parts white vinegar and baking soda into a sprayer. And if you don’t like the smell of vinegar, then you can just add some lemon or lavender oil.
Spray and pour this into your toilet bowl and all drains and leave it for about 20 minutes. Then rinse it out with hot water.
You can use the same solution to clean surfaces and even deal with limescale.
As much as you try to ventilate your home, some of the bad odors will end up getting stuck in fabrics. And one odor absorber that can become quite unpleasant is the fabric on chairs, sofas, and cushions.
It's also an area where simple air fresheners won’t do much good at all.
What I recommend here is buying some distilled water and slightly heating it up. Then dissolve a teaspoon of baking powder and add a few drops of essential lemon oil.
I’ve added up to 10 drops, but you can add as many as you prefer.
Spray the solution onto furniture fabric, but avoid using it so much that everything is wet. You’ll be surprised how little of this solution you need, and doing this every few weeks is more than enough.
The final natural odor eliminator I want to recommend is one for smelly shoes and sneakers. If you have kids that play sports, you understand how sneakers and football cleats can quickly build up some rather nasty smells.
Even if you store them in your garage, it’s just not a pleasant smell to be around.
And yet, it’s quite simple to deal with.
Buy a small bottle of hydrogen peroxide with a sprayer top. Spray about 3-4 bursts of the liquid into the inside of a shoe so that the surface becomes damp. Then gently rub it in with a damp sponge.
You don’t want to saturate the inside as it can take a while to dry out.
What this does is deal with all those nasty sweaty smells and kill off bacteria that could be making things worse.
During my research for DIY solutions, I also found some eco-friendly natural odor eliminators.
Here are the ones I have tried out over the past year.
I have one in my closet and one in the car. And because they are small, you won’t even notice them. By the way, you get four of them in each pack, so there’s plenty of flexibility to place them around your home.
They work on a natural charcoal filtering basis and use a sustainable outer bamboo material.
You should also note that it doesn’t have a scent. If you want to place it where your pet may sleep, then that’s probably a good idea to not irritate their senses.
But some people prefer odor eliminators that have a nice scent as well.
This is ideal if you’re hosting a dinner party and don’t want the constant smell.
Fresh Wave Odor Eliminator also works great in basements, closets, garages, and even on trash cans. Now, it’s not a disinfectant or air purifier, but eliminating a lot of smells will improve your home’s air quality.
As far as air fresheners go, Fresh Wave also seems to have an easy-to-use pump system that doesn’t hurt your hands if you want to spray it throughout your home once a week.
And that’s exactly what Ellis Harper has created with Fridge Ninja.
By using activated charcoal and a chemical-free natural fragrance, you can make sure that bad smells don’t accumulate in your refrigerator. The company also says that this should help to keep food fresh for longer.
What I like about these is that I can put them in cool boxes and portable fridges for hiking and camping trips. And I’ve even snuck one into my sons’ gym bags.
The only thing I would point out is that they don’t seem to last the full year as promised. Not sure if that’s due to the size of the refrigerator, but you should be able to get nine months out of it.
These particular ones are eco-friendly, with no harmful chemicals, and based on soy wax. They release a warm and subtle scent that doesn’t become overpowering, as you can get with so many other scented candles.
I typically light one of these for about an hour in the evening, and I have found that they last for about a month doing that.
It’s a great way to deal with some lingering smells after a long day and just to set a more calming and mindful environment for your evening wind down.
The only thing I’ve found is that sometimes the wick burns down quite short, and you might struggle to light it again.
The outer material is a highly sustainable bamboo weave, which will also fully compost. Basically, there’s practically no environmental impact from these.
The pack of 12 also means that you can place these in many different spaces around your home. And my experience so far confirms that they will last for about two years.
There’s also a convenient loophole so that you can hang them from a piece of string as needed.
The only downside I have found is that they don’t seem to be hugely effective in sneakers. I still find sprays work better for these.
Angry Orange requires only a little spritz on rugs and pet beds to effectively deal with the odors. I tend to do this when the dogs are outside to let the initial burst wear off a bit.
There aren’t any harmful chemicals in this spray, so you won’t have to worry about it making your pets sick or causing allergic reactions.
What I would mention is that it’s not the cheapest product. And you could use some of the above DIY methods to make something very similar for a fraction of the price.
But if you need something urgent to spray some freshness into your home, then this will definitely do the job.
It’s not a full HEPA filter, but it works very well to deal with lingering odors.
There’s also a very convenient indicator to tell you when you need to change the air filters, so you keep a consistent level of freshness.
The device has two-speed settings, so you can adjust it to the size of the room. I’ve found it works well enough for rooms up to 12x12 feet.
The main downside is that this device does use electricity. But it’s about the same as a 15-watt light bulb, and if you set timers to turn it on and off, it shouldn’t have a major impact.
Before you reach for a chemical house deodorizer, consider these simple ideas to quickly and effectively reduce smells.
First of all, before you try to solve smelly air with natural ingredients, simply open multiple windows and even doors. That’s assuming it’s not freezing cold or stormy outside, but even just half an hour of air blowing through your home can freshen and clean the air.
One of the simplest natural room deodorizer options is to cut a lemon into a few slices and then place them on a saucer in different parts of a room. The fresh lemon scent will quickly build up.
And another great option is to rub a small amount of vanilla on a light bulb. You really don’t need much for this to be effective.
Let’s start with the refrigerator. Place a small open box of baking soda, and you’ll deal with most smells on a consistent basis.
If you’ve had a cooking mishap and there’s a burnt smell in the air, then I suggest adding a cup of white vinegar and a cup of water to a saucepan. Turn on the hob and let it gently simmer away for 30 minutes. The smell of vinegar will be gone quickly as well as the burnt smell.
And for a garbage disposal that has gone a bit smelly, first, pour a cup of white vinegar in and turn it on. Then get some lemon and/or orange rinds and turn it on again.
You’ll get rid of the old odors and introduce a fresh scent.
A Natural closet odor eliminator would be some baking soda in a small cloth bag. I’ve tried just placing the powder on a saucer, but it doesn’t seem to be that effective.
You can also peel a lemon and add the rinds to the small bag as well. Just don’t overdo it because you could end up with all the fabrics smelling like lemon.
This is generally where I like to neutralize odors quickly with some form of spray. But to add a bit of general freshness, you can simply place a slice of lemon in a saucer.
I find that lemon just seems to cut through smells more effectively, and it doesn’t get too overpowering.
Carpets tend to absorb odors quickly, and it’s not really practical to have them cleaned every few months. While regular vacuuming will ensure that dust and other smelly things don’t accumulate, you can become a bit more proactive.
What I do is sprinkle baking soda on carpets and even gently rub it in with a soft brush. Then vacuum up the powder along with the smells.
Pets can leave behind musty odors. And one of the main things you need to do is to regularly wash your pets with gentle soaps.
But for that lingering smell, I suggest the lemon and baking soda trick. Sprinkle the powder around the room and leave a few slices of lemon on a plate.
And for more persistent odors, try one of the above homemade remedies. They work every time for me.
And finally, a common underlying problem with odor control can often be mold and mildew.
The most important thing here is to kill and remove any mold. If there’s possibly a significant spread, then you may need to hire a mold removal expert.
What you’ll find is that pretty much any odor eliminator will only mask the smell for a while. Dealing with the underlying problem should be your top priority.
I strongly suggest that you try making your own DIY odor eliminator using natural ingredients. It will take just a few minutes, save a ton of money, and you’ll find that they are as effective as anything you can buy.
And if you need some urgent air fresheners, then choose one of the above sustainable options.
There are too many products with harmful chemicals that you want to avoid, and many products also use very unsustainable ingredients.
And if you have some additional ideas to share, then why not leave a comment below for others to read as well?