Make Your Home Smell Amazing

You don’t deserve to live in a home that doesn’t smell amazing.

You never get a second chance to make a first impression. This is true for first dates, job interviews and the first time someone comes over to your home. If your house doesn’t smell great, that is always going to be remembered by the visitor. 

WATCH: Make Your House Smell Amazing

Where Do Smells Come From?

Smells don’t just appear and disappear out of nowhere. There’s always a cause and it’s your job to find it. Walk around your house and start lifting things up, looking under couches, and inside cupboards.  Just this morning, I got on my hands and knees and looked under the bathroom vanity to make sure there wasn’t a rogue baby wipe under there. You’ve got to do your homework to find the source of that smell. 

Once you find it, it could be as easy as picking something up and tossing it away, or it could be indicative of a more systemic issue that has to be fixed. For example, a mold or moisture problem.

Hard surfaces in our homes, such as flooring and countertops, aren’t porous which means they don’t generally absorb stains and odours. That means we have to blame the smells on soft surfaces, such as carpets, drapes, upholstery, bedding, linens, and clothing. Dust, debris and odour molecules land and grow on those comfy, cozy, cushy surfaces. 

throw pillows

Throw it in the Laundry

One of the first things you should do is launder those soft surfaces, if you can. That means stripping your linens and changing them regularly.   I used to own a rental property many years ago, and I will never forget the first time I walked into that place. The thing that hit me was the smell coming from the bedrooms of unwashed linens. It does not smell good. Soft surfaces can really make or break the way a space smells.

Haul out the Vacuum

The other thing that you can do, and this makes a huge difference, is vacuum. Dust is made up of a combination of hair and dead skin cells, among other things, and it traps odour particles making your home smelly. If you can get rid of the dust, you can get rid of that stuffy smell.

Febreze isn’t Just a Cover Up

If there’s a soft surface that you can’t launder or you want to refresh between washings, there is another way. I’m always very cautious when it comes to any products I use in my home. I’m a total safety Mom.  While I’ve known about Febreze for years, I wasn’t always comfortable using it in my home because in my mind, it was just another air freshener. Well, a few months ago, I was asked to sit in on a session with Febreze to candidly share my concerns and deep dive into the science behind their products. I have to say my mind was changed. 

Without getting too sciency, instead of just masking odors, which is what I thought it did, Febreze actually traps, neutralizes and eliminates odours at a molecular level. It uses ingredients that are completely safe to use around your family. The key molecule is called cyclodextrin, which is made from corn. It’s this donut shaped molecule that actually traps and weighs down an odour molecule right in the center. 

I should also mention that they have a product called Febreze Free that can be used on fabrics which has no scent at all. If you’re looking for a product with rigorous safety standards that effectively eliminates odours, Febreze definitely fits the bill. You can find a complete list of all the ingredients on their website.

For more really delightful scents for the home read: 8 Easy Ways to Make Your Home Smell Great

Steam Cleaning Works

Steam cleaners can also quickly freshen up fabric surfaces in your home. It’s a great way to clean sofas and chairs, among other things.  The heat of steam cleaning kills 99.9 percent of bacteria, germs and dust mites. But if you’re wondering where the dirt goes after using a steam cleaner, the answer is nowhere.  The heat from the water vapour (steam) effectively breaks down the dirt and makes it stop sticking to the surface, but in order to remove the loosened dirt, you still need to manually wipe it with a steam mop, cloth, or vacuum it away.

There is a downside to steam cleaning. You have to invest in a good steam cleaner, and take the time to learn how to use it properly.

Enzyme Cleaners are a Lifesaver

Another option is using an enzyme cleaner. The way enzyme cleaners work is you spray them onto a surface, allow them to sit for a few minutes, and the enzymes start to break down the source of the grease, grime or odour. Then you simply wipe it away. Enzymes are really great at removing stains, as well as odours.

Melissa holding vinegar

The Cleaning Power of Vinegar and Baking Soda

We’ve talked about soft surfaces, we’ve talked about hard surfaces, and now we will talk about plastic and other surfaces.  To deal with these, we can use pantry staples like vinegar and baking soda. Vinegar is great for cleaning and deodorizing plastic bins and garbage cans.  Just soak with white vinegar. 

Baking soda is a triple threat. It deodorizes, it whitens, and it is also a mild abrasive. Try putting it in your fridge and spice cupboard. I found that to be really effective at keeping smells at bay, and it’s so easy and inexpensive to do.  Just remember to swap out the box of baking soda with a new one every 4 months (or at the very least twice a year).

The Importance of Fresh Air

Over the past couple of years we’ve really learned the importance of indoor air quality. Not only does clean air smell better, but we know it keeps us healthier too. If indoor air quality is something that you want to focus on to help your whole home smell and feel better overall, there are a few things you can do.

First, get an indoor air purifier. I’ve been talking about this for a long time. I really really believe in them. 

Next, change your indoor furnace filter every three months, or at least four times a year. It’s one of those things that is very easy to forget about, but it does make a big difference. 

Third, open a window. It’s easy and it’s free. Just be mindful of the time of day and year that you do it. For example, if it is peak allergy season, don’t open the windows. If it’s rush hour near a busy road, don’t open the windows.

Keep it Simple

A fresh smelling home doesn’t have to be complicated. The methods aren’t expensive and they are easy to do. It’s just a matter of being mindful and attentive to those smells so that you can eliminate them and breathe in some fresh air.

If you could have your home smell like anything, what would it smell like? For me, it would have to be lemons. Let me know what you want your home to smell like in the comments down below. 

And if you want to learn more about cleaning with lemons, check out this video: 10 Useful Things You Can Clean with Lemon: Cleaning Ideas to Save Time & Money

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Melissa Maker is an entrepreneur, cleaning expert, founder of Toronto’s most popular boutique cleaning service, and star of the Clean My Space channel on YouTube (but she still hates to clean!). Every week, Melissa delivers new videos dishing expert advice on cleaning products, tools, DIY substitutes, and practical, timesaving solutions to everyday problems. Melissa has appeared on the Today Show, and has been featured in InStyle, Real Simple, and Better Homes and Gardens.


  1. Good to know these tips. Thank you for sharing!
    By the way, did you know that your AC can also be a source of foul odor in your home? It may happen if the unit is not properly ventilated and the coils are dirty. Another possible reason is that mold or mildew is growing inside the unit. Once you fix it, the musty smell will go away.

  2. Hi,
    Been addicted to your videos for yrs. I am about to move into a basement apartment and it has a musty smell as of now. How can I get rid of that smell so it doesn’t come back?
    I would love a lemon smelling home as well.
    Thank you


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