Fight Bad Odours at Home – How to Fight 5 Common Sources of Unpleasant Smells

Fight Bad Odours at Home – How to Fight 5 Common Sources of Unpleasant Smells

Our noses can pick up all sorts of smells – sometimes you can’t even describe what they are or where they’re coming from. One thing’s for certain though, bad odours in your house or apartment are not something you or your friends should have to deal with. That’s why we’ve put together this comprehensive list of hidden spots that often go uncleaned, causing those terrible smells! Not only that, we want to let you know how to clean them, preventing them from resurfacing again, and how to do it all in the most eco-friendly way possible.

1. Start at the source: remove bad smells from your kitchen

Most people give the kitchen a quick once over on a daily basis – doing the washing up, wiping down surfaces and the like. But it’s easy to be lulled into a false sense of security here, as thinking it’s clean doesn’t mean it is actually clean. If you follow this style then you make be destined for something of a rude-awakening, in the form of an ungodly stench emanating from somewhere in the vicinity! But where is it? Difficult to determine, isn’t it?

There are several likely culprit locations for these odours which are listed below. First lets talk about the most effective materials and solutions to banish these smells:


Let’s take a moment to pay homage to vinegar; the clean freak’s – and the potato’s – best friend. Vinegar will neutralize most odour sources effectively and it is inexpensive and eco-friendly. A solution of water and vinegar (10-1) will be your buddy when smell hunting, particularly around the kitchen and bathroom. What’s more, once you have taken care of the cleaning, leaving a tub or pot with a little vinegar in it in a corner, will take care of and neutralize the air-born aromas you can’t usually get, without replacing them.

Absorb that bad smell with Coffee grounds:

Once done with your morning cuppa coffee, don’t be so keen to throw the grounds away. Did you know coffee also fights odours pretty well? Just as described above with vinegar, you can use your coffee ground collection to absorb smells in the air.
Tip: Putting coffee grounds in poorly ventilated areas – e.g. bin or fridge – is an effective way to combat odours.

Baking soda for the bins:

After a while, most bins and garbage cans will pick up something of an aroma – why not make it an attractive one? Every time you take out the bins, and clean the can (with vinegar), adding things like baking soda, lemon or, as mentioned before, coffee grounds absorb the unpleasant smells and help your trash to smell fresh. In the case of baking soda, this is especially true for many area of the house – which will not produce a smell of its own.

2. The fridge: how to clean it like a Pro!

bad odour fridge smell girl

The fridge is one of the filthiest places in the domicile. The vast variety of natural and, in some cases, unnatural products we have in the fridge allow for bacteria to accumulate and odours to be abundant. But don’t worry, follow the these coming tips to make even that weird drainage whole at the back smell like a meadow on a summers eve:

  1. Remove everything, throwing out things that should no longer be there. This includes the shelves draws and other detachable parts.
  2. Half fill up your bath with hot water and a good glug of vinegar. Throw in the shelves and other parts. If you don’t have a bath just wash them by hand.
  3. While the shelves & co. are soaking, get to work in the fridge. Use a vinegar soaked sponge and scrub till your heart is content, getting into all the nooks and crannies and the drain at the back. Leave nothing untouched.
  4. Wipe down the door of the fridge – especially the top
  5. DRY IT OUT! Everything should be bone dry before you put back the shelves & Co.
  6. Remove the shelves from the bath, scrubbing them with a sponge and rinsing them after with water. Same for the other compartments.
  8. Put everything back into the fridge, wiping and sterilizing the bottom of the food containers as you go!
  9. Tip: stick a small container in the door, with a little water and a few drops of vanilla extract, to keep it smelling fresh longer.

book a cleaner

3. The importance of ventilating your home!

Perfumes, food, cigarettes, waste, candles…. our home is a real hive chest of odours! Even if we can fight them individually, smells can still hang around for a while.  Follow these steps to sort that out:

  • Open the window! Simple tip, effective results!
  • Find the source of the odour! Often cupboards, cookware and under foot can be the most common sources of these smells, so look there first and give them a once over.
  • Create your own potpourri! For spray form, mix: 10x warm water, 1x vinegar and a couple drops of essential oils of your choice. Spray this everywhere – especially upholstry.

4. Drains and u-bends: prime suspects

unclean sink bad smell

Humid conditions can intensify a pungent smell. This is why drains and u-bend pipes can harbour some of the more unpleasant smells in and around our homes. It’s dark, damp and moist; the perfect breeding ground for a lot of bacteria. Food waste, especially fat, collects here as well as skin and hair. To keep your drains smelling fresh, take heed of the following:

By pouring boiling water down your drain, followed by cold water, repeatedly, you will chip away at the fat build up sitting in the u-bend. Then, after three or for cycles tip some baking soda down the whole, followed by about half a litre of hot vinegar. Leave this for half an hour or so and then rinse the drain through with more boiling water. This will work in the vast majority of cases.

If the smell still persists, detach the u-bend pipe underneath the sink, if possible. Blast hot water through the pipe to take out most of the grime, then use a thick bottle brush and some soap to clean out the rest. Ensure you screw the pipe back firmly in place, placing all the washers back as you go. Test that it has worked by running water through the drain and checking that it is water tight!

5. Bad smell from upholstery: how to clean it

Odours like tobacco smoke in your flat can decrease the value of your property by up to 30%! One of the core sources of this smell, and other, less desirable smells, can be upholstery. So, it’s important to regularly wash fabrics: pillowcases, bed sheets, sofa covers and curtains can be put into your washing machine with a cup of vinager. Once done, dry them outside so they get a good airing. Caution: take the laundry in once they have dried as high heat from the sun can reactive things like tobacco smells, instead of removing them!

If your sofa cover is not detachable, use the vinegar-water solution, mentioned earlier, to spray on the fabric.

Now, your home should be smelling clean and fresh! Congratulations!

Got any smell busting tips of your own? Lets us know.

Ratih has an intense passion for food. From sourcing ingredients to dining on a rooftop, she has done it all! Hit her up for advice on the best Indo food in Singapore!