How to Deodorize a Room: Natural Recipes For A Fresh Smelling Home (2023)

  • A DIY room deodorizer can absorb odors without leaving behind chemical smells
  • Essential oils provide a great way to enhance the air quality in each room
  • Regular cleaning goes a long way in eliminating foul odors

Have you ever forgotten to take the trash out before vacation? You come home to a house ridden with a very unappealing smell. Even when you get rid of the garbage, the room smell can linger for days.

While it's tempting to spray down the home with commercial air fresheners, these contain chemicals that are harmful to human health. Over 20 percent of the general U.S. population have reported having adverse health effects from air fresheners.

To help you get rid of common household smells in a safe way, we've created a guide on how to deodorize a room with natural air filters. It includes a natural DIY room deodorizer recipe and eight hacks for getting rid of specific home odors, replacing the room smell with clean air. Read through to find what household items and cleaning supplies you can use to rid these unpleasant smells.

How to make a basic DIY room deodorizer with a spray bottle

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To create a natural air freshener that isn't harmful to your health, you only need four items. Make this spray and use it as an air filter when bad smells come into your apartment.


  • 1 ½ tablespoons baking soda
  • 3 cups water
  • 30-40 drops of essential oil
  • Misting spray bottle


Step 1: Add 30-40 drops of your preferred essential oil with the baking soda. Stir until it's completely mixed together.

Step 2: Pour this baking soda and essential oil combination into a spray bottle.

Step 3: Add the three cups of water to the bottle. Shake to mix.

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Step 4: Spray the area in the light misting setting.

You can personalize this natural DIY home deodorizer with any scent. Each essential oil has its own unique properties, so be sure to pick one that fits the space you're using the cleaner in. For example, an orange essential oil works better in the kitchen than lavender, which is a scent that promotes slumber, making it better suited for the bedroom.

Why does baking soda work to deodorize a room?

Many room deodorizing recipes, including the one above, call for baking soda. Baking soda or sodium bicarbonate has a low pH level. Most bad odors have a high pH level, meaning they're acidic. By adding baking soda to the environment, you're neutralizing the area, causing the lingering odors to fade, improving the air quality and leaving your house smelling fresh.

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Turn essential oils into air fresheners for each room

When making this DIY room deodorizer, you can choose your preferred natural scent to use to eliminate odors while making the room smell good without the chemical smell that a commercial air freshener spray, plug-in air fresheners or scented candles may have. If you aren't sure what will smell best, here are some essential oil suggestions for each room.

Living room

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The living room is an area you'll be hosting people, as well as relaxing. Depending on the tone you're trying to set for the entire room, a few drops of vanilla or cinnamon essential oil could be a good fit.

Vanilla is known to improve relaxation and create a tranquil environment. If you want to relax after a long day in your sparkling-clean living room, vanilla is the right choice for you. For those who are having friends over for a book club or social event, cinnamon might be a better fit. The scent of cinnamon sticks boosts memory and increases alertness.


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Make the kitchen a productive place by using citrus or peppermint essential oil when scenting your DIY deodorizer. If you have a long afternoon of meal prepping ahead, citrus is known to boost energy and improve your mood.

For the non-chefs who can get frustrated in the kitchen, a peppermint scent will alleviate stress and reduce irritability while removing unpleasant odors. It also helps remove the foul smells of leftover food.


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A restful space, the bedroom can benefit from lavender or chamomile essential oils. These calming scents both reduce anxiety. Lavender also promotes relaxation, which can help you fall asleep. Chamomile can improve your mood, great for those who wake up on the wrong side of the bed.

Other rooms

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If you have a laundry room, playroom or any other room to deodorize, you might consider tea tree or eucalyptus oils. These natural smells each have their own unique properties. Tea tree oil has antifungal benefits and is an immune booster. Eucalyptus essential oil is cleansing and known to lift moods. Both serve as an effective air freshener to remove lingering smells and improve indoor air quality.

8 common household smells and how to rid them

Whether your home is new to you or you've lived in it for multiple years, you've probably come across one of these common household smells. We explain why they happen and how to rid them from your home. In addition, we suggest an essential oil that you can use to alleviate stagnant air and remove any funky smells.

1. Stale air

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Stale air is a smell that's hard to describe, but easy to identify. It's usually caused when the indoor air begins to feel stuffy or humid due to a lack of fresh air. If the weather is nice, you can remove these musty smells by opening the windows and letting fresh air in. However, if it's too hot or too cold out, letting in outdoor air isn't an option.

In that case, you can create your own stale air deodorizer by cutting lemons in half and placing them throughout the home as natural air fresheners. Another quick solution is to rub a little vanilla essential oil on the outside of your light bulbs. Be sure to do this when the light is off. Once you turn the light on, it will heat up and start smelling sweet.

2. Carpet smells

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Whether you're moving into a new apartment with carpet, you spilled something on your rug or your pet left behind pet urine, this absorbent flooring is prone to smell.

To get rid of carpet smells, such as cigarette smoke, baking soda is your friend. Sprinkle baking soda on the entire carpet and let it sit for a few hours. Then, vacuum it up. The baking soda should absorb odors, leaving the carpet free of bad smells.

It's best to do this when you're out of the house for a period of time. While baking soda doesn't have any chemicals to neutralize odors, it can leave a mess if people in your house walk through it.

If you have area rugs, you can treat them with baking soda and then hang them up outside. The fresh air will do wonders for removing odors. While the rugs are outside, mop down your hardwood floors to ensure there are no lingering odors.

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3. Fridge odors

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Does your fridge smell even after you clean out your leftovers? This is because the plastic in the refrigerator absorbs odors. Even if you've scrubbed out every crumb, spill and mildew growth using hot water, the plastic might still stink.

To prevent or mute this foul odor, try putting a box of baking soda in the fridge. Baking soda will absorb these smells and leave your fridge smelling clean after just a couple of days.

Another alternative to this is leaving coffee grounds in a container in your fridge. Similar to baking soda, coffee grounds also act as odor absorbers, leaving your fridge smelling like a freshly brewed cup of joe.

4. Garbage disposal stink

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If you go to wash dishes and notice there's an odor coming from your drain, it could be your garbage disposal. It's easy for food to get caught in hard-to-reach places, preventing it from being washed down the drain.

Some people put citrus peels down their garbage disposal to absorb odors, but this doesn't clean the food that's causing these bad smells. To clean, place a handful of ice in your sink drain. Then, pour a cup of salt on top. Run the water and turn on the garbage disposal. The ice and salt will slowly drain into the garbage disposal, cleaning it and sharpening the blades.

5. Mold or mildew

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Mold and mildew can leave a musty smell in your home. If you have serious mold growth, it's important to have a professional take care of it. Mold spores are known to cause many respiratory issues.

If the smell of mold persists, you can use an odor absorber to dull the scent. Baking soda, charcoal and kitty litter are all items that can soak up any moisture in the air and get rid of the foul odors. Place one of these in a bowl near the bad smells. to act as an air freshener Be sure it's out of reach of small children or pets.

6. Washing machine smells

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Your washing machine makes your sweaty clothes fresh and clean, but what do you do when it begins to have a mildewy or sour scent? Washers are prone to a build-up of soap, dirt or hair. Over time, this can turn into a breeding ground for an unnatural moldy stink.

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To clean, begin by getting rid of any debris that's caught in the gasket, or rubber liner, of your washing machine. Wipe this rim down with a mixture of vinegar and tea tree essential oil. This is an antifungal formula that will clean off any leftover dirt.

Using this same mixture, measure two cups of white vinegar and 20 drops of tea tree essential oil into the liquid tray. Run it on a hot cycle or cleaning cycle. When done, wipe the interior with a damp cloth; a microfiber cloth works best.

You can prevent some of this build-up by leaving the lid open after each wash cycle. This will allow your washer to dry out completely. It's also helpful to use the correct amount of detergent for your dirty laundry. Creating too many suds can result in leftover residue that attracts dirt.

7. Pet smells

We love our pets, but their pet dander, pet hair, pet urine and other odors can add up to some really bad smells. To freshen up their spaces, and, in turn, your rooms, clean their beds and favorite cushions by throwing them in the wash each week. For stubborn smells, you can sprinkle baking soda to help absorb and remove odors.

Regardless of which litter you choose, litter boxes tend to smell sooner rather than later. Always make sure to change the litter as directed. You also can set a box of baking soda in the room where the litter box is to absorb odors. Just make sure it's out of the reach of your cats.

8. Skunk stench

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If your clothes or your pet has been skunked, the attacker will leave a pungent smell that can last for weeks. This stink can easily be transferred to the house.

For houses that smell like skunk inside (but not outside), open all the windows for proper ventilation and turn on the fan. Heat up a tray of white vinegar on the stove on low heat. This should overpower the skunk smell.

If the smell is on your pet, The Humane Society suggests mixing together a quart of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide, a quarter cup of baking soda and a teaspoon of dish soap. Use a pair of gloves and wash your pet with this mixture. Be sure to avoid their eyes and don't store this mixture, it has the potential to explode in a bottle.

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Make the most of fresh air

When the weather is nice, take advantage of it by opening your windows to let in fresh air. This will help remove unwanted odors and improve air quality inside the home.

Of course, if you have allergies, check the exterior air quality first to make sure the pollen and smog counts are low, no one is burning debris and there are no unwanted smells, such as animal odors or road construction smells.

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Keep your apartment fresh

Regular cleaning will keep your home clean and free of these unwanted bad odors. This includes sweeping and mopping, washing dirty laundry, picking up after pets and washing dishes and throwing out leftovers. These chores will go a long way in keeping a room deodorized.

To make sure you overlook no space, create a daily schedule of spaces and items to clean that day. Doing a little bit each day will make the task of cleaning much more manageable so you don't feel overwhelmed.

For more home hacks like these, check out our cleaning and maintenance advice page.


What is the best homemade room deodorizer? ›

Add about 25 drops of your favorite essential oil to 2 tablespoons of baking soda and stir to combine. Lemon and lavender are great choices, but eucalyptus is my favorite because of the refreshing scent. Pour the baking soda and essential oil mix into the water and stir. Then funnel the water into your spray bottle.

How can I deodorize my room naturally? ›

How To Deodorize House: Important Steps
  1. White vinegar. Removes odors naturally, both on surfaces around the home and in the air.
  2. Baking soda. Absorbs odors. ...
  3. Boiling spices. Like cinnamon in a little bit of water releases their fragrance into the air in a non-harmful, chemical-free way.
  4. Burn soy or beeswax candles.

What absorbs smells in a room? ›

Some of the best odor eliminators are coffee grounds, tea, vinegar, oats, and baking soda. Leaving a bowl of any of these odor absorbers out in a room that's due for a little freshening up will help clear out the less-than-pleasant smells from the air.

What absorbs odor best? ›

#1 - Baking soda

Baking soda is one of the best items you can use to absorb bad smells. You can leave an open box or bowl of baking soda in your refrigerator and sprinkle some in the bottom of your trash cans to neutralize foul odors that tend to develop in these places.

What naturally absorbs odor? ›

Rather than plugging deodorizers into your electrical sockets or lighting an arsenal of scented candles, use a few household staples such as baking soda, distilled white vinegar, coffee grounds, vanilla extract and lemons to get rid of odors once and for all.

What is the healthiest way to scent your home? ›

If you want your living spaces to smell good while preserving a healthy environment, here are seven preferable options.
  • Open the Windows. ...
  • Fresh Flowers. ...
  • Essential Oils. ...
  • Linen Spray. ...
  • Natural Cleaners. ...
  • Bake Cookies. ...
  • Natural Reed Diffusers.
Dec 9, 2019

Will a bowl of vinegar absorb odor? ›

Deodorize the Room

Unpleasant odors lurk in the carpets, rugs, and upholstery. To remove these musty smells, fill a dish with half an inch of white vinegar and leave it out in the room until the smell dissipates.

What can I boil to clean the air? ›

Liven up stale and stuffy air by simmering whole spices and citrus peels. To a large pot of water, add 1/4 cup whole cloves, 4 whole nutmegs, 6 cinnamon sticks, and the peel of 2 lemons or one orange.

What scent gets rid of odor? ›

Lemon. This is probably the most well-known oil for its clean and fresh smell, which makes it perfect for eliminating household odors. It's also extremely versatile.

What essential oil blends for odor elimination? ›

option 1: 10 drops lemon + 10 drops tea tree + 10 drops lavender. option 2: 12 drops eucalyptus + 10 drops spearmint + 8 drops rosemary. option 3: 15 drops orange + 5 drops lemon + 5 drops lime + 5 drops grapefruit.

What is an odor eliminator? ›

An odor eliminator is exactly what it sounds like. It's a product specifically formulated to eliminate odors from your home. You can find eliminators like these in formats such as sprays, gels, scents, and even electronic molekules.

What makes your house smell good the longest? ›

Deactivated charcoal: Charcoal will not add a scent to the air but it will absorb malodors. Baking soda: Just as baking soda works to absorb odors in your refrigerator, a bowl placed in a room will also absorb odors. Lemon water: Water absorbs odors and adding slices of fresh lemon will provide a clean citrus scent.

How do you use vinegar to freshen the air? ›

Better Ways to Freshen the Air

Vinegar – White vinegar is an effective natural deodorizer and mild disinfectant. Combine a teaspoon of vinegar with 2 cups of water in a spray bottle then lightly mist the air (you can also stir in a few drops of essential oils).

How long does it take vinegar to absorb odors? ›

Keep things dry with a dehumidifier in your basement, and try leaving out a bowl of vinegar for around 15 minutes to neutralize any odor.

What kind of vinegar kills smell? ›

White vinegar contains acetic acid, which neutralizes odors by killing the bacteria and mildew causing the bad smell.

How do I naturally purify the air in my house? ›

Himalayan pink salt is a natural air purifier that pulls toxins from the environment and neutralises them.
Though their effect is more when turned on, they work even when turned off, because of the salt crystals in them.
  1. Beeswax Candles. ...
  2. Houseplants. ...
  3. Activated Charcoal. ...
  4. Proper ventilation. ...
  5. Essential Oils.
Jan 17, 2017

How can I disinfect my home air naturally? ›

Natural Ways to Purify and Clean Indoor Air
  1. Vacuum Away Air Pollution. Invest in a good vacuum and use it regularly. ...
  2. Brush Fido. ...
  3. Use Natural Air Fresheners. ...
  4. Beeswax Candles. ...
  5. Check the HVAC System. ...
  6. Avoid Mold and Mycotoxins. ...
  7. Choose Low VOC Furnishings. ...
  8. Cut Down on Cooking Pollution.
Jan 13, 2021

How do you disinfect air in your home? ›

Simple things you can do to improve your indoor air quality include: Reduce dust by vacuuming regularly and using a microfiber or damp cloth for dusting. Reduce humidity to avoid mold and mildew buildup and change appliance filters regularly. And make sure to test your home for dangerous gases like radon.

Can you boil ground cinnamon to make your house smell good? ›

Simmer some spices.

Simply take a few sticks of cinnamon and simmer them in a small pot of water on your stove. Once your house house smells all warm and cinnamon-y, switch off the burner, and fish out the cinnamon sticks. Let them dry and you can use them a few more times before they lose their potency.

What is a natural odor absorber? ›

Yet a few inexpensive household essentials you probably have on hand already—vinegar, salt, coffee, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide—will neutralize most noxious odors around your home and in your vehicles.

Does boiling lemons make your house smell good? ›

Add a fresh fragrance to a room.

The fresh smell of lemons makes them a natural choice to freshen a room. For hours of fragrance, simmer them by themselves or with some cinnamon sticks or cloves on top the stove or in a simmer pot. Add water as needed.

Why do you throw cinnamon at your door? ›

So why do you have to spread it by your front doorway specifically? “Doors, in esoteric practice, represent the portal between the outside world and our internal, spiritual space,” Rose says. So by spreading cinnamon at the front door, you're essentially attracting prosperity into your household.

Do orange peels make your house smell good? ›

Orange peels make a home smell cozy and clean. You can boil orange peels with mulling spices like cinnamon and cloves to send a fresh autumnal aroma through the air. Boiling orange peels with lemon and grapefruit peels create a fresh, vibrant, and energizing aroma that makes your house smell clean and pristine.


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