How Do I Keep My House Smelling Good? -- SWH

Updated on March 04, 2018
N.Z. asks from Los Angeles, CA
15 answers

How can I keep the house smelling good all the time? I heard plug-ins and candles are bad for the health? What are the alternatives?

Please don't suggest baking cookies/cooking. I simply don't have the time to do that consistently right now. Also, I've tried lemon/orange peels in the garbage disposal thing and while it works for the kitchen, it does not work for the entire house.

Thank you!

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So What Happened?

I don't think my house smells bad, but it doesn't smell good, either. I do the laundry AT LEAST every other day, do the dishes right away, wipe down the kitchen counter as I use it, and I have a housekeeper that comes every other week to do deep cleaning so I don't think it's my lack of housekeeping that's not keeping the house smelling good. But I love some of the suggestions so far!

Featured Answers



answers from Chicago on

You can put sprigs of eucalyptus around the house. You can also get some essential oils in clean fragrances like lavender, lemon, eucalyptus, etc and google how to make various diffusers, room sprays, and so on.

4 moms found this helpful

More Answers



answers from Boston on

To me, a "good" smelling house has no smell at all. As long as your house is clean, I see no reason to do anything further other than maybe open the windows and have plants/flowers around.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

Fresh flowers are wonderful if you can get or grow them.
I love lilacs myself and have a few bushes that I enjoy for a few weeks every year.

Before there were candles and plug ins (and I use both and don't really care if there's an issue with them or not) - there was potpourri.
In the old days - small bags with lavender in them was placed in drawers and linen closets.

You can put small bowls of the stuff around and it'll smell nice for while.
You can also put ingredients into a pot and simmer on the stove or in a crock pot - and let the scent waft as it simmers.

Things you can use for this:
cinnamon sticks
rose petals
pine needles
lemon/orange peels

4 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I love scented candles (including those that smell like cookies baking!) I also burn incense.
I don't know about health, but I feel like my place gets cleaned and aired out enough that I'm not really worried about polluted air.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Fe on

Are you saying your house has a smell? Or are you saying you just like it to smell like some kind of fragrance all the time? I am not a fan of fragrances. I find that if the house is clean it smells good. What sort of bad smell does your house have? Get to the bottom of that and clean it up. I once had a smell in our master bath. I cleaned everything in there but the smell persisted. I noticed one sink was draining slowly, so I used Draino twice to unplug the sink. The smell was completely gone after that. 1. Make sure everything is clean (under and around furniture, cat litter boxes, closets, bathrooms, bedding, etc). Don't let dirty clothes pile up. Keep the dog(s) clean. Keep the dog bed(s) clean...ours have removable covers we wash once a week. Mop the floors regularly. Wash the towels once a week. Clean the curtains/blinds each spring. Get the duvet's/comforters dry cleaned once a year. Every week wash the sheets from each bed. Open doors/windows now and then to air things out. If your house is clean then it should smell just fine.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

I have a diffuser. I love the smell of Thieves Oil. It is spicy and clean and just smells good to me. I put a couple of drops in the diffuser and the whole living room smells good.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Throw open your windows. Address damp. Clean. Declutter. Sprinkle your carpets and upholstery with baking soda and vacuum. Put fabric softener sheets in your hampers, garbage cans and waste baskets. Spray your lightbulbs while cold with a light perfume.

F. B.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I have things like cinnamon sticks around some candles on my table as a centerpiece, then I switch it out with fresh flowers, etc.

I have some scented candles in a window and when the sun hits, there's a nice smell.

I bring my summer geraniums in (they're in my kitchen) and those are blooming right now. So they smell really nice.

I have daffodils in my sunroom. You can pick up a few flowers now and just pop them around.

I have tangerines out on the counter. They are all just mildly fragrant but still smell nice.

We have nice lavender hand soap (the natural hand made kind) ... you can put some in jar in your washroom or by your kitchen sink. I had some at Christmas that was peppermint chocolate and you could smell it every time you went in the bathroom.

I use aromatherapy bounce sheets in our dryer, and that's usually going quite often.

Some people swear by essential oils. I find them a bit much if overused but there's little jars you can get etc.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

If you think your house does not smell "good", try to figure out what it smells *like* (the not-good smell) and attack that - sweaty sneakers, for example...maybe some gym or sports related clothing needs to be stored in the garage.

Also, instead of candles, think about the scent of your cleaning products - there are some good quality scented products available, like Mrs Meyer and Thymes Frasier Fir.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I think the perfect smelling house is one with no smell at all. Why does a house have to have a smell? I use air cleaners in several rooms so even in winter when we can't open the windows, the air doesn't get stale.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I run my diffuser every single day. Sometimes I diffuse something that makes me feel happy, other times because I feel like my house smells "weird." Especially in the winter here - I can't open windows and doors for fresh air like I can during the warmer months.

I do only use Young Living Oils - they are also food grade/seed to seal oils so I can use them in cooking or add a drop to my water bottle or coffee. However, that is just my preference - plus I like that I am not sniffing "chemicals" all day since I have one of the diffusers in my office.

I do also run a diffuser at bedtime with lavender or frankincense or eucalyptus - depending on what I am looking for. Two of our 3 dogs sleep in our room so that helps with the "doggy smell" that is kind of unavoidable! :)

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

Well, I guess it starts with the house being clean, kitchen, bathrooms, shoe closets (if you store your shoes in an enclosed space.)

I wouldn't go with candles or plug-ins. I'd use Febreze and air your home out.

I think that there is an air purifier that you can buy that is ionized. It helps the air be cleaner in your home.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

every time my neighbor opens a door or a window i smell their house. its like yankee candle company sent her a candle in every scent and shes burning them all at once! it is over powering. it is irritating. i can't be outside on a nice day when windows are open without smelling her house.
please don't be that neighbor!!
my moms office building keeps a scent going. i spent 10 minutes in her office the other day and it stuck to me! i could smell the office smell for about an hour after i left. gave me a headache!
so whatever scent you use please make sure its not over powering and gagging your neighbors out, and not strong enough to linger on a house guest for hours after they leave!

i use cooking quality coconut oil with 15-20 drops of the essential oil that suits my fancy for the week (or month.. or day) this month is lavender with hints of peppermint. it is in the wax melter that is heated by a light bulb. got the recipe off of pinterist

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

i adore scented things. i'd be a nightmare to the growing number of folks who are sensitive to scent.

i keep plug-ins in the breezeway where the exercise equipment and litter box live.

i burn a scented candle in the living room any time i'm in there. there are also scented oils in the hod on top of the woodstove.

i always have really good quality (like crabtree and evelyn) sprays in the bathrooms, not renuzit.

if you're worried about the chemicals in candles and plug ins, your only option is to keep everything scrubbed super clean and to buy flowers, right? what else is there?


2 moms found this helpful


answers from Denver on

I think many of those scents are irritating - when I was pregnant, the plug in scents made me throw up...that's probably some indicator that my body detected something toxic.
I frequently open my doors and windows even in the winter. I turn the heat down and get some fresh air. Also, change your furnace filter frequently. I've heard that it's almost better to by the really cheap filters and change them once a week. They also let more air through which is better for your heating bill. The fresh air is really the only thing that takes away odors...the fake scents just mask it with more. Also, my dd and husband get asthma when exposed to all of those chemicals.

1 mom found this helpful
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