How To Make Your Home Smell Good Naturally

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Did you know that there are really easy ways to beat bad odors and make your home smell good naturally?

I’ve often wondered why there are so many questions swirling around this topic.  And I realized that the home fragrance category is a big confusing mess.  

There are products that deposit fragrances like candles and plug-ins.  There are also products that eliminate or absorb odors like Febreeze and baking soda. 

But what if you’re sensitive to fragrances and just want to make your home smell good naturally?

In this post, we’ll talk about several different ways to do just that.

You can try one or a combination of these suggestions to keep everything smelling clean and fresh in your home all the time.

Let’s get started.

How To Make Your Home Smell Good Naturally

How To Keep Your House Smelling Good All the Time

Of course, every homeowner wants their home to smell good.  It’s calming and inviting to come home to a fresh-smelling house. 

It’s easy to achieve that with a few last-minute spritzes of air freshener or lighting a candle.  

But, if you want to keep your home smelling fresh without those things you’ll need to establish a few habits or routines in your home. 

Let’s break this down into 3 sections.  

First, we’ll talk about how to eliminate odors regularly.  Then, we’ll tackle fresh air circulation.  And, finally, we’ll discuss a few easy daily housekeeping chores that will keep your home from developing unpleasant odors.

How To Eliminate Odors Regularly

Garbage Disposals

Run your garbage disposal with running water not only when you’re trying to dispose of food scraps but also, before and after you run your dishwasher.

This is important for eliminating odors from both the garbage disposal itself and the dishwasher.  

It is standard practice for the dishwasher to be connected to the garbage disposal pipes.  If you do not clear your disposal before running your dishwasher it may have trouble draining, leaving wastewater and food scraps in the bottom of the dishwasher.  

Moreover, because it is a closed, warm, and wet box it is the perfect breeding ground for smelly bacteria.

Similarly, if you do not clear your garbage disposal after you run the dishwasher, bits of food sent from the dishwasher to the garbage disposal pipes may sit and begin to emit foul odors in your sink.

Garbage disposal

Trash bins

It goes without saying that the more often you’re able to remove waste from your house the better.

Ideally, you want to empty trash bins inside of your home daily.  This means that you transfer trash from the small bins in your house to an outside collection bin.  

Collection bins may be in your garage, outside in your side yard, or a communal dumpster.

It’s equally as important to clean and disinfect the bottom of your waste bins regularly.

Occasionally trash bags get punctured and waste can spill on the bottom of the trash bin.  If it sits there too long bad odors can develop.

For most bins, a quick rinse of soap and water will do the job. For diaper pails and kitchen trash cans, I recommend disinfecting regularly as well.

You can do this weekly or make it a monthly cleaning task.

Kitchen garbage bin

Soft Surfaces

Soft surfaces can develop bad odors over time, depending on a lot of factors: Do you have pets? Do you allow eating in the living room? Do you have young children? 

Soft surfaces like sofas, chairs, bedding, curtains, and rugs can be at the receiving end of bad odors especially when there is a lot of activity going on in the house.

If you have pets, don’t forget that pet dander and pet hair can stick on any surface. 

Your family rules and individual behaviors can also have an impact on how frequently you need to clean your soft surfaces.

Vacuum your sofas and chairs regularly, especially if you have pets.  

In the end, the longer you let hair, dander, crumbs, and dirt sit, the worse your upholstery will smell.  So stay ahead of it by cleaning these surfaces regularly.

dog and feet on sofa


I don’t know about you but the dishwasher is vital in my household.  As one who grew up without a dishwasher and painfully washed and dried all the dishes by hand for all of my childhood, I greatly appreciate this appliance.

However, if not maintained properly the dishwasher can become the source of some truly foul smells in your kitchen.

Never forget to clean the things that clean your other things.  The dishwasher is at the top of that list.

Grease, food scraps, and soap debris can build up in the dishwasher as well.

Cleaning the dishwasher couldn’t be easier.  Simply sprinkle some baking soda at the bottom of the dishwasher (not in the detergent dispenser).  Then, set a cup filled with vinegar on the top rack.

Run a hot cycle and you’re done.  Your dishwasher will be sparkling and odor-free at the end of the cycle.

Do this at least every 3 months to keep everything fresh, clean, and odor-free inside of your dishwasher.

dirty dishwasher

Washing Machine

Another hard-working appliance that may be in need of some time out and tender loving care is your washing machine. 

If your machine has a weird odor, there might be the presence of mold to deal with. This can happen if you neglect to leave the lid open after running a cycle.

It’s incredibly important to let your washing machine dry out completely.  Moisture inside of a sealed environment is a breeding ground for mold and mildew.

So, to avoid those musty odors before they start, leave the lid or door open after you’ve completed the washing cycle for at least 2 hours.

Personally, I always leave my lid open.  It makes it easy for me to toss dirty clothes and towels directly into the washer throughout the day.  

If you have a front load washer, however, you may not want to leave the door ajar where people could bump into it.  

If this is the case, just leave it open for a couple of hours after you wash your clothes to give it a chance to dry out well before closing it.

dirty washing machine


Sweaty gym clothes, damp rags, and baby messes can create unbearable odors in your home.  Here are a few things I’ve learned over the years…

  1. Never clean up spilled milk with a rag and forget to rinse it out before placing it with the dirty laundry.
  2. Never put sweaty gym clothes or any damp clothing or rags in the hamper if you’re not immediately doing a wash.
  3. Don’t forget washcloths in the shower.
  4. Don’t reuse kitchen towels and dish rags for more than 2 days (ideally change them daily)

I could go on and on, but these are the most common causes of odors in the laundry that I’ve encountered.

pile of dirty laundry

Litter Box

Where there are pets, there are pet odors. It’s unavoidable. 

When it comes to litter boxes, be sure to clean them weekly. Empty the litter box and wash with mild soap and water. 

Replace the litter weekly. Scoop out the droppings on a daily basis and wash the litter scoop to avoid any unpleasant smells sticking to it.

cleaning litter box

Pet Cages

Pet cages are an environment where microbes and bacteria thrive.

Cleaning must then go beyond just removing visible dirt; pet cages must be disinfected at least once a week.

Remember to remove all accessories and wash with a pet-friendly cleaner and disinfectant. Discard all litter and old bedding materials. 

Scrub the cage with a brush or sponge using mild soap and warm water. Rinse the cage in hot water and allow it to dry fully. 

Finally, return all accessories and cage items.


Fish Tanks

A clean aquarium helps to create a soothing, relaxing environment. Not only that, it helps to prolong the health and contentment of your pet fish.

But, if you’re ever owned a fish you know cleaning a fish tank is a chore that we all too often press the snooze button on.

In fact, growing up I remember most people’s version of the snooze button on fish tank maintenance was to get an algae eater fish in the hopes that it would clean the talk for you.

I’m laughing just thinking about it.

Unfortunately, this will not stop that tank water from stinking for long.

Even if you have filters installed, you will still need to do a good old-fashioned cleaning if you want to keep your tank looking and smelling good. 

At the very least you need to do a weekly water change not just for managing odors in your home but to ensure the wellbeing of your fish as well.

Do a deep clean of your tank every 6 months. This means you will have to put your fish in a temporary container, unplug everything and remove all decorations and accessories. 

For more details on how to deep clean a fish tank check out this post from Fish Tank World.

cleaning fish tank


Spills can occur inside the microwave when it is used day-in and day-out. 

Luckily, there’s an easy method to make it smell clean, with the use of lemon slices and a bit of water.

Put a bowl of water with thin lemon slices in the microwave and run it for 2 – 3 minutes.

This will steam your microwave and loosen up the grime and food debris while also giving off a  citrusy scent.

Afterward, you are able to wipe it down easily with a damp cloth. To finish, wipe off with a dry microfiber cloth.

Alternatively, if you don’t mind the smell of vinegar, combine a mixture of half vinegar and half water in lieu of the lemon slices for this job.

While the vinegar does have a strong smell initially, it will dissipate and your microwave will be left with a neutral odor-free smell.

I’ve been using this method for years.  It’s made cleaning the microwave a breeze.



Look, we don’t even need to get into the details of why toilets smell bad.  We already know.

Much like the microwave trick, several years ago I learned how to clean my toilet using a really easy method.

Check out this video from Melissa Maker at Clean My Space for the tutorial.

Beyond the basics of cleaning your toilet, don’t forget the floor or any nearby rugs.  If there are any toilet bowl misses, these spaces are sure to develop odors in time if not cleaned properly.

Toilets can contain high amounts of mold, germs and yeast-which is an indicator that many people are not cleaning their toilets properly.

Toilets should be cleaned as often as possible but at least once a week.

If you follow the Fly Lady cleaning routine you’ll be cleaning toilets daily.  If you follow the Clean Mama routine it’s weekly.

How To Circulate Fresh Air

It is important to let fresh air circulate in your home for so many reasons.

Beyond the health implications, keeping fresh air circulating in your home does wonders when you’re trying to make your home smell good naturally.

Airing out your home will help exchange the air, thus getting rid of unpleasant smells and removing impurities.

Here are easy ways to ensure the circulation of fresh air:

Open your windows daily

The best time to open your windows and let fresh air in is in the morning, before 10 AM. 

Try to open windows that don’t open onto the street.  Instead, if you have the option, use the ones near trees, bushes, and yards. 

Fifteen minutes is all you need to air out your rooms and your entire home.

This should also be done before you’re expecting visitors to your home.  I touch on this more in the post Company Ready: 15 Minute Express House Cleaning Routine for Last-Minute Guests

opening window

Vacuum & Dust Weekly

If your home has carpeting or rugs, remember to vacuum weekly. 

If you have pets, dander and pet hair can stick to rugs and carpets, so a good round of dusting and vacuuming may need to be done more frequently.


Daily Housekeeping To Keep Your Home Smelling Good Naturally

Of course, daily housekeeping is needed in order to keep things tidy, but it also helps ensure that no smells develop in your kitchen or laundry area.

Empty Sink, Wash Dishes, Take Out Trash (daily)

Even chores as simple as emptying the sink, washing dishes, and taking out the trash daily can help eliminate bad odors in the kitchen. 

Avoid letting the trash accumulate. Remove it from your interior daily.  Wipe down your counters and clean your sink daily.

washing dishes in sink

Run a cycle of laundry (daily or every other day)

As we talked about in the laundry section above, leaving piles of soiled laundry can generate odor quickly. This is especially true if you have wet items like sweaty gym clothes and wash rags sitting in the pile.

Avoid the problem altogether by doing a load every day or every other day.  Just make sure to set your cycles accordingly so you aren’t wasting too much water.

For most laundry, the quick cycle is all you need.


These things will make your home smell good naturally without any additional fragrance.

I hope you found this post helpful.  If you did, please share it with a friend and join the mailing list before you go.

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For more from Dianne Decor, follow me on Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, and Medium.


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