How to Remove Strong House Odors

Opening windows adds fresh, clean-smelling air to your home.
Opening windows adds fresh, clean-smelling air to your home. (Image: Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images)

Unpleasant odors in your house can come from a variety of sources. Strong food odors from the kitchen, the presence of mold and mildew or pets in need of a bath can all contribute toward a less-than-pleasant smelling home. You must determine the source of the smell in order to completely remove it. Otherwise you are merely masking the smell. Once the odor-causing material has been removed, natural supplies you may already have in your pantry will remove the smell by absorbing and neutralizing it.

Things You'll Need

  • Bowls
  • White vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Vacuum
  • Bucket
  • Clean cloths
  • Old pantyhose
  • Cinnamon sticks
  • Whole cloves
  • Vanilla extract

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Fill small bowls with white vinegar. Set the bowls in any rooms with strong odors to neutralize and remove the odor. Leave the bowls of vinegar in your rooms for at least 24 hours.

Sprinkle baking soda on carpeting, upholstery and pet bedding to remove strong odors embedded in non-washable surfaces. The baking soda absorbs the odors as it sits on the surfaces overnight. Vacuum the baking soda up the next day.

Use an odor absorber and your vacuum to remove strong odors.
Use an odor absorber and your vacuum to remove strong odors. (Image: vacuum cleaner image by vb_photo from

Pour 1/2 cup each white vinegar and baking soda in a bucket of warm water. Use the natural all-purpose cleaner and deodorizer to wash off surfaces such as walls, flooring and hard-surfaced furniture to remove odors caused by smoke. Rinse the surfaces off with a damp cloth then dry them with another cloth.

Place broken cinnamon sticks, whole cloves and a couple drops of vanilla extract in the toes of an old pair of pantyhose. Tie the end of the pantyhose and place it inside your heating vent. Every time the heat or air conditioner goes on, odor absorbing vanilla will waft through the air. The cinnamon and cloves give your rooms a pleasant scent.

Vanilla gets rid of strong odors.
Vanilla gets rid of strong odors. (Image: vanilla beans image by joanna wnuk from

Tips & Warnings

  • Place activated charcoal powder in bowls and use them to remove odors from small rooms or closets.
  • Wave a cloth dampened with vinegar around to remove fresh odors in your home.
  • Boil white vinegar or lemon juice on the stove top to remove odors in the air.


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