How to Make Your House Smell Good

Who doesn’t want their home to smell good? It seems like such a simple thing, and yet it can be difficult to achieve. If you’re wondering how to make your home smell like a spa, you’ve come to the right place. In this ultimate guide, we walk you through everything you can do to make your house smell nice, from determining the source of bad smells to lighting scented candles.

Check for problem spots.

The first step to making your house smell good is to get rid of anything that smells bad. Conduct a smell test all over your house, looking for areas with not-so-great fragrances. Pay special attention to known problem areas such as the garbage disposal in the kitchen, trash cans in bathrooms, stinky shoe racks in the mudroom, and any litter boxes. Clean up each area and dispose of anything that could be causing a bad smell. Also watch out for humid rooms with bad ventilation, as this encourages mold and rot, which also smell bad. You might need to get a dehumidifier or install a better fan to encourage ventilation and dry out the space.

Use odor neutralizers.

Some things are probably going to smell a little off no matter how much you clean them — for example, litter boxes and trash cans. Look for odor-neutralizing products such as litter and trash bags that will help reduce some of the bad smells. You can also utilize popular household products such as baking soda, which will absorb smells and clean up the air. While there’s no replacement for getting rid of the source, these odor neutralizers can keep otherwise unavoidable smells in check.

woman looking through fridge

Investigate your fridge.

Even with the cooler temperatures, your fridge can still get funky fast. Go through your produce and use up anything that’s about to go off — and throw it out if it’s already begun to rot. Check the expiration dates on all your other products. If they smell and/or taste weird, or mold has begun growing on them, throw them out as well. Wipe everything down and make sure the shelves dry before putting any food back in the fridge. Organize the fridge so that nothing will get shoved to the back and left to mold for months. For a final touch, put an open container of baking soda inside to absorb any bad smells.

Clean out the garbage disposal.

Your garbage disposal can get pretty gross, so give it a cleaning once a month or so. Save up citrus and orange peels, then put them down the drain and run the disposal. If you need some extra cleaning power, you can freeze them in an ice cube tray and then put the ice down the disposal (the frozen water will act as an abrasive cleaner). If you don’t have citrus peels on hand, you can also use ice and rock salt to clean it up as well. Give the sink a wipe down while you’re at it to get rid of any gunk that’s built up in the corners.

save citrus peels garbage disposal graphic

Open a window.

If the weather is sunny and dry, and there’s not too much pollen in the air, open your windows and let the sunshine in. The air will circulate through your house, spiriting away any bad smells and helping to dry out humid rooms. The sunlight will also help kill germs, bacteria, and other nasties that can contribute to bad smells. If the forecast calls for rain, keep an eye on the windows and close them up if bad weather rolls through. This way, nothing will get wet and undermine your hard work.

Light some scented candles.

Scented candles are one of the easiest ways to make your home smell nice on demand. Available in scents to match almost every preference, candles will make your house smell good just a few minutes after lighting the wick. Look for candles made from all natural, clean burning waxes such as soy and coconut wax. Other waxes such as paraffin can create more soot and put toxins into the air, which interferes with the scent and kind of defeats the purpose. Our standard Homesick 13.75 oz. soy candle offers 60-80 hours of burn time and comes in many fantastic scents inspired by memories, home states, and more.

Make stovetop potpourri.

potpourri ingredients in jar

Dusty potpourri isn’t just old fashioned, it also doesn’t offer that much of a scent. That’s why stovetop potpourri is fast becoming a thing. Combine ingredients such as chopped fruits, fresh herbs, cinnamon sticks, and spices in a pot. Add some water and turn the heat up until it simmers. There are all kinds of possible scent combinations, from fresh and citrusy to woody and herbally to smoky and spicy. If you’re having guests over, throw a pot of this on the stove, and they’ll be impressed with both your ingenuity and how good your home smells.

Bake something delicious.

If stovetop potpourri isn’t your thing, you can always go the old fashioned route and bake something delicious to fill your home with good smells. Baked goods like cookies, brownies, and cake are always a good bet, as are savory crock pot meals that will fill your home with tasty scents for hours on end. As an added bonus, you’ll be able to eat when your tasty treats are done baking — unlike the stove potpourri, which has to be thrown out when it’s done simmering.

bake tasty scents graphic

Set up diffusers.

There are many different types of fragrance oil diffusers available for every type of room and budget. Reed diffusers absorb the oil via microscopic channels and release it into the air. Reed diffusers don’t require electricity and can be left to passively diffuse oil 24/7, making them perfect for entryways, bathrooms, and other areas with good air circulation. Ultrasonic aroma diffusers atomize water and fragrance oil using sonic waves instead of heat and disperse them as tendrils of mist. There are also electric diffusers, which use heat to atomize the fragrance oils. Note: this can destroy the oil’s original structure, which is why we opted to use ultrasonic technology for our Homesick aroma diffuser.

Try out room sprays and mists.

If you need to spruce up a room’s fragrance immediately and temporarily, grab a room spray and get to work. You can purchase them premade or make your own by mixing a few drops of oil into water and putting it in a spray bottle. Do keep in mind that the scent from room sprays will be weaker and fade faster than that of some of the other options on this list. That’s because water dilutes the fragrance oil, and it takes heat or ultrasonic waves to atomize the oil and fully take advantage of the oil’s fragrance.

Make your own air fresheners.

Unfinished wood is an excellent carrier for fragrance oils because the wood is so absorbent. (Just make sure it’s actually unfinished, and not covered with a clear lacquer or paint.) You can pick up many unfinished wood products at your local craft store, including clothespins and ornaments. Rub a little bit of oil into the wood, let it absorb, and then place the objects around your house. Clothespins can be clipped to lampshades, curtains, and other objects, while ornaments can be hung from doorknobs and hooks. Breathe in deep and enjoy your all natural DIY air fresheners.

Take advantage of baking soda.

baking soda in spoon

You know you should stick a box of baking soda in the fridge, but there are many other uses for this versatile (and cheap) household product. Due to its highly absorbent nature, baking soda works as both an odor neutralizer and a carrier for nice-smelling oils. You can scatter it on carpets, mattresses, and anything else that can’t be washed. After letting it sit for a few hours, vacuum up the baking soda and enjoy your new-smelling couch. You can also mix a few drops of fragrance oils with a handful of baking soda and put a decorative dish on a counter or table for a quick DIY diffuser.

Make dryer sheets do double duty.

Dryer sheets can make many other things smell nice besides just your laundry. Drop a dryer sheet at the bottom of your trash can before replacing the trash bag to help absorb some of the bad smells (and disperse good smells, if you buy scented dryer sheets). You can also tape dryer sheets to the front of a box fan to manually diffuse the scent all over the room. This is an especially good hack during the summer, when you’re probably already going to run a fan anyways. You can also tuck them into linen closets, dressers, and other places to keep your fabrics smelling just as fresh as the day you pulled them out of the dryer.

Add fragrance oils to your air filter.

If you have a heating and/or cooling unit for your home, then you have an air filter. Remove the filter, replace it if it’s old, and apply a few drops of fragrance oils to the filter. Let it soak in before replacing the filter. This will disperse fragrance oil every time the heat or air conditioning runs. The scent will fade over time, so you’ll need to replenish the oil every so often. Switch out the scents seasonally or whenever you replace your air filter to keep your nose from adapting to the smell.

Get plants and flowers.

Plants and flowers don’t just look nice, they also smell nice too. Buy yourself some bouquets the next time you do grocery shopping, or better yet, get yourself some planters that will keep your plants alive for a long time. In fact, some plants even have a purifying effect on the air, soaking up airborne toxins, dusts and germs that can be found in a variety of household products and furniture. Some of them, such as spider plants and aloe vera, are also super easy to take care of, making them a perfect choice for an aspiring gardener who doesn’t have much experience with plants yet.

purifying the air with plants graphic

Make a coffee bean “diffuser.”

Make an entire room smell like your morning cup of joe with this quick craft project. Pour some coffee beans into a bowl or jar and nestle a tealight candle on the top. When you light the candle, the heat from the flame will warm the coffee beans, causing them to give off a subtle yet noticeable coffee fragrance, minus the shot of caffeine. The coffee beans will go stale eventually, so you’ll need to replace them every so often for maximum coffee fragrance.

Keep your pets smelling clean.

Just because you  love your fur babies doesn’t mean they can’t stink. Bathing cats and dogs is often a pain, so you can keep them smelling clean between baths by making your own pet deodorizer. Combine 3 tablespoons rubbing alcohol, 2 cups distilled water, and 8-12 drops of fragrance oil in a spray bottle. Spritz your pet occasionally, making sure to keep the solution out of their eyes. Brushing them often and vacuuming your home on a regular basis will also help keep the smell in check.

Follow these 18 tips and your house will smell nice in no time. Making your home smell good isn’t a one-time deal.You’ll need to clean regularly and periodically refresh the scents to keep it smelling fresh. This may take a little extra effort, but it’s so worth it to have a house that smells good.