During the warmer months, it's easy to clear a foul smell from your home – you simply open the windows and let the fresh air pour in. Unless you want a cold home and a high energy bill, you’ll have to mix it up to remove odors from your home this winter.
Green cleaning tip: Vinegar is tops!
Whether you cooked a garlicky stir fry or burnt a bag of popcorn, cooking odors can persist in the kitchen for hours after the fact. To get rid of the smell, boil a few tablespoons of vinegar in water to eliminate your culinary stenches, and in no time your kitchen will smell fresh again. If a funky smell is coming from your disposal, vinegar can also help with that. Run your water until it’s hot, then pour ¼ cup baking soda into the drain. Run your garbage disposal for a few seconds to mix the baking soda around. You may hear some fizzing as the baking soda starts to break down food particles that are sticking to the drain pipe. After 10-15 minutes, flush one cup of vinegar down the drain. If that doesn’t stop the stench, you may need to try a more industrial cleaning solution.
Tackling smelly winter boots
Vinegar isn’t only for kitchen cleanup. It can also help you tackle those stinky winter boot inserts when a regular washer and dryer has failed. Start by drying out the inserts as best as you can. This won’t help the smell, but it can kill some of the bacteria causing the odor. Next, fill a sink with warm water. Mix in one cup of vinegar and one load’s worth of laundry soap. Scrub the inserts thoroughly, then leave them in the full sink for 30 minutes so the vinegar has time to kill off the remaining bacteria. Use the same sink mixture to wash out the interior and exterior of the boots, then rinse the boots with plain water. Air dry the inserts so the vinegar smell dissipates.
Create some odor absorbers
If you want to prevent odors in your outerwear altogether, consider making some homemade odor absorbers. Cut the waist off old pantyhose or light-weight nylon socks, and fill the bottom with coffee grounds or baking soda — both of which will absorb moisture and prevent bacteria buildup. Tie the top off and insert these into your boots, shoes, mittens… or in every last piece of your daughter’s hockey equipment!
Removing the smell of soot
A drafty chimney from a wood-burning fireplace can have your living room smelling like soot. This can be caused by an imbalance of air pressure in your home. Stop the draft by making sure the fireplace's damper has a tight seal.
Dehumidifiers to the rescue
It can seem crazy to need a dehumidifier in the middle of winter when the air is so dry. But excessive moisture can be caused from long showers in your bathroom or inadequate insulation in your basement. That buildup of moisture can cause a very persistent musty smell. While you may be keeping sickness at bay with a humidifier in your bedrooms, it may benefit you to run a dehumidifier just one level down in your basement.