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The Top Five Worst Household Odors—and Green Solutions

August 25, 2011

When Americans were surveyed to determine the five worst homeodors, more than eight out of 10 said rotting garbage or “garbage can” odor is the most offensive household smell. Rounding out the top five, in order, were pet odors, mold, body odor/sweat and tobacco odor.


Nearly 70 percent of all respondents ranked these five domestic smells as the worst, with significantly more women (75 percent) turning their noses up at tobacco odors as compared to men (59 percent).



How To End Odors

Naturally, the best way to prevent odor is to eliminate its source (e.g., take out the garbage, smoke or keep pets outside), but what about existing odors already permeating your home?

Carpet and upholstery are examples of porous materials that may harbor and emit odors. Rather than covering offensive smells with deodorizing sprays or powders, consider greener solutions.

Sprinkling baking soda on carpet or upholstery and vacuuming can eliminate odors through adsorption (spelled with a “d” because odor molecules adhere to the baking soda particles, and vacuuming removes the baking soda along with the odor source).

Since the biggest odor complaints often originate from the tiniest particles – and often reappear after traditional remedies such as air fresheners or candles lose their strength – using a particle-form adsorbent such as baking soda can help neutralize odors by bonding with odors so after you remove the baking soda they’re gone for good.

Vacuuming with a HEPA or other effective filter helps to remove and trap particles such as pet dander, pet hair, human skin flakes, mold spores, dust and other allergens – microscopic or tiny fragments that generate VOCs through bacterial activity and other biological processes – helping to deodorize your home.


Other Odor Remedies

Other ways to deodorize your house include:

  • Open a box of baking soda and place it on a shelf in the room.
  • Wash dish sponges in the dishwasher.
  • Mix two teaspoons of baking soda with two cups of water in a trigger spray bottle and spray the room with the mixture whenever it needs it.
  • Sprinkle baking soda in garbage cans, diaper pails, boots and litter boxes, too.
  • If you have a garbage disposer, put lemon or orange rinds down it every month or so.
  • Clean out the refrigerator regularly to remove old food and put a new, open box of baking soda in every four months.


Originally Published by Housekeeping Channel on July 30, 2011.

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