Everyone wants their house to smell good, but it can seem like an impossible task. So many things can get in the way of having a nice-smelling home, and sometimes it’s even difficult to work out where offensive odors are coming from.

It’s not just about using products to create nice smells, although that’s helpful too. It’s also about figuring out how to prevent the bad ones. 

All it takes to make your house smell good is a few good habits. We’ve got plenty of tips for both banishing bad odors and creating pleasant ones, so you can leave your home smelling fresh and clean to anyone who visits. For all-natural tips only, check out our resource [blog post link on natural methods].

Why You Want Your Home to Smell Good

While a lot of people work from home now, many people still go into the world for work every day. With most people juggling other responsibilities like school, work, or dependents, housework often falls as a lower priority. Coming home to a messy house can add to the stress of an already busy life, and a smelly house is even less enjoyable.

Despite those other responsibilities, it’s important to carve out a few minutes now and again to ensure you’ve found the best way to keep your house clean and smelling great. There are many potential problems with letting unpleasant odors linger in your home, including:

  • Judgment from your loved ones, or a lack of willingness to come and visit
  • An unsanitary environment for you and the people you live with
  • Pests becoming attracted to the smells and infesting your home

Have you ever gone on a trip for a few days, only to come home to discover your house had a different smell than you’re used to? People get used to the way their house smells, so you might not even know when your house smells bad. 

Fortunately, there are some easy ways to make your house smell good, and if you follow our advice, you will always have a home that smells pleasant to you and your visitors.

Top Causes of Your Home Smelling Bad

While houses can start to accumulate smells on their own, most of the time, you can attribute terrible smells to a source. While eliminating the sources of bad smells won’t make your home smell nice, it will keep your home from smelling bad. 

Start by using this list to identify the possible sources of stink, so you can prevent bad smells  and the judgment of your loved ones.

The Trash Can

If you haven’t taken the trash out in a while, there’s a huge chance it’s a source of your odor problems. Uncontained food waste can quickly deteriorate and become pungent frighteningly fast. While we don’t encourage going out of your way to fill your trash can every day, taking your trash out frequently can help make your home more pleasant. 

Pet Waste

Getting a pet is a fast route to bad smells in your home if they aren’t taken care of early on! Potty training a puppy likely means many accidents on the floor, and having an indoor cat means you’ll have to scoop that litterbox every day to prevent the smell from permeating the house. Whatever pet you have, cleaning up after them regularly is an essential habit to build. 

Mold and Mildew

If water is left to sit for too long somewhere in your home, it can cause mold and mildew, which are not only unpleasant to smell but can be toxic as well. Mold can also be difficult to get rid of if you haven’t intercepted it quickly enough. Check your home frequently for any sources of water buildup, and fix leaks as soon as you identify them. 

The Drain

There’s also a chance there’s waste lingering in the curve of your drain that hasn’t been flushed away, causing a sewage smell to rise into the home. This is especially true if you haven’t run water down there or flushed out the drain in a while. You’d be surprised at what frequently running water down there can do to make your whole house smell good again. If a quick rinse doesn’t help, try using hot water or a cleaning product from your local supermarket.


If you smoke inside of your home, we recommend you stop. It’s a bad idea because the smell of smoke sticks to surfaces, and it may require more maintenance to keep your home feeling fresh. It’s also a fire hazard, so taking it outside is best. However, if the damage is done, you need to know how to get rid of the smell.

Water and vinegar is a great mixture to wipe down hard surfaces and get rid of the smell. You can also fill some bowls with white vinegar and set them around the area, leaving them to erase the smoky odors naturally. 

Good Habits to Prevent Your Home From Smelling Bad

Just like your home can have good and bad smells, pretty much everyone has a number of good and bad habits. Having good habits around your home helps keep the bad smells out. We can’t say it enough. 

If you want to know how to make a house smell clean, sometimes the best way is to be preventative from the start rather than getting rid of bad smells later.

Take the Trash Out and Run the Garbage Disposal

Take the trash out when it starts to get full, when you’ve emptied food waste in there, and when you smell even the slightest offensive whiff when you open the lid. You should also make sure you run the garbage disposal frequently rather than letting food waste build up and start to deteriorate inside.

Deal With Pet Waste Immediately

If your puppy potties on the floor, clean it with an enzymatic solution. Doing so will ensure you immediately get rid of the odor, as the solution will break down the waste far more efficiently than other cleaners.

If you have indoor cats, scoop the litter boxes every day—twice a day for multiple cats. You should also wash the litter boxes once every two weeks. 

Switch Your Clothes to the Dryer Right Away

While you’re trying to prevent mildew and mold from forming, remember that switching clothes from the washer to the dryer right away is an essential step! Clothes left for more than a day in the dryer can easily begin to smell musty and cause that odor to spread throughout the house.

Sweep and Vacuum the Floors Frequently

Overall, it’s important to remember to vacuum and clean frequently. Over time, dirt and waste can build up in corners of the house that don’t see the light of day. The best way to prevent bacteria from accumulating and creating foul smells is to follow a regular cleaning schedule. 

You will also help prevent pest infestations, which can bring their own stench.

Wash Your Rugs and Carpets

If you don’t clean your carpet frequently, it will hold onto unpleasant odors and contribute to any stink in your house. This is especially true if there’s smoke or pets in the house.

If you don’t have a carpet-cleaning machine, you can sprinkle baking soda on it and then vacuum. Next, mix a couple drops of carpet shampoo with warm water and lightly spray it over the surface. You can then blot the area gently with towels to remove the moisture and use a carpet brush to finish the process.

Invest in an Air Purifier

If you’re willing to drop the money, air purifiers are an excellent investment to keep the air in your home clean and prevent a stink. If you don’t want to pay that much in one go, the company Coway makes some advanced air purifiers that you can rent with monthly payments. 

Preventing bad smells is the first step to a better smelling home, but removing sources of unpleasant odors won’t make your home smell like the lobby of the fancy hotel you stayed at on your last vacation. If you want a home that smells nice, there’s more to be done.

Tips to Make Your Home Smell Good

You’ve done the work to identify and eliminate the sources of bad smells from your home. You have healthy habits around cleaning up after your pets and taking out the trash.. Now, here are a few tips you can use to make your home smell fantastic fast. 

These tips will ensure you mask any whiff of pets or mildew and create a pleasant smell for your guests—and those who live in your home, of course.

Light a Candle

Candles are one of the best ways to make your house smell good quickly. They produce a strong scent only a few minutes after you light them, filling your room with a pleasant aroma. 

Yankee Candle is one of the biggest candle manufacturers in the world and has a wide variety of scents available. Whether you prefer clean smells, fresh baked cookies, or a woodsy aroma, there’s a candle for you.

Consider a Diffuser

If you want an option that provides a more consistent smell and doesn’t involve lighting a candle (perhaps because of your children’s wandering hands or pets’ insatiable curiosity), diffusers are another reliable option. They work by breaking down essential oils and diffusing them into the room, creating a peaceful atmosphere and a mild, pleasant smell.

Area for Home is a vegan, cruelty-free, and sustainable brand that makes particularly great oil diffusers. They have different sizes depending on where in your home you intend to place them and can connect to the WiFi so you can place them on a schedule. It’s one of the best products to make your house smell good, and you can feel good about supporting a planet-friendly product..

Use Vanilla Extract

Many delicious baking recipes use vanilla extract, and it turns out it’s not just good for flavoring cakes; it will make your home smell delicious too. 

If you’ve ever seen people using it for this purpose, you might be wondering how to make your house smell good with vanilla extract. There are two ways you can do this:

  • By baking two tablespoons of vanilla extract at 300 degrees for 20 minutes
  • By soaking cotton balls in vanilla extract and placing them around the house

If you choose the second method, be aware that vanilla extract can stain. Don’t place it on clothes or other fabrics you wouldn’t want to get discolored. If you have a lot of house plants, consider hiding the cotton balls in the plant dishes in every room.

Buy Scented Trash Bags

We can’t say it enough: the most significant source of bad smells is usually the trash. If you’re wondering what absorbs bad smells best, scented trash bags can take care of it right from the source. They come in various scents to suit your preferences, but be aware that they’re simply covering the bad smell and aren’t preventing bacteria from trash that’s been left inside for a long time. 

Scented trash bags are not a substitute for taking out your trash frequently, but they definitely help! Glad makes a variety of trash bags, including scented ones. 

Use a Room Spray

There are room sprays specifically designed to mask bad smells that you might find around the home. From natural, fresh fragrances to more unusual ones, it’s easy to find one to your taste. Giving it a quick spritz daily or before you have guests over can help disguise any foul odors.

Boil Lemons and Limes

If you love the smell of citrus, you’ll love this tip for masking a bad smell in your home. Slice up a handful of lemons and limes, put them in a pot, and bring that pot to a boil. Within minutes, the scent of citrus will fill your house.

Roast Coffee Beans

Some people love coffee. Some people love it enough to want their whole house to smell like a coffee shop. If this is you, roasting some coffee beans in the oven at 400 degrees for a few minutes might be perfect for you. Just beware of the reaction from non-coffee lovers in your home, who may not appreciate this strong scent quite as much.

Bake Cookies

Got some time on your hands? Not everyone has the luxury of an hour or so to dedicate to their home’s scent, but if you do, you can get some cookies out of the deal too. Finding a simple cookie recipe and doing some baking can do wonders for making your house smell like you’ve started a bakery business. Who doesn’t want their house’s signature scent to be cookies?

Hide Some Dryer Sheets

Leaving some dryer sheets around the house can give the place a fresh laundry smell, giving the impression that you put much more effort into cleaning than you actually might have. Just make sure you hide them in places guests won’t see, or they might wonder why you’ve taken to leaving trash in random areas of your home.

Clip an Air Freshener to Your Vents

Maybe you thought air fresheners were just for cars, but you can use them to keep your house smelling good too. Clip them to your vents, and as they blow air through the house, that air will take the smell with it. This is a quick and cheap way to get a fresh smell going, but it really works.

Burn Incense

Incense is another great way to freshen things up and disguise a lingering stench. Gently ignite your incense and then blow it out. The incense will begin to smoke, dispersing a wonderful smell throughout the house.

Important: Be careful if you have children in the house that are still developing or anyone with a respiratory disease like asthma, as inhaling this smoke at a close distance could cause issues. Incense is best done as an occasional aid, not a daily cheat to make your house smell good with no cleaning effort.

Taking Action Beforehand Is Better, But It’s Never Too Late

When it comes to making your home smell good, being preventative and keeping up with your house is the best way to banish those odors before they get a chance to take hold. 

However, it’s easy to create a pleasant environment for noses to visit by building just a few good habits around your home. There are plenty of ways to mask or reverse bad smells, so don’t worry if you’ve left it too late. There’s always something that can help, and it usually doesn’t take too much time to get your house smelling great again.