Genius Hacks That Will Eliminate the Toughest Odors

Apr 20, 2021 | Cleaning Tips and Tricks

What's that smell? Not your house after you read this post! We've got all the hacks you need to eliminate the worst household odors and keep your place smelling squeaky clean.

mom and daughter cleaning together, from Fun Cheap or Free

If you've got pets or kids, then we bet you've dealt with a mysterious odor or two. What the heck do you do when you can't just toss the offender in the bathtub or washing machine and hope for the best?

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From sofas to freezers and the other nooks and crannies that never see the light of day, we're here to help. We'll teach you how to deep clean and deodorize in no time. Let's eliminate some odors, you guys!


baking soda and other cleaning supplies, from Fun Cheap or Free

When there's something strange smelling in your room….who ya gonna call? Odor busters! Sorry, we had to.

Alright, let's get down to business! Whether the dog had an accident, the kids spilled some food, or that old sofa's just seen it all, no one wants to sit on funky smelling furniture. That fabric seems to attract all the odors, but you can't toss that couch in the wash, so what can you do?! We have three tips to share:

  • Reach for the Baking Soda – Let's walk through a quick three-step process! First, vacuum your sofa. Next, sprinkle some baking soda on your couch. Go to town! Use more than you think you'll need, and let it sit for about 20 minutes. (If your sofa is extra smelly, let it sit for longer) Vacuum it all up and take a quick whiff. Your couch should be smelling so fresh and clean now!
  • Grab the Carpet Cleaner – Do you have a carpet cleaning spray? In most cases, it's safe to use on upholstered furniture, too! Do a quick test on a spot on your sofa that's not visible. Once you're in the clear, spray on any problem areas and follow the instructions on the bottle.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar, For the Win – If your couch smells like a dog, then this tip is for you! Mix equal parts water and Apple Cider Vinegar and add to a spray bottle. Mist away on any problem areas, then blot. Don't worry; the vinegar smell will go away and take the other odors with it!

Anyone else planning to clean their couch this weekend?! While you're in cleaning mode, let's talk about another neglected area in most people's homes: the garbage can!


All the perfumed trash bags in the world won't keep your garbage bins from smelling if you don't clean them from time to time. But aside from hosing them down with bleach or kicking them to the curb, how can you get stubborn odors out of these stinky bins? Here are a couple of quick hacks to try:

  • Grab the Borax – We're a little bit obsessed with Borax. Like, is there anything it can't do?! We wrote a whole post that's basically a love letter to the MVP of household cleaning, and yep, we tell you how to use Borax to clean your garbage bins. Check it out!
  • Try this Dryer Sheet Hack – This tip is easy peasy! The next time you take the trash out, drop a couple of dryer sheets in the bottom of the can before you put the new bag in. It's incredible how much odor those little things will soak up!
  • Reach for the Vanilla Extract – Say what?! We can't get over this one. So genius! Just round up a few cotton balls, soak them in a bit of vanilla extract, then toss the cotton balls in the bottom of your trash can. Let them sit overnight, and when you come downstairs in the morning, enjoy the sweet smell of vanilla in your kitchen!

We kinda want to put vanilla-soaked cotton balls everywhere now! Maybe we'll sneak a few in the dirty clothes hamper, too. 🤔 And speaking of dirty clothes, let's talk about smelly towels.


woman taking towels out of the dryer, from Fun Cheap or Free

It always seems to happen, right? After a few months, those brand new towels you loved so much start to develop a stench. And no matter how many times you wash them, they still smell musty. Yuck! Here's what to do:

  • Clean Your Washing Machine – First off, make sure you're cleaning your washing machine every few months. Think about it. That thing sees and smells it all! If you want it to keep your clothes and linens clean, you've got to keep the washer clean, too. Every two months, add one cup of vinegar to your machine and run it through one cycle on hot water. That's it!
  • Always Hang Your Towels to Dry – The biggest culprit responsible for smelly towels is mildew! If you don't allow your towels to dry between uses, they get moldy and icky over time. Hooks don't always do the best job, so make sure to invest a few bucks in a good drying rack. You'll get a lot more life out of your towels, so it's worth it.
  • Toss in Some Baking Soda – The next time you wash your towels, sprinkle in a cup of baking soda and wait for the magic to happen.

And one last thing! Your towels need some room to breathe, so don't overload the machine. Wash just a few at a time, so the detergent and baking soda can do their jobs. While we're on the topic, be sure to check out our creative laundry tips!


One time our power went out while we were out of town, and let's just say it wasn't pretty. Our freezer was full of meat, and well, there were some tears shed. To add insult to injury, the smell was unbearable. So, what happens if your freezer starts to smell rotten? Here a couple of hacks that will help eliminate the toughest freezer odors:

  • Use Coffee Grounds – You will want to kiss that bag of Folgers after you try this hack! It's pretty much a miracle. Grab a sock (or two or three, if it's awful) and fill it with coffee grounds. Leave the sock in the freezer for a day or two, and then sit back and let the magic happen.
  • Gather Up Charcoal & Newspapers – Crumple up a few classifieds pages and then place them in the freezer. Next, add some big old lumps of charcoal. They're both really great at absorbing odors, so why not tag team?
  • Turn it Off and Start Scrubbing – If all else fails, power off your freezer and take everything out. Once it warms up, give the inside a thorough scrubbing with some bleach or an ammonia-based cleaner. (Fun fact: cleaning products don't work in freezing temps.) After you've scrubbed it all, turn the freezer back on, and proceed with one of the tips above to absorb any lingering odors.

We're keeping a sock full of coffee in the freezer door from now on! It never hurts to be proactive, right? Okay, let's tackle one last problem area.


dishwasher full of clean dishes, from Fun Cheap or Free

No one wants to gag just from opening their dishwasher, but we've all been there! Over time, those stray food particles get lodged in the nooks and crannies, start to rot, and the result is pretty dang stinky. So how the heck do you wash a dishwasher?! Well, here are two easy ways:

  • Add a Glass of Vinegar – Fill a glass with white vinegar, and place it in your dishwasher. Don't add any other dishes for this load! Run a complete cycle on the highest heat and let the vinegar wash away the odors.
  • Use Lemons – If you don't have any vinegar, reach for a few lemons. Cut two lemons into eight slices each, and place them in a dishwasher-safe bowl. Cover with water, then add the bowl to the dishwasher and run a load.

If you want to keep odors from becoming a problem in the first place, it's not a bad idea to run a load with vinegar or lemons every month or so!


And there you have it! You're ready to tackle some of the toughest odors in your home, using products we bet you already have in the cabinet. Pretty cool, huh? Is anyone else secretly excited to go clean now?

Before you go, we want to hear about your best hacks for eliminating odors! Did you pick up any brilliant tricks from your mom or grandma? Learn something new on TikTok? Tell us about it! Please drop a comment below.

Image with text that reads "how to make your house smell clean," from Fun Cheap or Free

Looking for a few more cleaning hacks? We've got 'em!

Tackle those problem areas then stop and smell the roses!

1 Comment

  1. Anne-Marie Gieser

    Jordan, thank you so much for all you do! Love all your tips and always looking for your new post and videos. Keep up the amazing work!


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