Everyone knows that kids will wreck your sleep schedule. And most of us know about the food bills. But few people ever warn you about the smell. If you have teenagers, your nose knows what we’re talking about.
Here are some handy tips to keep those odors under control.
1. Start from the bottom up
The best way to keep odors from invading your house is to keep them from getting there in the first place. Impermeable surfaces like hardwood floors and are excellent at keeping the smells down. If you’ve got carpets, vacuuming at least once a week will help carpets from taking on those extra odors. And shampooing at the end of each season will safeguard your carpets from all sorts of historical funkiness.
2. Join the resistance
There’s a reason your nana put slipcovers on everything. Upholstered furniture is a trap for stains and smells. Protect your couch furniture by using slip covers. Or, give your furniture a stain-resistant treatment and you’ll have years of “don’t worry, it wipes off” in your back pocket. A word of warning: not all stain repellents are the same and some may be bad for your health, so examine the labels carefully. You might also want to consider furniture made of polyester or microfibre cloth as these fabrics are naturally stain-resistant.
3. Slam dunk those dirties
Dirty laundry piled up on the floor will definitely transfer odors to your carpet and carpet pad. Hampers not only help keep dirty laundry contained, but if you place them across the room from the closet you can also practice your sweet basketball moves.
4. Schedule, schedule, schedule
From cleaning to showering to laundry, keeping all things washed on a schedule will help control… pretty much everything. Hardwood floors, leather or vinyl furniture, plastic chairs, anything that can be wiped down should be wiped down on a regular basis. Shower after sports, and before bed to keep those clothes and sheets from smelling. Change those sheets once a week to keep mattresses fresh. If you have a washer-dryer on the premises, small loads of laundry throughout the week will keep those piles manageable. And remember! No matter how much they try to convince you otherwise, your children are perfectly able to fold their own clothes.
5. Baking soda is everyone’s friend
Not just for the fridge, baking soda can be used anywhere you need extra absorbency for those lingering smells. Poke holes in the lid of an old tub (dishwasher pod tubs work great here) and fill it halfway with baking soda. Now it can live anywhere you need to keep the smell at bay. Keep it on the floor of your car to help drive those odors away!
6. No snack zone
From rats to roaches to ravenous pets, pizza crusts and ‘empty’ soda cans attract all sorts of pests. Keep bedrooms cleaner (and less smelly) by instituting a no-food policy. The only difficult part is sticking to it!
7. Invest in an air purifier
Once thought of as a fancy gadget meant for people with allergies, air purifiers have gone down in price and up in popularity. Not only will they keep pet dander down but they can remove the odors quickly. That means smells from the cat box or the kids’ room, or even particularly pungent cooking, won’t be around long enough to become a nuisance.
8. Use the right products
Not everyone wants their house to smell like a forest. Sometimes you don’t want things to smell at all. That’s where odor-busting cleaning products come in handy. Rockin’ Green Laundry detergent, Biokleen and Oxyclean are all recommended for tough laundry odors. Not into the fancy brands? Try white vinegar. As simple as it sounds, the acetic acid binds to aromatic rings (the stinky molecules) and pulls them out of the air. When the vinegar scent dies away, the stink goes with it.
9. Deodorant: more than just the pits
Body deodorants aren’t just for armpits anymore! Aluminum-free Deodorants like Lume, Shmidt’s or Native, can be used on feet, bums and any other place you might encounter some funk. These new(ish) products some in cleaner ‘unisex’ scents like tangerine, coconut and lavender sage. Most also have unscented versions as well, for those of us that don’t want to add any more olfactory nonsense to our lives.
10. When in doubt, air it out
Open windows are the easiest way to eliminate house odors. But did you know that sunlight is also a great disinfectant? UV light is great at killing off any remaining bacteria the washing machine didn’t reach. And bonus! Line drying sheets and blankets will help you save money by not running your dryer as often.