Nailing It

Take out that trash stench! DIY ways to get rid of home odors

Nothing says "welcome home" like a lingering, unwanted smell. TODAY contributor and lifestyle expert Elizabeth Mayhew wants to help fix that. She is sharing ways to help keep trash, fridge, musty-drawer smells and more at bay by using everyday household products.

If your garbage can smells...

The first thing to do would be to obviously take the trash out and wipe down the trash can. But to avoid future smells, do one of the following:

  • Dust the bottom of the garbage can with scented cat litter.
  • Throw a few citrus — lemon or orange — peels in the bottom of the can.
  • Dust the bottom or your garbage can with unused coffee grounds.

If your refrigerator smells...

Start by cleaning it out. Scrub all shelves with a mixture of warm water and baking soda, then wipe with a mixture of white vinegar and warm water. To prevent future smells, do one of the following:

  • Keep a fresh open box of baking soda on a shelf in the back of your refrigerator and freezer. Replace monthly.
  • Keep an open can of unused ground coffee on a shelf. The grounds absorb bad smells.
  • Soak a cotton ball in vanilla extract and place it on a small dish in the back of your refrigerator. Remove once the cotton ball has dried out.

If your drawers smell musty...

Sometimes drawers, particularly if the furniture is an antique piece or wood, will have a stale, damp odor. If you're dealing with that situation, do one of the following tips:

  • Crinkle up some newspaper, sprinkle it with white vinegar and stuff it in the drawer for a couple of days.
  • Place several scented dryer sheets in the drawers.
  • Place silica gel packs in drawers to keep out moisture.

If your sink or garbage disposal smells...

Our kitchen drains have so much passing through their pipes that they can tend to stink up a bit here and there. If this sounds familiar, try this:

  • Drop in a cut-up lemon, some salt and a few ice cubes. The lemon deodorizes, and the ice and salt clean away residue.

If your washing machine and/or dishwasher smells...

Those appliances are supposed to be cleaning your items, not stinking them up. If yours has an odor, try this:

  • Remove all food particles or scum from bottom and rim of machine with a paper towel or microfiber cloth.
  • Then pour about two cups of white vinegar into the machine (not into the detergent holder, but rather directly into the drum).
  • Run the machine through a hot water cycle. If you want, you can pause the cycle for about 20 minutes midway so that the water and vinegar mixture has a chance to break down detergent residue. Restart and finish cycle.
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