Joanna Cutaia-Beales
Real Estate Broker

Hamilton Ontario Real Estate Agent

How to Keep Your Home Odour Free

Have you ever walked into a house and immediately noticed a distinct odour? Maybe you've wondered once or twice whether your own home has an odour? 

As a Realtor, one of my primary activities is touring homes, participating in open houses, and hosting open home tours myself; time and again, I've walked through homes which have their own unique odours - and sometimes, these odours are ones which can put off prospective home buyers. That's why one of my key pieces of advice to my Sellers is to ensure their homes are odour-free. 

Odours can be caused by a plethora of things; from dirty fridges and old curtains to pet dandruff and mould. However, most home buyers can detect odd smells the moment they walk through the door of a listed property; these odours help home buyers form an immediate reaction to and opinion of your home, and it may not always be a positive reaction. 

So, how can you keep odours at bay and ensure your home is ready to wow potential homeowners? 

First, do a deep clean

When you're prepping your home for an open house of any kind, the first thing you should consider doing is a deep clean. This usually involves cleaning the interior and exterior surfaces of appliances, as well as steam-cleaning carpets, washing hardwood floors, scrubbing tile + grout, and ridding surfaces of grime. During this cleaning process, you should also consider disinfecting your home and replacing any drapery, upholstery, bedding, towels, or linens which are old or have evidence of mildew and odour. These don't have to be costly updates, but can truly make all the difference in eliminating unwanted, unpleasant odours.

Cleaning all of your appliances, as well as bathroom amenities (like showers, sinks and toilets) is very important for the simple reason being that you may sell your appliances with your home, so why not make them sparkle and get more "bang for your buck?" 

Disinfect all waste and garbage disposals 

It's easy to forget to clean out trash cans, waste bins, garbage disposals and other waste collecting areas in and around your home, but these odour-causing depositories can be the #1 culprit for nasty odours in your home. Don't forget to clean and disinfect these items before you, or your Realtor, host an open house; keeping them fresh can also be as simple as using a scented garbage bag after cleaning out your waste bins!

Tackle pet odours

One of the most significant, prevalent odours people can detect in a home is typically a pet odour. While it may not be noticeable to the home owner, pet odours do linger, especially if you have pets which shed excess hair or utilize litter boxes/pee pads. It's important to tackle pet odours seriously.

One tip I give my clients who have pets is to do one or all of the following:

  • Scrub out litter boxes and use deodorized litter (if possible)
  • Get rid of all pet waste and clean any pet-washing stations (such as a tub in your basement where you bathe your pups)
  • Dust, vacuum and mop your home, focusing especially on areas where your pets often sleep/eat/go to the bathroom 
  • For litter boxes, consider mixing in baking soda with the litter to keep odours at bay
  • Keep all pet accessories, food, litter boxes, etc. in a contained space that is mostly removed from the home (such as a furnace room)
  • If possible, drop your pet off with a friend while you have an open house, to keep odours at bay while people walkthrough

Replace filters

Replacing the filter of your furnace is a quick, surefire way of helping to eliminate odours, including pet odours! It also happens to be a quick "chore" you can do which takes little time but makes all the difference for eliminating unwanted smells. 

Consider using natural deodorizers around your home

I don't often recommend my clients use artificial deodorizers (like Febreeze) to disinfect or eliminate odours, because those kind of products usually just mask odours temporarily. Instead, natural deodorizers can help to get rid of bacteria in the air while lightly scenting your home and even purifying the air. 

Succulents - these cute, easy-to-handle plants are known to be natural air purifiers and can help keep the air in your home clean; they also happen to add a touch of life to any space and will complement staging and decor 

Diffusers - try using a diffuser with certain types of essential oils in order to deodorize your home, naturally. Citrus essential oils, along with soothing ones like lavender, can make all the difference

Baking soda - this popular cleansing agent can be used to deodorize toilet bowls, litter boxes, and even old mattresses! 

Soap - one simple trick to help keep closets from smelling musty is to hide scented bars of soap in draws or among your clothes. 

Simmer pot - a simmer pot is exactly as it sounds; a simmering pot of water! Before an open house, take a few slices of orange or lemon and add your favourite spices or herbs, along with water. All you have to do is let the mixture simmer on the stove for about 30 minutes or so. This will diffuse your home with a natural scent!