A Fresh House Sells!

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX of Nanaimo

Fresh House: Smells Sell

A smell can either make or break a home. Yes, it's true. Even a Realtor will tell you to make a batch of homemade chocolate chip cookies before holding an open house or to air the home out and make it smell good.

But let's face it, sometimes there are circumstances that hold this possibility at bay. In other words: kids, dirty clothes, pets, preparing fish for dinner or even cutting up an onion can all stink up the house for weeks on end. So, what's a homeowner to do? Relax.

Here are few tried and true options in getting your home back on track so you can enjoy a home that smells clean and wonderful rather than old and stinky.

  1. Try, try, try. It may be difficult, but try to keep distasteful smells away from the house or at least away from the high traffic areas i.e., Great Room, bathrooms and of course, the kitchen. Make sure the kids and other family members leave stinky shoes and sporting equipment in the garage. Don't let smokers smoke in the house. Keep the bathroom doors shut and be sure that no unnecessary trash builds up under kitchen sinks.
  2. Appealing cleaning products. One of the easiest ways to keep ugly odors at bay is to use cleaning products that smell nice. For example, try sprinkling a scented powder on the carpet before vacuuming. Put a drop of your favorite essential oil in buckets of water used to clean the floor. Any citrus oil (i.e. orange flower) is perfect for giving your home a fresh scent.
  3. Candle magic. Burn fresh smelling candles or add an incense burner in a room or two and light frequently.
  4. Kitchen Floors. In a bucket mix 1/2 cup white vinegar with 1-gallon hot water. This is safe for hardwood, linoleum, tile, and any washable surface.
  5. Oven Cleaner. Mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda, 1-tablespoon salt, and add 1/2 cup hot water. Make a gritty paste, apply to the oven, heat slightly, cool and then wipe away with a damp rag.
  6. Refrigerator Seals. The plastic seals of refrigerators can be wiped free of debris with a rag dabbed in white vinegar.
  7. Laundry Detergent for White Clothes. Use 1/4 cup washing soda (sodium carbonate) in place of bleach. Bleach is one of the most toxic substances for the environment. Washing with baking soda costs only a few pennies per wash load, and it is far less expensive than bleach. Along with the baking soda, add 1/4 cup of white vinegar.
  8. Laundry Detergent for Dark Clothes. Use 1/4 cup of white vinegar and 1/4 cup of salt. Salt helps restore faded colors, and removes dirt and grime.
  9. Bathroom Glass Cleaner. Use 1-2 tablespoons of white vinegar mixed with 1- quart of water in a spray bottle. To remove oily fingerprints and hairspray from the mirror, dab on a little rubbing alcohol and wipe with a linen rag.
  10. Bathroom/Bathtub Glass Sliding Doors. Use 1/4 cup white vinegar mixed with 3/4 cup of hot water. Those hard water stains will wipe away like magic.

With just a bit of imagination, and some pre-planning, your home can smell fresh, clean and not so lived in! Something most of us strive for on a daily basis.


Comments (4)

Chris Fuller Your Realtor in Thermopolis Wyoming
Properties West, INC. - Thermopolis, WY
YES Smell Sells  :)
Aug 16, 2007 05:47 AM
Tricia Jumonville
Bradfield Properties - Georgetown, TX
Texas REALTOR , Agent With Horse Sense

Lampe Bergere, with a mixture of 3/4 Neutral to 1/4 Ocean Mist, works marvelously for getting rid of pet AND tobacco odors.  Just amazing.  It does have to be burned every day for about half an hour, so can only be used in an occupied home, but it does the trick. 


Aug 16, 2007 05:52 AM
Steven San Filippo
Right Choice Realty LLC - Fort Myers, FL
How very true I have had clients that if they walked in the door and there was any kind of smell they would immediately turn around and leave they wouldn't even want to look at the property. It could be the best deal in the market they wouldn't care .
Aug 16, 2007 05:55 AM
RE/MAX Bridge City Realty
RE/MAX Bridge City Realty - Lethbridge, AB

Great post Michael! A trick that we encourage to our sellers is to have lemons on hand. Any time they cook they can put a cut lemon in a clean sauce pan as the burner cools. Be careful not to let it burn! 

The heated citrus seems to evaporate any odors created by the meal... Plus, you're not wasting the energy needed to get the burner hot in the first place. Two birds, one (fresh smelling) stone.

Aug 16, 2007 06:22 AM