Here's Exactly How to Conquer All Household Odors
Clean the Air Effectively
Lick Pet Stench
Litter box: Clay-based litter that clumps when wet, such as Scoop Away Plus Crystals ($30 for a 42-pound box; amazon.com) absorbs odors.
Fur: Brushing and bathing can prevent the buildup of bacteria. Ask your vet about shampoos.
Accidents: Spray Nature's Miracle Stain & Odor Remover ($10; amazon.com) on an area wider than the spot (and under it, if possible).
Beat Food Aromas
Citrus fragrances, such as Lysol Neutra-Air Citrus spray ($4; amazon.com) or all-natural Citrus Magic Air Freshener ($8; walmart.com), remove food odors. Often the best (and easiest) remedy is to open a window or turn on a vent. "We use exhaust fans that suck everything out," says Wayne Almquist, a professor at the Culinary Institute of America, in Hyde Park, New York.
Banish Bathroom Stink
Mold and mildew: Zap bacteria that generate odors with a mold and mildew remover, and dry tiles and caulking when wet. Lysol Disinfectant Spray ($7; amazon.com) inhibits growth.
Bodily functions: Lit candles or matches kill odors, as does Lysol Disinfectant Spray. Urine can emit an ammonia-like odor, so clean the toilet regularly.
Take Out Garbage Smells
Designed to conquer all odors, Zero Odor Eliminator Spray ($20; walmart.com) also works well in garbage cans and diaper pails. The nontoxic spray binds to odor particles and naturally biodegrades the odor-causing bacteria. To prevent garbage smells from forming, clean and disinfect both indoor and outdoor garbage cans with an all-purpose cleaner at least once a month.
Terminate Basement Smell
Musty odors: “Activated charcoal reduces odors,” says Meredith Montague of Boston's Museum of Fine Arts. Pour two cups into an airtight bin, prop your items on a box in the bin so they don't touch the powder, seal until fresh, then air them out.
Water damage: Once the source is sealed, ventilate and turn on a dehumidifier, like the Kenmore 50-pint model ($200, sears.com).
Rid the Fridge of Odors
There's still nothing better for absorbing fridge odors than baking soda. Try Arm & Hammer's Fridge-n-Freezer Deodorizer ($12; amazon.com), which has front and back windows lined with a cheesecloth-like fabric to maximize ventilation. Vanilla extract is also an effective remedy: Soak a cotton ball in it and leave the cotton ball exposed on a dish until dry.
Wash Out Dishwasher Stink
Zap Clothing Smells
Stored clothing: At-home dry-cleaning kits like Dryel ($9; target.com) remove stale odors.
Sweat/body odor: Wash your clothes to kill body odor in fabrics.
Shoes: Avoid wearing the same pair of shoes two days in a row, and stuff them with newspaper, which absorbs moisture and, therefore, smells. Avoid sprays, which can leave a white residue.
Snuff Out Cigarette Smoke Stench
No one should smoke in your home if you dislike the smell or the habit. When hosting an incorrigible guest, rely on cross-ventilation: Place a fan in a window, facing out. Ventilation is the best solution for ridding clothes and furniture of the noxious smell, and for immediate relief spritz a deodorizing air freshener. Citrus sprays work well, too.