Every house has a smell. It’s a combination of the people who live there, their perfume, aftershave, the food they cook, and other things. Most of the time it’s a good smell, but sometimes, it’s really not, says cleaning expert and best-selling author Linda Cobb, aka The Queen of Clean.

What to do when your house smells bad? Read on for Cobb’s best tips.

1. Cigarette/cigar smoke

“Even when you ask someone to smoke outside, the smoke can come into the house through open doors and stay there,” says Linda.

Her fix: Use a hand towel and pour white vinegar over it, then wring it out. “Take the towel and walk through the house swinging it in the air, like you’re rooting for your favorite team. This will get rid of the smell in no time, and it’s all-natural, so no one is breathing in chemicals,” she says.

2. Your pets

Doggie or cat smell can be tough to get rid of because it’s constant and becomes embedded in fibers. Linda’s favorite solution for getting the smell out of the carpet and fabrics: Odorzout. “It’s 100% natural and animals and kids can be around it without worry,” she says. Odorzout is a dry product that you sprinkle on the affected area, and it absorbs the odor. Then you vacuum it up! “A little goes a long way and it works great,” says Linda.

As for a smelly dog, Linda says, “Believe it or not, I’ve found the thing that works best is to take a Massengill Douche (any kind except the vinegar type or medicated), put Vaseline over the eye of the bottle so it won’t spray too quickly, wet down your dog, then spray the douche on him.”

Why it works? Douches deal with protein-based smells, and your dog’s fur is made up of protein. Works like a charm.

3. Bathroom

No one likes a smelly bathroom. First try Cobb’s Air Freshener recipe:

Linda’s Air Freshener Recipe


  • 3-parts water
  • 1-part cheap vodka
  • 10-20 drops of essential oil such as eucalyptus, citrus, or lavender. (You can find essential oils at the Vitamin Shoppe and your local health food store.

 Or try this other recipe she swears by:

  • Combine 2 cups of water
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 10 drops of essential oil 

Mix and put into a spray bottle to leave in the bathroom.

4. Disposal

“Do not put carrot peelings, onion peelings, or potato skins down your disposal,” says Cobb. “These can cause you to call a plumber more than any other foods, and when they start to decay they really smell.”

As for keeping your disposal smell-free, Cobb suggests putting some ice in the disposal and grinding it, then sprinkling Borax down the disposal, running water, and grinding it. The other thing you can do, says Cobb, “Put the stopper in the sink and add three inches of warm water. Then mix in a handful of baking soda. Turn on the disposal and pull out the stopper right away (so you don’t harm the disposal). This creates suction, and pulls the baking soda mixture down the disposal and cleans it.”

5. Garbage Can

If the can itself smells, wash it with warm water and white vinegar. Or try sprinkling in some Odorzout, let it sit a few minutes, then dump out and rinse the can. If the garbage is smelly, but the bag isn’t full yet, Cobb suggests dumping in some coffee grounds, which neutralize smells.

6. Sweat

Dirty clothes can stink, especially if they’re workout clothes. To make sure the smell comes out in the wash, add half a cup of Arm & Hammer Washing Soda to the laundry. “It’s not baking soda, but it’s similar, and you’ll find it in the laundry aisle,” says Cobb. “It takes the smell right out of fabrics.”

See Also: The signature smell of every state