A home that smells fresh carries an aura of positivity that uplifts your mood as soon as you walk in, which is always a good sign. Smell is one of our most powerful senses. It tells us what to eat or what perfume to wear. On the human front, the sense of smell is more closely linked with memory than the other senses. This is partly because it evokes particular memories and is highly emotive, which helps us relax and also draws us to particular people.
- Clean up smelly areas
A funky smell in a home will be the first thing that hits you as you walk in. Ideally, a clean home shouldn’t have a smell . It should have a fresh feeling signaling that you’re walking into a clean space, says Alisha Rajan, Kenya Country Manager of home-cleaning service, SweepSouth.
“Dirty areas harbour odours, and while that may seem obvious, the longer you live with bad smells, the less you notice them. Walk around your home to identify if there are any areas that need to be refreshed. Carpets, curtains, fabric couches, and even cushions trap household smells like cooking and cigarette smoke, and unwashed bedding and towels, and dirty showers are sources of unappealing odours,” she adds.
Other obvious funky-smell traps are rubbish bins, diaper buckets, and pet litter trays that aren’t cleaned out every day. Layering fragrances over these smelly areas won’t help – the most effective approach is to regularly clean them. “There’s no substitute for a deep cleanse to banish odour offenders – it’s the fastest way to deal with bad smells,” says Alisha. “If you don’t like strong scents, opt for cleaning products that aren’t too heavily scented, and open windows wide to make your space feel cleaner.”
- Bicarb magic
There are many great cleaning products on the market, but simple, affordable bicarbonate of soda is the unsung hero of the odour-neutralising world. When applied to messes around the house, this powdery substance acts as an smell-absorber and a mild abrasive that can quickly loosen stuck-on gunk without damaging the surface. Pair it with other household cleaners, such as dishwashing liquid, and it becomes an even more powerful cleaning agent, allowing you to break through greasy residue, polish metal, unclog drains, and more.
“Sprinkle bicarbonate of soda on carpets and couches and leave for an hour to absorb smells, then vacuum up the residue,” advises Alisha. “You can also eliminate stubborn kitchen odours by sprinkling it between layers of trash as the bin fills up. If your fridge has been cleaned but still has a lingering musty smell, place a small bowl filled with bicarb inside on a shelf to absorb the odour. You can even add half a cup of bicarb to a load of laundry to act as a deodoriser,” she says.
- Add in subtle scents
If you love a fragrant home, introduce scent in a subtle way by burning a scented candle or an aromatherapy oil. Find the perfect scent for a room by considering what mood you’d like for it – are you after an uplifting and invigorating feel, or a soothing, relaxed atmosphere?
Grapefruit and basil fragrances are great if you want an energised feel, while peppermint, eucalyptus, and lemon all impart the feeling of a clean, vibrant space.
To create a summary holiday atmosphere, light up an orange-scented candle infused with the sweet fragrance of pineapple, and even rum!
Vanilla scents are perfect for a soothing, warm welcome, and to alleviate anxiety and stress.
If strong scents are too much for you, have summer whisper through your home with the soft notes of coconut.
Uplift your senses and relax your mind with bergamot. It’s a mixture of floral, herbal, and spicy notes to uplift your senses and relax your mind.
- When less is more
While essential oils are a great way to introduce fragrances to your space, if each room has a different scent going on it, it can clash and become overwhelming, cautions Alisha.
Read up how to best combine and blend aromatherapy scents. For example, if you want to promote an emotionally balanced space, combine lavender, bergamot and juniper berry essential oils. Orange, lavender, douglas fir, and thyme essential oils can be used to support the immune system of your loved ones and keep everyone in your home healthy. And, bring the fresh outdoors air in with a blend of lavender, tangerine and eucalyptus.
Other than lighting a scented candle or an aromatherapy oil burner, you can also make your own reed diffusers, or soak cotton balls with your favourite essential oils and place the balls underneath the lining of your bins and in the inner part of your toilet roll.
Whichever fragrance you choose, make sure visitors to your home aren’t overpowered by them. “Visitors may be averse to strong smells, or have allergies, so don’t be tempted to envelop them in a scent, no matter how good it smells to you,” concludes Alisha.