Expert Shares How to Get Stinky and Stubborn Odors Out of the Home

Expert Shares How to Get Stinky and Stubborn Odors Out of the Home

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  • Fiona Mills is a former hoarding technician and current franchise business coach at Spaulding Decon. 
  • Mills, 32, shared advice on how to eliminate stinky odors in your home.
  • Damp coffee grounds absorb odors while spraying vodka will help eliminate pet odors.

There may be several reasons why a home reeks of smelly odors. 

While trash pile-up may account for some odors, Fiona Mills pointed to other sources like mold and mildew, pets, smelly sneakers, leftover food in the garbage disposal, dirty AC filters and ducts, and dirty drains — especially in washing machines. 

Mills, 32, is a former hoarding technician and current franchise business coach at Spaulding Decon. She told Insider tips and advice on how to get unpleasant odors out of the home. She previously shared cleaning hacks for a spotless house, bathroom cleaning tips, advice about garbage disposals and pipes, and her go-to cleaning products, 

Coffee grounds and charcoal pouches can help dispel odors around the home

Coffee grounds

Coffee grounds can help absorb bad odors.

Steven Brisson Photography/Getty Images


Mills told Insider that home remedies like damp coffee grounds could help absorb odors, while white vinegar placed in a container is good for odor absorption and removal. Her go-to odor removal solution are charcoal pouches. 

“Charcoal absorbs odors and neutralizes the air particles,” Mills said. “It absorbs unpleasant scents—not just masks them. While other odor control techniques cover up the smells, activated charcoal eliminates them.” 

Mills said using charcoal AC filters is a cost-effective alternative for people who don’t want to buy an air purifier

Woman and dog sit near air purifier machine.

Fiona Mills suggested people use air purifiers with HEPA filters.

ArtistGNDphotography/Getty Images


Mills said homeowners could use the charcoal AC filters instead of other AC filters but suggested those seeking air purifiers make sure the machine has a HEPA filter. 

“A HEPA filter is a High Efficiency Particulate Air filter. Theoretically, it removes 99.9% of dust, pollen, mold, bacteria, and any airborne particles floating in the air,” she said. 

Use disinfectant sprays instead of aerosol sprays like Febreze

Disinfectant Spray

Disinfectant sprays like Lysol help eliminate odors.

Guido Mieth/Getty Images


Mills said aerosol sprays like Febreze only fragrance the air, but “a spray such as Lysol attacks the odor in the air, killing the odor forming particles and leaves a nice fragrance behind.” 

“If you want to use an aerosol spray with a purpose, use a disinfectant spray that is also fragrant rather than just an ‘air freshener’ that is basically perfume for the air,” Mills said, adding that sprays like that “only buy time.”

Mills said common ingredients like baking soda or vodka could help fight pet odors

Dog sitting on green and blue bed

Fiona said baking soda left overnight can help erase bad odors.

Laurie Rubin/Getty Images


Mills admitted that pet odors could be a “nuisance,” so it helps to sprinkle baking soda on carpets and furniture before letting it sit overnight. The baking soda, an odor neutralizer, can be vacuumed in the morning. 

Mills also said vodka could help.

“A spritz of straight vodka at an area that smells like animals will eliminate the odor when it evaporates,” she said, adding that owners should regularly wash pet beds and toys. Using other methods like activated charcoal pouches, odor-absorbing gels like Fresh Wave, air purifier machines, and charcoal AC filters also work. 


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