Did you just move into a new apartment, only to discover that it smells bad? Or maybe you’ve been living in one for awhile and your mom just commented that you need to clean up around here.
Either way, I have some great solutions for freshening up your living space.
The first thing you need to decide when freshening your apartment is this: Do you want to remove bad smells, or add pleasant smells?
The reason this matters is because many of the solutions that specifically remove bad odors aren’t designed to add new pleasant scents (some will actually interfere with new pleasant scents by removing them too). And many of the ways you add a new scent won’t actually get rid of a bad scent, it will just mix with it and sometimes produce a nasty result.
For that reason, I’ve divided my recommendation on freshening your apartment into two halves: adding new scents, and removing bad odors.
Adding New Scents With Air Fresheners
These are some of my favorite air fresheners.
- Set up an aroma diffuser – A longer term solution for adding lovely fragrances to your apartment that can last for weeks. Get a multi pack of essential oils and you can swap to a new scent whenever you want.
- Display a beautiful scented potpourri – These smell great and double as a decoration. Put one on your coffee table or kitchen table to impress your guests.
- Use plugin air fresheners – Tried and true. Plug them into any outlet to add a scent that can last for many weeks.
Immediate short-term solutions:
- Spray a scented air freshener spray bottle – Useful for immediately adding a new scent of your choice to any place in your house. This is ideal for when you have guests coming over and you need to freshen up your apartment immediately.
- Light a scented candle – Not a long term solution, but great for when you have guests over.
If your apartment smells horrible, I recommend that you focus on removing the source of bad odors before trying to cover them up with new scents. This will help you avoid mixing the two scents into one gross combination. See my various recommendations below for how to remove specific odors.
Removing Bad Odors From Your Apartment
There’s all sorts of places where bad odors can hang out. The exact cause of bad odor is going to determine what you use to remove it. I’ve listed many of the most common solutions here:
- My living room smells weird – I recommend using an odor-removing gel canister. You open the canister and let it sit on your coffee table or kitchen counter. The gel slowly absorbs odor-causing particles that come into contact with it. These canisters can last for a few months and will help keep the general stinkiness of your apartment at bay.
- The bad odor is in every room – Ask your landlord to replace your air filter, or do it yourself. When replacing it, add a layer of activated carbon on top of the regular air filter. The activated carbon layer will trap odor-causing particles as they are sucked through the air vent, producing fresh, odorless air coming out of your vents.
- The apartment has a terrible smoke smell – Removing the aftermath of smokers living in your apartment requires a serious solution. I recommend using an ozone generator to spread odor-destroying ozone particles into every crack and crevice of your apartment. Health Warning: It’s better to use it while nobody’s home, as breathing a lot of ozone can be harmful to humans and pets.
- The carpet smells bad – Spread out some baking soda on the carpet. Let it sit for a few hours. Then vacuum it up. If the smell persists, try using an ozone spray directly on the carpet.
- The kitchen cooking smells are too strong – To abolish cooking smells, I recommend using a odor-removing gel canister on your kitchen counter. The gel absorbs odors that contact it throughout the day, leaving the surrounding air empty of bad odors.
- The fridge stinks inside – Does your roommate’s cooking also stink up the inside of the fridge? Put an open container of baking soda in the back of the fridge to help absorb odors and keep the fridge smelling fresh.
- The microwave smells like burnt food – Use a wet cloth soaked with white vinegar to scrub the inside of the microwave.
- The bathroom stinks – For cleaning a toilet, shower, bathtub, or tile floors in the bathroom, I recommend using Lysol germ-killing spray. If you clean up your bathroom and it still smells bad, try using an ozone spray on the specific thing that smells such as the toilet or shower walls. Ozone will help eliminate smells that linger after your scrubbing and brushing of the bathroom surfaces.
- The toilet stinks – If you just have a problem with you or a roommate leaving horrible smells in the bathroom after going number two, then get a odor remover designed specifically for toilets. For this particular one, you’ll need to spray it into the toilet right before you use it. This will allow the odor-destroying spray to kill the odors coming from the toilet before they have a chance to spread out.
- The trash can smells bad – I don’t have to tell you that trash cans need to be emptied, right? Get a trash can that closes up, in order to prevent bad smells from escaping it while trash sits in it. Or, wash out your regular trash can and clean it with Lysol germ-killing spray.
- The couch smells bad – This is common in houses that have smokers or dogs that sleep on the couch. Spread baking soda across the surface of the couch, let it sit a few hours, then vacuum it up. If the odor persists, use ozone spray on the couch. No need to vacuum it up.
- My closet, dresser, or laundry basket smells bad – Throw an odor-trapping bag of activated charcoal into your closet, dresser drawer, or laundry basket in order to reduce bad smells coming from there. Just make sure you don’t wash it with your laundry.
- My bed stinks – Come on, I really have to say it? Wash your sheets and pillow cases with any normal laundry detergent. Add white vinegar to the detergent to add extra odor-killing power.
- The vacuum cleaner smells bad – Do you hate the gross smell of the air that comes out of your vacuum cleaner? Pour a table spoon of baking soda onto a hard surface, then suck it up with the vacuum. The baking soda will stay in the vacuum bag, killing all the bad odors that get sucked up by the vacuum, instead of blowing them out the air vent.
Did I miss anything? Share your favorite way to freshen up your apartment in the comments below.