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Photo credit: Rebecca Anne, "Flora's Cup" | Creative Commons License,

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DIY Homemade Concoctions: Beat the Stink... Cheap, Homemade Odor Beaters

By Vicki McClure Davidson


Lavender, with its fresh, herbaceous scent, has been prized for centuries for its fragrance, essential oils, as well as purported medicinal qualities; lavender is excellent as a safe ingredient to naturally freshen the smell of homes and clothing | Photo credit: Madame Lavender,
Lavender, with its fresh, herbaceous scent, has been prized for centuries for its fragrance, essential oils, as well as purported medicinal qualities; lavender is excellent as a safe ingredient to naturally freshen the smell of homes and clothing | Photo credit: Madame Lavender,


"Beating the stink" of kitchen and home odors is easy, and you don't always need to buy pricey, chemical-based concoctions from the grocery or hardware store to accomplish it. While these store-bought products claim to be easy to use, making a homemade batch yourself with basic kitchen items will only take a couple of minutes and cost you mere pennies, not dollars. They are also much healthier to use.

Studies, while not conclusive, have shown that breathing in fumes of many chemical-based cleaners can irritate the lungs, and as such, these can pose a serious health risk to people with pre-existing heart or respiratory problems. Many contain chemicals that can be damaging to the skin and eyes and can be toxic if accidentally ingested. Homemade odor-eliminating concoctions, using innocuous, natural ingredients, such as vinegar, lemon juice, herbs, dried flowers, or baking soda, carry no known health risks.

Key to safely removing odors in the home is to remove the source of the odors. The best way to make indoor air smell fresh is to maintain a clean environment. Remove the source of any offensive odors instead of just trying to mask unpleasant smells with pleasant ones. Cleanliness is the best way to maintain a pleasant, healthy environment. Odors caused by mold is a good example. Covering up the moldy smell in a home will always be temporary if the source of the mold isn't resolved.

Here are some natural, DIY solutions to "beating the stink."

Materials Needed

  • 1 c. baking soda
  • 2 c. warm white vinegar

Pour 1 cup of baking soda down the drain and follow with 2 cups of warm vinegar. After a minute or two, run hot water from the faucet so that it flows down the drain for a good minute or two. Flush out the drain with cold tap water, turned on high, for another minute or two.

When you mix the vinegar with the baking soda, you'll see the mixture will fizz and foam up. Don't be alarmed. This is a natural chemical action and is what is helping to clean out the drains of odor-causing debris and gook. Be sure that you do NOT let the mixture sit in the drain overnight.

Again, this DIY concoction will not unclog sinks. It will only make them smell much better.

Materials Needed

  • 6 c. baking soda
  • 3 c. dried lavender buds or dried flowers, crumbled
  • 1 c. cornstarch

Mix well and store in an airtight plastic container (a clean ice cream pail works well). Set aside for a couple days before using.

Sprinkle mixture generously on carpet and let sit for one hour. Then vacuum.


  • Important for overall odor control: Keep the cat's litter box clean. This is the Number 1 contributor to the horrid stench that will infiltrate the entire house. Pick a kitty litter that is made predominately of natural clay. Clay will help you to combat the cat odor because it absorbs odors. Once a week, empty out the litter and scrub the litter box, using a towel and lemon juice. Let it dry completely before you add more litter.

  • Baking soda can absorb even the worst odors. To combat cat urine in carpet, sprinkle baking soda on the carpet every couple of days between shampoos. Leave it on the carpet overnight or all day while you are out or at work. Vacuum it up when you get home.

  • Clean your floors with vinegar. You can use one cup of white vinegar in the water for a carpet shampooer. Mix one cup vinegar with one gallon of hot water to mop. On special flooring, such as hard wood, check the directions on the floor sealant. While the vinegar dries, the smell of vinegar will be in the air, but it will disappear in a short time. Vinegar is a natural odor remover. This will also help to remove the scent of hormones that attract a cat to urinate in certain spots around the house.

  • Mix one teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide with one cup of warm water. Dampen a towel with this mixture to clean up cat urine that is outside of the litter box. If the urine is on a colored carpet, test a small, inconspicuous area for color fastness before you use this mixture on it. Hydrogen peroxide can bleach some carpets.


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