When I first moved into my apartment in Los Angeles, I could tell it had been vacant for a few months. There was a stale smell that traveled throughout the hallway, into the kitchen, and landed in the bathroom. I figured it would go away as soon as I moved in and there was movement throughout the home (and pipes), but a month after I settled in, it lingered still. Sure, I could invest in a few candles to cover up the smell—or I could get rid of it completely. I chose the latter. Here’s how I got rid of gross, funky smells throughout my home in minutes.
First, I did all the things I usually do when there’s a lingering smell in my home: I gave everything a deep clean, cleared all the trash bins, scrubbed the toilet, and even poured a baking-soda-and-white-vinegar solution down all my drains. I used All-Purpose Cleaner on every touchable surface, and even sprinkled some baking soda on my mattress before vacuuming it all up, just in case the smell was the result of it sitting in storage for six months. The smell softened but wasn’t completely gone.
And then I tried the trick that worked like such a charm, I wish I’d started with it. I had lemons, eucalyptus, and lavender on hand from the farmer’s market earlier that week, and I’d heard somewhere that if you boiled them, it would create a smell that gets rid of fruit flies and mosquitos. What I didn’t know is that it rids your home of any dank odors so effectively that I’d be screaming it from my rooftops. (Ok fine, I told my neighbour from my porch, but still.) Here’s what to do:
Fill your largest pot—the one you’d use for Sunday pasta dinner—with water, two thinly sliced lemons, and about five 6-inch sprigs of eucalyptus, a natural deodorizer. You can also add chamomile, dried rose petals, or any other natural essential oils you prefer. Keep the pot uncovered and bring it to a simmer on the stove for at least an hour, adding more water if necessary. The longer you let it simmer, the longer it can travel throughout your home. After an hour or two, split the simmering potpourri into a few heat-safe bowls and scatter them throughout your home. (You can continue to add boiling water to these bowls throughout the day as well.) All in all, slicing the lemon, cutting the eucalyptus, and distributing the potpourri solution took about ten minutes.
I finished with a spritz of Room + Linen Spray throughout my home, as well as on any soft surfaces like linens, couch, shower curtain, and carpets. (I do this weekly to maintain the fresh smell.) I also invested in an air purifier, especially because living in Los Angeles means battling poor air quality due to wildfires. Of course, that doesn’t usually lead to any musty smells, but a great unintended consequence is that my weekly Room + Linen Spray spritz seems to linger much longer than before.
Ah, now you can finally take a deep breath in your home!