It’s a struggle to keep your house smelling good all the time (especially if you have pets or kids… or a composting bin). But never fear—we’ve got you covered with 9 easy ways to ditch the stench and create a welcoming space for family and friends.
By: Lisa Fennessy
This post is partially sponsored by Force of Nature, an ethical, hospital-grade disinfectant that is third-party tested, approved for use by the EPA, nontoxic and planet-friendly. As always, The New Knew only works with brands who we trust are making the world a better place.
I live with three boys. And that means my house is more likely to smell like a garbage dump faster—there’s just less margin for error when it comes to the amount of sports equipment and B.O. that boys carry around (this reader gets it—she’s got pee in her closet!).
That said, I’m constantly searching for new ways to get rid of the smell and make my house feel fresh and clean. These 9 ways are simple and effective, and you can use them to prep for holiday guests or all year round.
RELATED: My top picks for nontoxic cleaning products.
9 ways to make your home smell good for the holidays
1. DIY oil candle
Nicolle saw this DIY oil candle on Insta and was instantly curious. It seems super simple to make, cheaper than buying a candle AND there’s no waiting time on melting wax, etc. (and no need for fancy candle-making equipment). Plus, look how cute?!
2. Skandinavisk Scent Diffusers
I was so excited to find this diffuser as a better option for us diffuser lovers. Skandinavisk is a B Corp Certified brand inspired by travel and experiences across Scandinavia (Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden). The notes and ingredients are local to the Scandinavian landscape while giving a nod to that Hygge lifestyle.
These are definity made with synthetic fragrance components, but the difference here is Skandinavisk discloses their fragrance ingredients so we know exactly what is in them. I actually hired a consultant to look at the ingredients with me and she agreed that for people who love diffusers and want a better option, this is it.
Additional things to note…These diffusers are housed in glass made from 30% recycled materials, outer boxes are sourced from managed Swedish forests, with natural color dyes and are FSC Certified and they also offer diffuser refills packaged in recycled plastic.
I’m obsessed with these scents because they smell like the real thing—no patchouli here! Plus they also have a big throw and are gorgeous to display. I tried three different scents: SKOG, HAV and HYGGE.
- HAV is my favorite overall. It has a lighter scent that’s easy to enjoy and can brighten up a room without overpowering it.
- HYGGE was actually my favorite scent but it was too strong for me and overpowered my space. I’m just not used to that much smell but it might be right for you—or larger spaces in general. It smells musky and sexy and cozy.
- SKOG is fun for the holidays and smells like all the evergreen trees bundled into one.
3. Force of Nature
If you have 99 smell problems, Force of Nature will eradicate like 98 of them. How?
Force of Nature uses electricity to turn salt, water and vinegar into a multi-purpose cleaner, deodorizer and EPA-registered disinfectant that kills 99.9% of germs, including Salmonella, Norovirus, Listeria, STAPH, MRSA, Pseudomonas & Influenza A. It’s even on the EPA’s List of Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2, the cause of COVID-19.
I love it because it not only cleans and disinfects but it also works as A DEODORIZER (think: stinky sports equipment, stale rooms, well-loved cars). It’s also fantastic on the go for freshening up rogue hotel rooms, worn-everyday-moto-jackets, sanitizing restaurant tables and as an on-the-fly hand sanitizer. And I’m just scratching the surface here!
I use this daily in my kitchen and bathroom to wipe everything down but it also just keeps everything smelling fresh too.
Force of Nature is different from the rest here because it actually addresses the root of the issue instead of just covering it up. Love pairing this option with another one on this list to not only get rid of bad odors but welcome new.
SAVE: Use code THENEWKNEW for $25 off all Bundles (the Extra Value, Year of Capsules & Super Saver Bundles).
4. Boil cinnamon sticks, oranges, etc.
I first saw this at a friend’s house when I was growing up and I thought it was such a tease! Walking into their house, my Pavlovian response was triggered as I was hit in the face with the aroma of orange glazed scones or a spice cake or maybe even apple cider donuts. Gosh, I couldn’t wait to sink my teeth into something sweet and warm and gooey.
But alas, it was none of those things. It was just a pan of water simmering with slices of oranges and cinnamon sticks in it. There were no treats to be had but dang that house smelled good.
5. Diffuser (with FoN or essential oils)
There’s two types of diffusers in my book. Cute ones and ugly ones and this one is definitely the cutest one around. Love adding a couple drops of essential oils (or a mix of essential oils) to the internal canister, which will freshen up any space.
Bonus tip: Add Force of Nature to your diffuser for whole-room deodorizing! It works like a charm, and if you’re sensitive to scents, this is a bigger boon because it doesn’t leave any scent residue—it just eliminates odors. (But, don’t add FoN AND essential oils to your diffuser together. The EOs can mess with FoN’s potency!)
6. Terralite candles
We’ve done the leg work and detailed out some of the cutest nontoxic candles here. (Plus we walk you through what to look for, how to buy and questions to ask when shopping for nontoxic candles.)
A true standout is Terralite. They are everything you want in a nontoxic candle and more. These candles are made with hand-poured coconut wax and blended with pure essential oils and extracts from plants that were grown without the use of pesticides or chemical fertilizers. They also feature a chemical-free hemp core wick, recycled amber glass containers, a recyclable tin lid and recycled paper labels. Terralite is also 1% For The Planet.
I’ve tried all the scents and my personal fave is Desert Sage.
RELATED: How to shop for nontoxic candles.
7. With Love From Molly White Sage Room Spray
Another great option to keep rooms smelling fresh (especially the bathroom) is a good room spray. And when I say good, I mean NOT VINEGAR. There is literally nothing I hate worse than the smell of vinegar so if you are with me, keep reading, lol. I’ve tried several healthier room sprays and I like With Love From Molly. It features white sage essential oil, rose absolute and lemon essential oil, offering a powdery, fresh, beautiful and calming sensory experience.
8. Get a real pine tree
I realize not everyone is into real pine trees but if you are on the fence, go with a real one and get ready for your house to explode with the smell of pine or fir or spruce. If I had an unlimited budget, I’d put one in every room (and plant new ones to replace what we took ofc!).
9. Palo Santo
Another simple way to clear out a bad stench is to capitalize on the earthy scent of Palo Santo. Known as “healing wood,” Palo Santo has been used to cleanse stagnant energy and promote grounding (you might recognize the scent from a yoga or meditation class). You just light the lightweight wood on fire, blow it out and let the smoke scent your space.
This one from Anthropologie comes in a cute bundle that would also make a great gift.
How are you scenting your home this season?
TNK Team Note: This article contains affiliate links. TNK uses affiliate links as a source for revenue to fund operations of the business and to be less dependent on branded content. TNK stands behind all product recommendations. Still have questions about these links or our process? Feel free to email us.
Regina J.May 16, 2022
Thank you very much for this post! Special thanks for sharing your favorite scents – I’m obsessed with scandinavic scents.
By the way, often there’s an unpleasant smell in the house because of extra humidity, which causes mold. If you find mold at home, the first thing I recommend is to check the condensate drain channels of your air conditioner. According to this guide https://polestarplumbing.com/news-media/keeping-up-with-ac-maintenance, if they become clogged, the unit won’t remove humidity which can lead to moisture buildup in the home. Actually, it is the most common cause of mold buildup in home.
Lisa FennessyMay 20, 2022
Thanks for this tip Regina!
Regina J.May 25, 2022