16 Natural Hacks to Make Your House Smell Amazing

16 odor-improving recipes, cleaning tricks, and room freshening ideas to make your house smell good the natural way with non-toxic ingredients.

Ask me what it’s like to move into a 60+ your old house, and I can sum it up in one word: musty. 

You know how you can just walk into a house and go, “Yep. This place smells old.” (Old book smell is awesome. Old house smell? Not so much.)

how to make your house smell good naturally

But nowadays, when we walk into our house after a long trip, we LOVE the smell of our house because I’ve learned a lot of tricks to chase away gross odors the easy way.

So here is how to make your house smell good and ward off unpleasant odors using only natural ingredients. 

The best part is using these natural ingredients for odor eliminators and air freshening is actually much CHEAPER than going out and buying specialty products that basically coat the stinky house smells with a layer of artificial chemical perfume. 

living room decorated for fall with white sofas, marble coffee table, and rug
How to make your house smell good naturally and get rid of musty smells with non-toxic ingredients

For cleaning and air freshening our whole house to give it a pleasant scent, these 16 tips are all we really need…

How to Make Your House Smell Good Naturally

The VAST majority of cleaning to make your house smell good can be done mostly with just baking soda and white vinegar. There are so many ways to freshen your house with just those two ingredients because they neutralize bad odors and act as a natural air freshener. (Remember making those DIY volcanoes in middle school?)

If you love infusing fragrance in to your home, but don’t want a fake perfume-y punch in the face as soon as you walk through the door, turning to herbs, spices, produce, and a few drops of your favorite essential oil can make your house smell amazing. 

Natural Whole House Fragrance Ideas

apples, lemons, cloves, cinnamon sticks, and vanilla extract for DIY stovetop potpourri

1. DIY Stovetop Potpourri

Simmering this stovetop potpourri for a day or two is the best way to give your home a fresh scent like crisp leaves and warm apple pie. But it’s all done without harsh chemicals. It is quintessentially the smell of fall in a pot! 


stovetop potpourri with vase of fall leaves to make your house smell good naturally

Mix all of the ingredients in the pot and simmer it (not boil) on the stove with the lid off. You can also keep it heated in a crockpot without the lid on low for up to 48 hours. Just add more water if the water level gets low. 

Get creative if you want using whatever ingredients you might already have like rosemary, thyme, mint, oranges, limes, cranberries, cardamom, or ginger. 

You can also use fruit peels to repurpose food waste. Make a pot an hour before guests arrive and your house will smell extra inviting. 

If you’re a real estate agent, a simmer pot is an easy trick to create a pleasant aroma right before an open house.

spray bottle of room spray on a living room coffee table

2. DIY Room Spray

I don’t love using room sprays with artificial scents (they sometimes tend to give me a headache), so making a DIY room spray is the perfect solution.


natural ingredients to make DIY room spray

In the spray bottle, add the witch hazel and essential oil drops. Fill it the rest of the way with distilled water. Give the bottle a good shake to mix it well before misting around your rooms for a natural scent boost.

spritzing room spray in a living room
adding essential oils to an air filter to make a house smell good

3. Add Essential Oils to Air Filters

This little trick works great for infusing your entire house with the scent of essential oils! Just add 15-20 drops of the essential oil of your choice all over a clean air filter before placing into your air return vent.

I love using lavender and cedarwood oil because both have stress reducing properties that can help ease tension and relax the body. Both are also safe for pets to inhale.

Natural Ways to Make Textiles Smell Good in Your Home

DIY linen spray in a glass spray bottle on bedding

4. DIY Linen Spray

It’s a good idea to spritz your linens right after putting on clean bedsheets or on bedding in a guest room before loved ones come over for a stay.


natural ingredients to make DIY linen spray with essential oils

Mix all ingredients in a glass spray bottle and add a “linen spray” label, if desired. Give the bottle a good shake before use and lightly spritz pillows, blankets, and sheets. If you’re substituting the vodka with rubbing alcohol, it will require a little more shaking to properly mix the ingredients before use each time.

I love using eucalyptus, lavender, and bergamot together for a fresh, clean, relaxing scent on bedding (don’t forget living room blankets and pillows too). You can get creative with custom oil mixtures or stick to just one type for a natural home fragrance.

spritzing DIY linen spray on bedding in a bedroom

5. Get Rid of Musty Smells in Towels

You know that musty mildewy smell towels can get over time? This little trick neutralizes odors, deep cleans, and can brighten whites (but is also color safe).


how to get rid of musty smell in house with baking soda and white vinegar in laundry

Wash bedding, towels, and other linens (on warm, if possible, depending on the fabric) with 1 cup of white vinegar poured directly into the washing machine drum. After the cycle is finished, pour 1/2 cup of baking soda into the drum and wash like usual with your regular laundry detergent.

Linens will smell fresh and must-free, plus they’ll feel extra clean!

DIY carpet deodorizer sprinkled on a rug

6. DIY Carpet Deodorizer

If you have a pet who has accidents sometimes (or a potty training toddler) or older carpets, there are probably all kinds of smells hanging out in your rug fibers, especially in rooms with high humidity levels.


  • Spice shaker canister
  • Baking soda
  • 12-16 drops of essential oil of your choice
ingredients to make DIY carpet deodorizer

In a 4 oz shaker bottle, fill it halfway with baking soda. Add 6-8 drops of essential oil to the baking soda and stir well. Repeat, filling the shaker to the top.

Sprinkle the DIY carpet deodorizer liberally on carpets and rugs. Let it sit for 30 minutes. Then, vacuum it up. Poof! Smells are gone. (Steam cleaning carpets once a year can help too.)

vacuum cleaner on carpet deodorizer

How to Make Clothing Smell Better

charcoal bag to absorb odors

7. Get Rid of Musty Smells in Drawers and Closets

I buy a lot of old, secondhand furniture around here to fix up, so I deal with musty odors in dresser drawers on a regular basis.

If you have the same issue, charcoal bags are your friends! Just place a couple of charcoal bags in your drawers and closets to absorb any bad smells. After a month or two, set the bags out in direct sunlight for 2-3 hours per side to “recharge” them so they can keep absorbing odors from your clothing for you.

putting charcoal bags in drawers to deodorizer clothes and old furniture
DIY shoe deodorizer with wool dryer balls and essential oils

8. DIY Shoe Deodorizer

Robert and my kiddos are super active all day so our shoe bench and laundry room where they kick off their shoes every day can smell… ripe.

To make them smell better, add 2-3 drops of essential oil to wool dryer balls (loose wool or dryer sheets work too) and stuff them inside the offending shoes. Let them sit overnight.

DIY shoe deodorizer with wool dryer balls and essential oils
sprinkling baking soda in trash can

How to Make Your Kitchen Smell Good

9. Add Baking Soda to the Trash Can

The kitchen trash can is usually a big offender. Sprinkle some baking soda in the bottom of your trash can before adding a trash bag to help fight off smells.

10. Add Baking Sofa to the Fridge, Freezer, and Pantry

While you’re at it, place a cup of baking soda in an open container in your refrigerator, freezer, and pantry to neutralize food odors. You can place a small bowl of coffee grounds in a fridge or freezer to absorb smells too.

11. Simmer White Vinegar After Cooking

Lingering after dinner smells can be pretty rough, so before sitting down to eat, combine 2 cups of water with a 1/2 cup of white vinegar on your stove to simmer. By the time you’re finished eating dinner, the cooking smells in your kitchen will be eliminated. Any vinegar smells will dissipate in a few minutes.

garbage disposal cleaner ingredients on a kitchen sink

12. Clean the Garbage Disposal

The garbage disposal is one you probably don’t think about as often, but it can be a big reason why kitchens smell bad.


  1. Disconnect the power to your garbage disposal and remove any food debris with tongs. Reconnect the power.
  2. To deodorize, pour the 1/2 cup baking soda down the disposal and let it sit for 30 minutes.
  3. Pour in 1 cup of white vinegar (and watch the bubbles work their magic). Wait 3 minutes, then rinse with hot water.
  4. To freshen and sharpen the blades, add 2 cups of ice, 1 cup of salt, and the peel of 1 lemon in the disposal. Turn it on and let it run until the ice is ground up.
cleaned kitchen sink and kitchen countertop decor with white and green cabinets

Other Ways to Make Your House Smell Good Naturally

13. Open the Windows

Let fresh air in and push stale air out by opening your windows for a few hours.

14. Get a Houseplant or Two

I kill literally every houseplant that crosses my path, but they can be really helpful in revitalizing the air in your home.

15. Use Essential Oil Diffusers

We have one in each of our bedrooms that not only make rooms smell good, they’re great for diffusing lavender oil to help our kids sleep better or diffusing eucalyptus when we have colds.

16. Clean Pet Areas

Wash pet bedding regularly and scoop out litter boxes daily. You can try this DIY pet deodorizer between baths too.

According to Lola though, this whole house is her pet area. She just gives us permission to live here. 😉

white sofa with dog sitting on the back

Got any other tricks to add to the bunch to make your home smell good? Ever tried any of these yourself? The stovetop potpourri is a favorite for our family this time of year to make our home smell extra cozy.

More House Cleaning Tips

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I make my house smell nice all the time?

1. Consider using an air purifier to remove bad smells.
2. Use a dehumidifier regularly to get rid of moisture in humid areas.
3. Clean out the fridge, garbage can, garbage disposal, litter boxes, diaper pails, and pet beds regularly.
4. Steam clean upholstery and carpets once per year.
5. Launder bedding and throw pillows regularly.
6. Get some house plants to filter the air.
7. Diffuse essential oils (check that they’re pet safe, if you have pets).
8. Neutralize smells in drawers and cabinets with baking soda or charcoal bags.
9. Heat a pot of stovetop potpourri for a little natural fragrance.

What is the best natural deodorizer for your home?

Vinegar absorbs odors very well. Use it on hard surfaces, fabrics, and carpets. Set a bowl of vinegar on your kitchen counter to absorb cooking smells after a meal.

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  1. Very timely post to read. We just moved into a 52 year old house and I have noticed the old house smell when I am out for a while and come back in.

    1. Love these ideas! My house tends to smell “stuffy” and I struggle to get rid of it. Do you think the linen spray would work well on a couch? I’m also curious how long the oils last on the air filter? I won’t need a new one for a couple of months yet so it’ll be a bit before I try that out.

      1. Hi, Amy!! I think this is common for so many. Linen fabric is great for couches. I would recommend spraying above and allowing the most to fall onto the couch as apposed to getting the couch wet with the spray. The oils will evaporate within a couple of hours lasting no longer than around four. I use this after a good deep clean to let it all reset fresh.

  2. Love all these ideas and will actually try a few! BTW — just LOVE your living room coffee table. Where did you score that and is there a story? Would love to read it again if previously posted. Thanks for the inspiration.

    1. Hi, Penny! Thank you!! This coffee table was on Facebook Marketplace. I absolutely had to have it. The only story is that we drove further than I would have ever wanted to in order to get to have it. LOL

  3. Very helpful blog. For the best smelling sheets, hang them outside to dry. There is no better scent in the world (except maybe something chocolate baking in the oven or my huge gardenia when it’s in full bloom! Lol!). At age 70, I still hang my sheets out to dry. When we lost the last tree that supported my clothesline, I purchased a stainless steel drying rack that telescopes out to a size that will accommodate a queen size set of sheets. One of my favorite nights each week is the night I get to sleep on sheets that are fresh off the clothesline!