Culprit: Musty freezer
Stink buster: Dried coffee grounds. Yup, you read that right. We dumped a morning's load into an aluminum pan and let them dry out in the turned-off oven. Once dry, they're ready to suck up musty smells. Pour them into a sack (a cheesecloth bundle, an old clean sock) and tuck in the freezer.
Culprit: Stove top
Stink buster: Nip cooking smells in the bud. Keep a small bowl with white vinegar on the stove while cooking.
Culprit: Garbage disposal
Stink buster: Throw in a lemon half, cut into quarters, once a week. Occasionally, up the ante by throwing in a cup of white vinegar.
Culprit: Washing machine
Stink buster: A mix of white vinegar and water. Run one cup vinegar through the hot water/high volume cycle.
Culprit: Litter box
Stink buster: Hands down best, any cat litter that's clumping and clay-based. Scoop Away Plus Crystal is the one the folks at Real Simple like best.
Culprit: Dog bed
Stink busters: Your favorite linen spray is an option. So too, Fresh Wave spray. But the one Real Simple likes best: SeaYu Petrotech Odor Eliminator, an enzyme-based spray that somehow wraps around the odor and gets rid of it. Find it at thepetstoreonline.com.
Stink busters: Tuck dryer sheets into stinky shoes, and be sure to prop that closet door open for a good airing at least once a week. Silica packs also help -- you can keep the ones you find in, say, vitamin bottles, or when you buy a new pair of shoes. Toss them in a pair of shoes, or in the corner of a closet. Or hit silicagelpackets.com to buy in bulk.
•Dab essential oils (we are suckers for lavender, but bergamot is nice on the nostrils) on a few cotton balls, and leave them in a small bowl. Or drop them in your vacuum cleaner bags and vroom away. Your carpet will love you and so, too, your nose.
•Ditch funky car smells by filling the ashtray with a half-cup baking soda. Or one of those Fresh Wave gel packets.
•Never underestimate the virtue of an open window. Dalton's mantra: "The solution to pollution is dilution." The more fresh air you can throw on a stinky spot, the lower the concentration of odor molecules, she explains. "Keep the windows open all winter long," she instructs."We can smell at parts per billion; our olfactory systems are so exquisitely sensitive." So a little blowin' of the wind goes a long, long way.
The dirty truth: Your house stinks
How to ditch the stinkiest spots around the house
What's that smell? (Bill Hogan, Chicago Tribune / January 12, 2012)