Living Space: Helping your home smell clean

By Kathryn Weber
July 18, 2013 at 2:18 a.m.
Updated July 19, 2013 at 2:19 a.m.

When you return from vacation, you may be overjoyed to be home but not so happy about the stuffy smell permeating the house. Worse yet, you may notice an odor problem you didn't even realize was there until you closed up the house for two weeks.

Odor is one of those things that makes a clear statement about whether your house is really clean. But a clean smell no longer means the whiff of mothballs and ammonia your grandmother may have favored.

Scent Suites

Answering to the call of Gain fans, who love the laundry detergent's fragrance, cleaning products of every description are now available that feature the Gain scent - from Swiffer cloths to dryer sheets and dishwashing detergents. "Gainiacs" are elated by the ability to scent the whole house with the fragrance of their favorite soap.

Natalie Durham, of Merrillville, Ind., is one of them.

"I noticed when we did the laundry that the whole house smelled great, and everyone commented on it," said Durham. "Now, I buy Gain-scented Mr. Clean to use for cleaning the house and use plug-in room fresheners with the Gain scent. I like having one clean scent that keeps my laundry and my house smelling fresh because it makes the house feel cleaner."

Durham is on to something. Having one unified scent, like Gain - or orange, lemon or lavender - is one way to keep household fragrances from competing with each other, as well as simply making your home smell fresher.

Natural fragrance

Many people prefer natural cleaners and fragrances in their cleaning products. Amanda May, owner of the Purple Fig, an office and home green cleaning service based in Austin, said natural products are all her company uses ( May's quest for natural cleaners and scents prompted her to create her own line of fresh-smelling products.

"Eucalyptus lemon is our signature scent, but we often use our oregano mint all-purpose cleaner in the kitchen because it's a clean-smelling food type fragrance," says May.

She notes that many of her clients are chemically sensitive, so they appreciate the natural fragrances in her products.

"We feel like a clean space is a place where our clients can relax and live life in a healthy way, and the way a house smells is part of that. There's no better thing than coming home to a clean-smelling home."

Incorporating scented cleaners sparingly is the best way to keep your house smelling fresh, regardless of whether the scents are manufactured or natural. However, using them frequently and sticking to products with a common fragrance is one way to imbue your house with a clean smell.

Other ways to keep your home smelling fresh: Clean carpets annually, replace air-conditioning and furnace filters regularly, keep your home on a regular cleaning schedule and check periodically for water leaks.

Kathryn Weber is a home and decorating columnist and publishes the Red Lotus Letter feng shui ezine. For more information, contact Weber through her website,



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