8 Surprising Household Deodorizers

When odors turn a room sour, try these gentle home remedies.

1 Deodorize Your Clothes

Problem: Musty Clothes
Your vintage woolens are back in style, but they bear stale odors picked up during their stint in fashion purgatory.

Solution: Spritz garments with a small amount of vodka (spot-test first). Straight vodka kills bacteria, but it doesn't leave a scent. Hang clothes to dry in a well-ventilated area.

2 Deodorize Your Kitchen Sink

Problem: Stinky Sink
The garbage disposal is great for keeping the dregs of dinner from lingering, but the resulting odors are more stubborn.

Solution: Give the disposal something nicer to chew on. Run hot water, drop orange peels down the hatch, and turn on the switch. Lemon, lime, and grapefruit rinds also do the trick.

3 Deodorize Your Freezer

Problem: Odor on Ice
Those UFOs (unidentified frozen objects) in the freezer make your piecrust smell like a substance from another planet.

Solution: Wipe the freezer with a cotton pad dampened with pure vanilla extract. Refrigerator shelves will benefit from a wipe-down with a 50-50 mix of white vinegar and water.

4 Deodorize Your Car

Problem: Car Fumes
Your car has been there for you through every trip to the vet, the recycling center, and fast-food joints, but you don't want to be reminded of that every time you get behind the wheel.

Solution: Drop a potpourri wax tart into a cup holder. The tarts, used in fragrance burners, are sold by candle makers.

5 Deodorize Food Storage Containers

Problem: Storage Stench
Saving leftovers for lunch is virtuous; chucking containers because you can't get rid of the smell of vegetable curry isn't.

Solution: Soak plastic containers in warm water and baking soda overnight. Bathe glass jars in a mixture of one teaspoon powdered mustard and one quart warm water.

6 Deodorize Your Carpet

Problem: Scents Underfoot
Carpets can collect unpleasant odors, particularly in high-traffic areas and in spots where pets like to nap.

Solution: Cordon off the zone and sprinkle liberally with baking soda, then vacuum up a few hours later. Can't keep everyone away that long? Do a quarter of the rug at a time.

7 Deodorize Your Pet's Bedding

Problem: Essence of Rover
Your dog may be able to tell you're cooking hamburger from across the room, but you shouldn't be able to smell his favorite blanket from the same distance.

Solution: Toss it in the dryer (for 30 minutes, set on medium heat) with a home-dry-cleaning bag and cloth.

8 Deodorize Your Basement

Problem: Subterranean Smells
Guests wouldn't know that your beautifully appointed basement used to be a dank concrete bunker―until they take a whiff.

Solution: Cut an onion in half, place it on a plate, and leave it in the basement overnight. Once the initial salad-bar aroma dissipates, you'll have fresh (non-oniony) air. Like magic!

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