When you walk into a home for the first time, you’re visually taking in your surroundings. But if you’re met with a strong smell, it can derail you, even be a real turn-off.

It’s hard to get past those lingering questions about where the odor is coming from and why haven’t the current owners noticed and done something about it. It’s called “nose blind,” which means that over time, one has become unable to detect odors and smells, usually due to familiarity with or prolonged exposure to them.

Here are a few tips to make your home fresh as a lemon and rid your home of unwanted odors:  

  • Put on the rubber gloves and scrub those bare floors with vinegar, wood floor cleaner or an odor-neutralizing product. For cement floors or walls, use a 1:9 bleach-to-water solution.
  • Clean carpets professionally. And if the smell remains, you may be faced with having to buy new carpeting and padding. Before putting down new padding and carpet, scrub the subfloor with an odor-neutralizing product.
  • Wash drapes and upholstery. Yep, odors are absorbed into fabrics.
  • As you clean, open all the windows in the home to let fresh air circulate.
  • Avoid making food that tends to leave lingering odors such as fish, egg salad or Brussels sprouts.
  • Take the garbage out daily.
  • Cut up small wedges of lemon and run through the garbage disposal to neutralize unpleasant odors.

You may want to put some limits on where your pet is able to go to prevent smells. It helps to keep dog bedding washed and to scoop and replace the cat litter box daily.

My personal opinion is that air fresheners to mask odors are a turn off. They can be overpowering to those visiting your home.

Keep the house fresh and your prospective buyers will see all the hard work you put into making your home nice!

Guest post and photo from Melinda Schnare, a real estate agent with RLAH Real Estate.

Mike Diegel

Co-Founder/Editor at Source of the Spring
Mike Diegel, a founding member of Source of the Spring, is a Silver Spring advocate who has been appointed by the county executive to several committees and task forces. He currently is a member of the Silver Spring Arts & Entertainment District Advisory Committee. His background is in journalism and he earned a bachelor of arts in communications from McDaniel College. He is self-employed as a communications consultant and is an active volunteer with Appalachian Great Pyrenees Rescue. He has lived for more than 20 years in Northwood/Four Corners with his wife Trish and multiple Great Pyrenees dogs. He is better known around Silver Spring as the Guy with the Big White Dogs.
Good Scents: Listing Your Home For Sale