5 Habits to Adopt That Will Make Your Home Smell Good All the Time — 'Add Them to Your Routine Today!'

Incorporating these tricks into your maintenance routine will keep every corner of your home smelling fresh and welcoming

A living room with Parisian touches
(Image credit: Tim Lee. Design: Home For Zen)

Believe it or not, making the interior of your home look good is the easy part. Making each room smell good as well is a whole other story. Your home is constantly taking a lot of wear and tear from kids, pets, dirty laundry, food, dirt, and more — so cultivating a fresh-smelling environment can feel like an insurmountable mission, one that you’re constantly grappling with. 

Over the years, we’ve experimented with every possible solution under the sun — from painstakingly making our own potpourri to filling every corner of our homes with sweet-scented candles to mask bad odors. However, according to professional cleaner Alessandro Gazzo of Emily’s Maids, the best way to make your home smell amazing is actually by stripping it back to the basics. 

‘I’m all for using scented candles and homemade potpourris, but focus on removing the source of odors first to make your room smell “neutral” and then you can think about additional fragrances,' he says. Here, we spoke to cleaning experts to discover which healthy habits you should add to your routine today if you’re looking to make your home smell fresh and welcoming all the time, not just until your favorite scented candle runs out. 

1. Washing curtains 

bedroom with white curtain

(Image credit: Lorenzo Zandri. Project by Low Energy House by Architecture for London )

Can't find out where stale smells are coming from? Your living room curtains might be the culprit. A surprisingly simple habit that can level up the smell of your home is washing your curtains and, according to Alessandro Gazzo at Emily's Maids, doing so regularly could transform your home into a much fresher oasis. 

‘Washing curtains is definitely a good tip to make your home smell good,’ he says. ‘I think that it’s important to focus on dealing with bad odors first instead of trying to cover them with fragrances while still leaving bad odors underneath. Curtains absorb dust and grease (especially around the kitchen) and because they’re just there, you might miss them.’

Alessandro adds that while washing curtains is a good idea, it’s important to know the best cleaning method to employ before doing so. ‘Depending on the type of fabric you can wash them by hand or with a washer,’ he explains. ‘Even a steam cleaner seems like a good idea to clean and maintain them.'

2. Dusting regularly 

While most of us don’t think twice about wiping dust from visible surfaces, we often neglect other areas of our home that would benefit from a good dusting. According to cleaning expert and content creator Auri Kananen, dusting is actually a great way to make your home smell better as well as look better. 

‘People usually wipe down visible surfaces, but often neglect walls, ceilings, and dust in high and low places,’ she explains. ‘Walls and ceilings can be easily wiped with a dry or damp mop sprayed with water. There's no need for cleaning agents to remove dust. Dust in high and low places, like on top of moldings and door trim, can be easily removed with a duster to help freshen up the room air.'

3. Vacuuming with an upholstery cleaner

Roots collection by Inma Bermudez for GAN rugs

(Image credit: Lannoo Publishers / Roots collection by Inma Bermudez for GAN rugs )

Before you go into autopilot and reach for your regular old vacuum cleaner, consider using a carpet cleaner instead. Alessandro explains that these pieces of cleaning equipment provide a far more specialized clean than regular vacuum cleaners.

‘Vacuuming with an upholstery / carpet cleaner definitely makes a difference when compared to regular vacuum cleaners,’ he says. ‘ With time, dirt and bacteria still “settles” and you’re going to need something stronger to loosen that up and vacuum it out of your carpet floors or rugs.’

Alessandro adds that it’s important to vacuum your furniture, too. ‘You also should use the same upholstery cleaner to vacuum your furniture, especially if you have pets sitting on your living room sofa all day.’ 

4. Sprucing up your trash bags 

Trash bags are non-negotiable yet unpleasant-smelling features of our home, so in order to dispel any odors emanating from trash bags, Auri suggests a few easy tips and tricks that you can incorporate into your routine which are also great hidden ways of scenting this typically smelly corner of your home. 

‘You can place a fragrance sachet or spray some fragrance into the bottom of your trash bag,’ Auri explains. ‘There are also scented trash bags available for purchase.’ We love scent sachets, like these ones from Target, which can also be hidden inside drawers, closets, and storage cupboards for a burst of fresh scent where you need it most. 

5. Adding lemon oil to your hard surfaces

A citrus print lines a home bar in an otherwise neutral room

(Image credit: Weespaces)

For that added splash of freshness, consider adding a citrus-based oil to your cloth when wiping surfaces clean. This simple trick, Alessandro explains, will release a subtle and delicate yet delicious scent that isn’t chemically or overpowering, making a great idea to introduce to your cleaning regime. 

‘You can try adding one or two drops of lemon or orange oil when you’re wiping the surfaces dry,’ he says. ‘Just one drop leaves a subtle but nice fragrance.’ It's simple finishing touches like these that make your home welcoming and inviting. 

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Katie Baxter
Trainee Writer

Katie is a freelance writer and MA student at City, University of London studying Magazine Journalism. Katie discovered her passion for lifestyle journalism after finishing her BA at The University of Oxford, when she started pitching to major lifestyle publications and covering various topics from popular culture to wellness. She is a regular contributor at Well+Good, where she writes experiment-based beauty and fitness pieces.