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20+ Gross Smells You Can Neutralize Using Items in Your Pantry

Dealing with a smelly pet or can't stand the smell of fresh paint? Look no further than your kitchen to keep these annoying odours at bay.

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Get rid of odours - smells pantryPhoto: Shutterstock

Failing fridge

There are many different ways to keep your fridge smelling fresh: Place a wide, shallow bowl of coffee grounds in your fridge or freezer, leaving it overnight to absorb and get rid of odours. Other great odour absorbers are tea bags; placing three to four around your fridge on a regular basis will prevent strange smells from occurring in the first place. If you don’t happen to have any tea bags handy, peel a raw potato and slice it in half, placing the two halves on different shelves in your fridge. Once the cut sides turn black, slice them away and pop them back in the fridge for continued use. If your smelly fridge needs a deep cleanse, empty it out and wipe the interior with undiluted tomato juice, then rinse with warm water. This remedy will also work on an odorous cooler.

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Get rid of odours - Fish smells pantryPhoto: Shutterstock

Fishy hands

If you’re about to cook fish but are worried about the scent lingering on your hands afterward, halve a lemon and rub your hands with the cut ends before handling fish. If the smell persists after you’ve finished cooking, get rid of the odours on your skin by scrubbing wet hands with baking soda and rinse with warm water.

Check out these other household uses for lemons.

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Get rid of odours - Garbage smells pantryPhoto: Shutterstock

Garbage can

Keep your garbage can smelling fresh by sprinkling baking soda in the bottom each time you change out the bag. Baking soda is one of the most effective natural deodorizers out there and will prevent the area from smelling.

Here are more brilliant uses for baking soda.

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Get rid of odours - Fried fish smells pantryPhoto: Shutterstock

Fried fish

To prevent the smell of fried fish from permeating your kitchen days after cooking, add a dollop of peanut butter to the oil before frying.

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Get rid of odours - Grease smells pantryPhoto: Shutterstock

Grease in the kitchen

Put a bowl of white vinegar out in your kitchen next time you fry something using grease. The vinegar will absorb the stench and prevent an unsavoury smell from emanating through your kitchen. Alternatively, simmer the vinegar once you’re done cooking for an even stronger deodorizer.

Try out these other household uses for vinegar.

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Get rid of odours - New paint smells pantryPhoto: Shutterstock

New paint smell

Although it may be exciting to be adding a fresh coat of paint to your walls, the accompanying odour can detract from the fun. Mix a tablespoon of vanilla extract into a gallon of paint to make the sharp smell slightly sweeter.

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Get rid of odours - Recycled food container smells pantryPhoto: Shutterstock

Recycled food container

If you’re reusing an old food container that was previously occupied by something that left an odd smell behind, squirt a bit of yellow mustard in the bottom and fill the container halfway with warm water. Swish the mixture around gently, let it sit for 15 minutes, and wash.

Find out which food containers you’ve been using wrong.

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Get rid of odours - Skunky car smells pantryPhoto: Shutterstock

Skunky-smelling car

Your pet may have managed to outrun that pesky skunk, but it still spent the evening lurking under your car. Dissolve a cup of dried mustard into three gallons of water and splash the solution over your vehicle’s tires and undercarriage.

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Get rid of odours - Musty dishwasher smells pantryPhoto: Shutterstock

Musty dishwasher

To rid your dishwasher of that musty and dank smell, throw one cup of baking soda in the bottom of the washer and run it on the rinse cycle. Should the smell persist, sprinkle a few more tablespoons in the bottom to sit in between loads, but don’t feel the need to rinse the washer again before the next load. Prevent weird smells from accumulating in the first place by adding half a cup of lemon juice to the detergent receptacle each time you use the machine to get rid of odours

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Get rid of odours - Sneaker smells pantryPhoto: Shutterstock

Smelly sneakers

Stop smelly sneakers from stinking up your whole house by crumbling a couple of dried sage leaves inside each shoe just before you put them on. Sage carries a light fragrance while killing bacteria, and you can just shake the flakes out each night and replace them the next day.

Check out the best ways to clean white sneakers.

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Get rid of odours - Kitchen smoke or cooking smells pantryPhoto: Shutterstock

Kitchen smoke or cooking odours

Did last night’s dinner leave an unexpected reek in your kitchen? Wet a washcloth with vinegar and wave it around the room to neutralize any smell. Another method is to slice two lemons and place them on a baking sheet, then preheat your oven at 225 F and bake for 60 to 90 minutes. Once time is up, leave your oven door open and let this natural air freshener work wonders.

Find out how to properly clean your kitchen sponge.

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Get rid of odours - Stinky feet smells pantryPhoto: Shutterstock

Stinky feet

Keep your feet from stinking up your shoes in the first place by soaking feet in a tea bath for 20 minutes every night. After two weeks, you should notice a decrease in sweat and odour. Another helpful solution is to sprinkle a 50-50 mixture of baking soda (to get rid of odours) and cornstarch (to absorb sweat) on your feet and in your shoes each morning.

Try these other home remedies for foot odour.

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Get rid of odours - Chemical smells pantryPhoto: Shutterstock

Chemical smell in oven

Chemical oven cleaners can be necessary for thorough cleaning, but they leave your oven with a harsh smell that leaches into food when it is next used. Prevent this from happening by wiping the inside of your oven with a sponge soaked with white vinegar after it’s been cleaned. Let the vinegar dry completely before you turn the oven on again.

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Get rid of odours - Microwave smells pantryPhoto: Shutterstock

Rank microwave

You’ve just cleaned your microwave and it’s spotless—except for the lingering stink. To rid the appliance of unwelcome fragrance, microwave a few tablespoons of vanilla extract on high for one minute. Let the vanilla cool and repeat as needed.

You’ll regret ignoring these common microwave problems.

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Get rid of odours - Pet smells pantryPhoto: Shutterstock

Odorous pet accidents

New puppy’s not housebroken? Soak up as much of the accident as you can, then get rid of the urine smell by pouring a 50/50 mix of white vinegar and water onto the smelly spot so that it soaks through. Let it sit for a half hour, then wash with cool water to get vinegar out. Pat dry, then place a half-inch-thick layer of dry rags or paper towels and weigh them down with a heavy object, which will speed moisture absorption. If odour persists, work an eighth- to a quarter-cup of baking soda into the carpet, leave for 15 minutes, and vacuum up. However, general pet odours can also be quelled by heating freshly ground coffee beans over low heat in a cast-iron skillet. Then, place the skillet in the smelly room and the odour should be gone by the time the coffee grounds cool.

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Get rid of odours - Burnt milk smells pantryPhoto: Shutterstock

Burnt milk

While boiling milk, it’s easy to glance away for a minute and look back to see your pan overflowing. If you’ve burnt milk and need to mitigate the smell, wet the bottom of the pan and coat it with salt. Let the pan sit for about ten minutes and then wash normally to get rid of odours.

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smells pantryPhoto: Shutterstock

Smelly car

If you’ve cleaned your vehicle meticulously but can’t seem to get rid of an unpleasant smell—whether from a carsick child or a fast food drive-thru—offset the odour by leaving an undiluted bowl of white vinegar on the floor of your vehicle overnight. If you have vinyl seats, sprinkle baking soda over your seats and work it into the material using your hands or a soft-bristle brush. Shut all doors and windows overnight, and vacuum the neutralizer out of your seats the next day. One helpful tip to keep your car smelling fresh is to keep coffee beans or baking soda in your ashtrays to keep offensive odours at bay.

Check out more expert tricks for cleaning your car.

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smells pantryPhoto: Shutterstock

Musty clothes

To freshen up a musty-smelling clothing article, pour a little unflavoured vodka into a spray bottle and gently spritz the garment. The alcohol will kill odour-causing bacteria, and no new fragrances will be added.

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smells pantryPhoto: Shutterstock

Skunk-sprayed pet

Everyone is familiar with the long-standing solution to a skunk-sprayed pet: the tomato bath. However, for a cheaper alternative with a lot less cleanup, bathe your pet in a mixture of equal parts water and vinegar to get rid of odours.

Just don’t bother with these traditional cleaning tricks that don’t actually work.

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smells pantryPhoto: Shutterstock

Dank-smelling drain or garbage disposal

Keep your drain and garbage disposal smelling fresh and clean with these suggestions: Pour a cup of salt down the drain, followed by a cup of baking soda, and a kettle’s worth of boiling water. You could also grind citrus peels, fresh mint, or ice cubes that are half water, half white vinegar.

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smells pantryPhoto: Shutterstock

Smelly dog ears

Dogs with long or floppy ears are at greater risk for wax and bacteria build-up, which can cause their ears to smell pungent. Clean your pet’s ears on a weekly basis with a cotton ball dipped in a mixture made of equal parts water and vinegar, being careful not to put the cotton ball in the ear canal. After the first ear, discard your cotton ball and get a new one to prevent cross-contamination infection.

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Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest