top of page

What's that smell?

Updated: Jul 10, 2020

This is what your buyer's will say if you have overpowering odours in your home. It will put them off instantly!

There are many types of odours including pet, nicotine, damp, stale air, potent smelling foods, burnt food and the smells from domestic fires. These smells linger in the air and in furnishings. Tackle any odours head on so your buyer's are not put off your home.

Here’s our top tips to ensure your home smells nice and inviting.


We love pets as much as you do but their smells can and do put off potential buyers. If you are using essential oils in a pet home—remember to check it’s safe for use with your specific pets.


#1 What’s key, is to try to prevent smells building up over time—act immediately. If you see a pet urinating or vomiting - tackle it immediately. Start by dabbing out the wet area and then rubbing some warm water and light detergent into the affected area.

#2 Replace worn out bedding and wash regularly.

#3 Wash your pet regularly.

#4 If you have carpets, they may need deep cleaning as part of home staging preparations. If so, you can either hire a carpet cleaning machine and do it yourself or you can hire someone to do it for you.

#5 If you have cats, there are some good odour limiting litters and pet bedding that reduce odours.

Pets At Home have a great range of pet cleaning solutions.


#6 To contain the odour, smoke outside from now on and open as many windows as possible when you are home to allow the odour to weaken.

#7 If the smoke smell is:

- light - mix 2 cups of white vinegar with half a gallon of warm water. Dampen a clean cloth and use this to wash all hard surfaces, such as furniture, flooring and fireplace surfaces and/or sprinkle baking soda on carpets and fabric, leave for a few hours. Vacuum and your good to go and/or mix 4 tablespoons of baking soda with 2 cups of white vinegar and 2 cups of warm water. Add a few drops of your favourite essential oil e.g. lavender, lemon, orange. Put in a spray bottle and use on affected area. Leave for 5 minutes then wipe away with clean cloth

- excessive - place white vinegar in bowls around the high smelling areas to slowly absorb the smell and/or if you want the smell to be absorbed more quickly, boil a pot of white vinegar on the stove and/or wipe down walls and then re-paint walls


There could be many reasons for damp smells e.g. water leaks, unclean appliances such as washing machines. Identify the source as this will determine what you need to do next.

#8 If your washing machine or other appliance is smelly, place a cup of baking soda inside until the smell goes away or until your next use and put the cup back in if the smell remains.

#9 Every now and again, put a little baking soda in the detergent drawer of your washing machine and put on a rinse cycle.

#10 If you’re clothes or other fabrics are smelling damp you can wash them on a warm cycle, adding a cup of diluted vinegar in addition to your routine detergent. Remember to test this on small areas of fabric to avoid potential damage.

#11 If the damp seems to be coming from the walls, gently scrub any damp patches with a washcloth which has been soaked in baking soda. Test this mix on small areas to avoid potential damage. Get professional advice if the damp remains and fix the source of the damp. Remember, as part of the conveyancing process, buyers can ask you questions about your home, so avoid as many of these as possible by tackling problems head on now.

Food and other Odours

#12 Close doors to the kitchen as well as doors into other rooms to contain food smell to the kitchen area.

#13 Put on the extractor fan during and after cooking.

#14 Consider opening kitchen windows also during cooking.

#15 To remove food odour there's a range of options:

- boil and simmer 1 tbsp. of white vinegar per cup of water. This can also be put in small bowls around the house to remove the smell. If the smell remains, mix equal parts of white vinegar and water into a pan and boil. This mix can also be put in bowls in other rooms and left to absorb the smell.

- place small dishes of baking soda in relevant rooms

#16 Put unused or uneaten food in foil before putting in bins and on buyer viewing days, make sure your bins are empty.

#17 If the drain smells, use a disinfectant or sprinkle some baking soda down the drain.

Adding Pleasant Odours

Now you've tackled the bad odours, let's introduce some great odours into your home. Avoid chemical room freshners if all possible and take the natural option instead. Here's some suggestions from us.

#18 Indoor plants are amazing for creating great smells, some even purify your home.

Areca Palm - Cleans the air and removes formaldehyde

Bamboo Palm - A natural humidifier and removes f0rmaldehyde

Golden Pothos - Great for air purifying

Sansevieria - Removes toxins such as formaldehyde, xylene, toluene and nitrogen oxides

Spathiphyllum - Great at removing toxins such as formaldehyde, trichloroethylene and benzene

Spiderplant - Removes formaldehyde and is an air purifier

John Lewis' Best House Plants for Beginners is a great guide for you to read.

#19 Fresh cut flowers also create a beautiful natural odour as well as being extremely pleasing to the eye.

#20 Candles - there's a huge range of natural candle products available. Beeswax candles for example are a natural air purifier. When you're selecting the scent, make sure it has a natural odour - otherwise you'll put your buyers off. Add these to your bathrooms and cloakrooms as well as the sitting area.

#21 Diffuser - An alternative to candles is a diffuser. Use them in the same way.

#22 There are lots of natural air fresheners you can make quite simply at home. How about a home made lemon air freshener? Dissolve half a cup of baking soda into two cups of very hot water. Add a quarter cup of lemon juice, and pour into a misting spray bottle. Subtle sprinkles a few hours before your buyer viewings will set the right tone.

#23 Finally, on buyer viewing days, why not have some fresh coffee on the go or maybe some croissants warmed in the oven. There's nothing quite like these smells to get your buyer in the mood for enjoying your home.

Let us know which of our top tips is your favourite at

9 views0 comments


bottom of page