Keep stinks out with sweet smells

2015-06-11 06:00

OUR sense of smell is one of our strongest senses, but of our five senses, we often give it the least attention.

Yet, it can stimulate memories and the way we feel in a very profound manner – positively or negatively. A pleasant smelling home can enhance the experience of your space – making it an important consideration for all homeowners, especially those who want to create a pleasant memory of their home for potential buyers.

It is a scientific fact that although many of us can detect smells in other people’s homes, only half of us can detect bad smells in our own homes. This is largely due to the fact that the bad smells in our own homes are familiar smells, and our brain only alerts us to new smells. Be that as it may, our olfactory senses can discern up to 10 000 different scents –

Some smells your friends might detect, but you can’t.

Vintage smells - these smells are caused by old fabric and fibres such as upholstery, pillows, bedspreads, carpets, mattresses, sheets and towels that are all primary scent collectors. You may be stockpiling these kinds of lifestyle smells if you, for example, wash your pyjamas everyday and not your gown, or store a lot of linen that rarely gets used.

To reduce this “second-hand clothing” smell, it is recommended you launder such items regularly, even if they are not often used. Regarding curtains for instance, the rule of thumb is to vacuum them every three or four months and dry clean them every two to three years. Air-out spare rooms and stored fabric items as often as possible, and include a bar of soap in the linen closet, clothing cupboards and drawers to ensure sweet smelling fabric all the time.

Sour smells – wet wood and old wood give off a sour smell that often emanate from wardrobes and spaces that are near water outlets in either the bathroom or kitchen. To eradicate this smell empty these cupboards, let the air out, let it dry out, and then give them a fresh coat of paint. This will stop the sour smell from permeating the items that are stored in these spaces.

Gas – pure LP gas does not stink, the characteristic gas odour has been specifically added to the gas to give people the ability to detect a gas leak and take the necessary precautions. If you smell gas, it is crucial that you find the source and promptly fix it, as it is a dangerous fire hazard. Gas smells can seep into wood and paint, but can be eliminated by washing the area with soap and water.

Musty smells – it’s probably one of the creepiest smells in the home, as it often signifies infestations of pests such as cockroaches, crickets, mould or mildew. If you detect a musty smell it is recommended that you or a professional person inspect the home and treat the infestation – these infestations are bad for your health and can cause serious damage to the structure of your home as well. Ventilate your home often to exchange the musty air with new, fresh air.

Rotten eggs – the smell of sulphur or a rotten egg smell is often caused by clogged drains or drain vents. If you detect these smells, clean your drains with bleach by letting it soak for around 20 minutes, and then rinsing with boiling water. If the smell persists get a plumber in.

Food smells – although baking and cooking smells are pleasant, remnant smells of last night’s cooking escapades generally reek. Exhaust or extractor fans eliminate potential odours during cooking before they have a chance of becoming a problem. If you don’t have an extractor fan – then cook with a window or door open.

Pets – a man’s best friend they may be, but pets can be stinky. Dogs, cats, hamsters, and even fish tanks can cause unpleasant odours in your home, even if you cannot detect them yourself. To avoid this problem, keep your pets and the pet areas sanitised and clean – vacuum­ pet hair, wash your pet’s beds, change your kitty litter and wash your pets regularly.

Books – paper and print can emit a relatively unpleasant “dewy” odour. But you can’t deodorise your books or magazines, so there isn’t much you can do about this smell, except keep them in a closed bookshelf.

How to keep your home smelling pleasant:

- Keep your rubbish bins a fair distance from your home and empty the bins inside your home often.

- Let your home breathe as often as possible – open the windows and doors to let fresh air in and old air out as often as possible.

- Plant sweet-smelling flowers, herbs or plants near to the entrance, exit and windows of your home.

- Bake often – the smell of freshly baked bread, cinnamon buns or cake are pleasant smells that are difficult to top.

- Light incense or scented candles often. Burning aroma therapy oils in oil burners is another great way of creating heavenly scents.

- Sprinkle baking soda on carpets before you vacuum them.

- Brew coffee in your home as often as possible.

- Keep freshly cut flowers in your home whenever you can.

- By including a few drops of delicious smelling essential oils in your cleaning water, you can make your whole home smell nice. Some favourites include peppermint, vanilla, lavender­ or orange. You can add a few drops to your laundry as well.

- Slip open bars of soap between linen and clothes. – Property24.


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