A Few of My Favorite Things for Stinky Situations

Today, I am launching a new series called “A Few of My Favorite Things.” In this series, I’ll post periodically about my favorite things for various different occasions and situations. I think it will be a fun series, and hopefully a helpful one for you guys too! So in this, my first post of the series, I want to talk about some amazing things that I have found to help with STANK. You know–atrocious smells, reeking odors, and nauseating aromas. Nobody likes stank, and we have GOT to have something to get rid of it when it happens–which it inevitably will. Luckily, I have found some things that are amazingly effective for removing bad smells–even really raunchy smells.

I have an incredibly sensitive nose. Like uber-ridiculously sensitive. I can smell things even when other people can’t. I can literally smell gas seconds BEFORE someone passes it (this blows my husband’s mind every time). I can smell when food has turned (especially meat) when other people don’t notice. If there is even a faint hint of some weird or unpleasant smell, I will smell it. Some might consider that a blessing, and I guess there might be a few cases where a strong smeller like that can save your life (maybe smoke from a fire, or a natural gas leak?) But most often, it is a curse, straight from the pit. I HATE it. If there is an unpleasant smell in or around my bed when I am sleeping, I don’t sleep well. So I don’t put on any of the stinky essential oils before I go to bed 😉 It affects my sense of taste too, since smell and taste are so closely tied together. Strong smells mean strong tastes for me, and that is not always a good thing. I think that is why I am not a big seafood fan. Fish STINKS!

With a schnoz like mine, I have had to really work on neutralizing bad odors, just to stay sane. A lot of people use air fresheners like Glade or Scentsy or products like Lysol, Oust, and Febreze. These products are HORRIBLE for your health and the environment too! They emit toxic VOCs that wreak havoc on your body’s systems, and the chemicals in them are worse than the odor-causing germs you’re trying to eliminate. Please, PLEASE don’t ever use these! There are some wonderful, natural and non-toxic things that I have found that really, really work! Check these out:

Baking Soda
Baking soda is known for its odor neutralizing capability. I usually keep boxes of baking soda in my fridges and freezers to help absorb any stinky odors that are in there. It works pretty well for that. I love that they make the boxes now that you can pull off the side, and there is breathable material there to expose the soda, but not allow it to spill. That’s so much better than just putting an open box in there (can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to clean spilled baking soda out of the fridge or freezer!) I have also put those same boxes in drawers to help keep clothes smelling fresh. We inherited a chest of drawers from my grandmother several years ago, and the whole thing had a weird smell. I sprayed it all down really well with Thieves Household Cleaner, and then tucked a box of baking soda in each of the drawers. It has really helped to keep my son’s clothes from absorbing that odor. Baking soda can also be effective for neutralizing stinky smells in the laundry. You can add 1/2 cup to a cup along with your detergent. Letting the clothes soak for awhile with the baking soda helps even more.

Charcoal is nothing short of amazing to me when it comes to getting rid of stank. It will take the worst stank out of most places. Just before my sophomore year of college, we got a used dorm fridge from a friend. The fridge had sat the entire summer in their garage, with the door shut (which, by the way, you NEVER want to do with a fridge!) It smelled AWFUL. I tried cleaning it with all kinds of cleaning products, and washed the whole thing thoroughly, multiple times with baking soda and vinegar, and I never could get the smell out. It was so bad that any food that I would put in there would end up tasting like that terrible smell! Blech!! Someone told me charcoal would help, but I was skeptical. I felt like the stank was too bad and would never go away. But, out of desperation, I bought a bag of charcoal, filled an aluminum pie plate with briquettes, and put it in the little freezer slot in the fridge. Within a few days, the smell was GONE. Not even a trace!! Made a believer out of me!!! A few months ago, we went to the store and bought some fish. We had a few places to go afterward, so we had brought a cooler to put it in. Unfortunately, one of the packages at the store had leaked all over ALL of the fish packages in the freezer, so ours was covered with a foul fishy smell. After sitting in the cooler for a few hours, the entire cooler reeked of dead fish. After emptying it and cleaning it out, we left the lid open, but the smell was so overpowering, I thought we were going to have to throw it away. But Rex put in a pan of charcoal and closed the lid. After several days, there was not even a hint of fish smell! Seriously, it’s amazing! Try it in your car or even your closets! It helps with odors in there too!

Vodka & Baking Soda Spray
So I stumbled upon this idea one day when I was desperate to find some kind of “natural Febreze” to take some stinky odors out of our upholstery. Basically, you take plain, cheap vodka, and put it in a spray bottle. Then you add a little bit of baking soda–you don’t want to clog the spraying mechanism, so you don’t want to put in too much. But you sprinkle a little in, and then shake to mix. This stuff is awesome. You can spray it on clothing, carpet, upholstery, throw pillows, stuffed animals, anything that is made out of fabric, and it will take stinky smells out of it. We inherited a couch and recliner from another relative, and let me tell you–they STUNK! Made the whole house stink! I got out my trusty spray bottle, and went to work. Basically, you spray it on, enough to wet the item, and as it dries, the odor disappears. And if there is any baking soda residue leftover, it brushes right off. For really tough odors, you have to do it more than once. I think for the couch and chair I may have done it 3 or 4 times because they were just so strong. But it WORKS!

Essential Oils
There are some fantastic essential oils out there that work wonders on tough odors. You can make your own healthy air freshener with some essential oils in a spray bottle (there are tons of recipes out there) and diffusing essential oils in your home can also help with nasty odors. Citrus oils are always fresh and clean smelling and help with eliminating yucky smells. Young Living’s Purification Essential Oil Blend is one that is pretty darn awesome for bad smells. You can put a drop or two on a cotton ball and put the cotton in stinky shoes or gym bags (or just leave a bunch of them in your son’s stinky bedroom!) I had an oven fire right before my husband’s 50th birthday bash, when a gazillion people were coming to my house (giant cookie baking accident!) The acrid smoke was billowing out and filling the house before I could get the windows and doors open. The smell was atrocious, and I thought we’d never get rid of it before our guests arrived. But I got 2 diffusers and started both of them going with Purification. Within an hour or so, ALL the smoke smell was GONE. My friends and family who came to the party said they couldn’t smell smoke AT. ALL. I was blown away at how well that worked! Purification and other essential oils are also great for helping with stinky laundry issues too–just a few drops in the wash is usually all it takes! You can get Purification and other great essential oils here.

Odor Eaters
These are a recent addition to my arsenal, but I have been so incredibly amazed at how well these work! I had a couple of pairs of shoes that made my feet smell so bad that I was considering throwing them away–and they were almost brand new. We don’t wear shoes in our house (to protect our carpets and keep toxins to a minimum), so when I would come home after wearing those shoes, I would take them off and my feet would reek so badly that I could smell them standing up! And it was one of those “ground-in” stinks that wouldn’t come off with just a quick wipe of a cloth. I would have to literally scrub my feet hard to get the smell out. Yuck! The crazy thing was, the shoes didn’t smell bad–I could stick my nose in them and they had virtually no smell, so putting oils on cotton balls inside them didn’t help the situation. The shoes would somehow just do something to my feet to make THEM smell bad. So, I bought some Odor Eaters just to see if they would help. I can’t believe how magical these things are! I put them in my shoes, and now when I wear them, my feet don’t stink AT ALL! They don’t even smell like feet!! I think they are made out of charcoal, so again, it’s the crazy amazingness of charcoal at work on stinky odors. But these things are seriously GENIUS.

So there you go–a few of my favorite things for stinky situations! These things work better than the chemical products that are out there, and they are healthy for you and the environment too! And guess what, frugal friends? They are inexpensive! I am always about things that are budget friendly. I would encourage you to give these things a try next time you have a stinky challenge, and see if they don’t blow your mind. Let me know how things go, and please share any other amazing stink busters that you have used with much success! Can’t wait to hear!



Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means that if you click on them and buy a product, I may get a small commission to help keep my site up and running. This doesn’t affect any prices for you, but it blesses me tremendously! Thank you!
Beautiful woman with grimace because of bad smell. Isolated on white” by Aqua Mechanical is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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About Susan Cunningham

Susan lives in Texas with her husband and son. She loves sharing about her faith in Jesus, writing, homeschooling her boy, natural living, eating real food, pursuing health and wellness, and teaching others about essential oils. She blogs about real life at www.livethereallife.com.

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