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Some Smell Solutions continued...

•      Baking soda. Of course you can stick a box in your fridge and freezer to soak up nasty smells. But this standby deodorizer -- which chemically neutralizes odors, instead of covering them up -- can also be put to work in litter boxes, garbage cans, kitchen and bathroom drains, smelly sneakers, musty cars, and carpets to absorb smells before you vacuum.

•      White distilled vinegar. The smell may be strong the first few moments you apply it, but it quickly dissipates. The uses for this all-natural product range from cleaning bathrooms and kitchens to washing windows and hardwood floors. Just dilute it and use as you would a typical household cleanser. You can also put a bowl on your counter to eliminate smells, such as when you’ve burned something in the kitchen.

•      Citrus. When there’s something stinky in your sink, cut up a lemon or orange -- or simply toss the rinds down the drain -- and turn on the garbage disposal. For odors elsewhere, slice up a few lemons and place them in a bowl in the kitchen, bathroom, or laundry room. The citrus smell will help freshen the room and cover unpleasant odors.

•      Coffee ground. Put a bowl of dried coffee grounds in your refrigerator or freezer or set them on your kitchen sink to absorb distasteful smells. Make a sachet with coffee grounds in some nylons or cheesecloth and hang it in your closet or other musty places.

•      Scent-free cleaners. Although a "fragrance-free" label doesn't always mean there aren't any chemical scents in a household cleaner, they likely won't have a noticeable fragrance. However, if you are actually allergic to fragrance, you may still have a reaction to those that contain fragrance.

•      Air filters. Air cleaners and filters may be helpful in eliminating some odors, but research is mixed about whether these filters can help with odors, as well as relieve symptoms of asthma and allergies. There are many different types on the market, including mechanical (fan-driven HEPA) and electronic (ion-type cleaners). Avoid “ozone generators.” Although all air cleaners (and other electronic equipment) produce small amounts of ozone, you can confirm with the manufacturer that an air cleaning system is within the acceptable level of ozone byproduct.

•      Fresh air. Sometimes the best way to eliminate smells is just by opening a window. As long as you don’t suffer from seasonal allergies, open your windows and let the air recirculate.


You can also cut down on your family's exposure to fragrances by looking for personal care products such as shampoos, lotions, and body washes that are fragrance-free, or that don't contain chemicals like phthalates. The Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database is a searchable guide that takes a look at more than 7,600 ingredients. You can use it to help you find out what's in your personal care products.


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