It goes without saying that your bedroom should be a place of peace and comfort. Serene and sanitary, it’s the place you often look forward to getting to at the end of a bustling day at work and rest and recharge and prepare yourself for the next day that beckons.
However, how can that be possible if it reeks of the bad odor? That is the dilemma that my wife and I struggled with during our first few months together as husband and wife. Most times, it was hard to feel at home when the bedroom smelled of conventional air fresheners, which unbeknownst to us were often full of toxic chemicals that can be harmful to your health when inhaled.
Household odors are fairly common, and it’s not necessarily there as a result of uncleanliness. During the changing seasons, the humidity, lack of aeration and heating can quickly cause rooms to become stuffy or foster a musty smell. Not to mention the pets, which can bring all sorts of weird smells into our homes.
Let’s face it: nobody likes unpleasant smells in the bedroom, so we all look for ways to remove the odor as soon as it becomes apparent. Using a natural air freshener or deodorizer can be quite helpful, but you can keep a fresh smell a lot longer by first, identifying and eliminating the causes of odor in your bedroom.
Regular carpet cleaning, bedding laundering, and clothing management can also go a long way in keeping your bedroom clean and welcoming.
There are plenty of ways to get your bedroom smelling good again without harm to yourself or those around you. Ready to make your house smell fresh? Let’s get right to it by first discussing what the common sources of bedroom odors are.
Table of Contents
- What are the Most Common Sources of Bedroom Odors?
- How to Clean Your Bedroom
- How to Get Rid of Odors in Your Bedroom
- How to Use Natural Air Fresheners
- The Best Air Fresheners to Use at Home
What are the Most Common Sources of Bedroom Odors?
The first step to removing that unwanted odor is to first identify where it is coming from. A number of factors can introduce nasty smells, like a garbage can in the bedroom or another area that is nearby. If you only use the garbage can for office waste such as paper, you can keep to a weekly disposal schedule. In other cases, try to use an enclosed can, and dispose of the waste as consistently and frequently as you possibly can.
If pets are in your bedroom often, make sure they are toilet-trained and clean. In the case of “accidents” by a pet, immediately clean the affected area with vinegar, which actually helps in removing the odor. In addition, help your pets out by providing them with their own little bed by your side, so that you can have your own space. Change pet bedding often as well.
There are also times that the smell of cooking drafts into other rooms and settles on fabrics and furniture. If you plan to cook a very pungent meal, you should close the doors to other rooms. Clean the cooking area of any spills as soon as you are done. If it is not too cold, you can also air out the kitchen and the surrounding area by opening some windows.
How to Clean Your Bedroom
1) Open your windows and let in the sunshine
If possible, open your window at least once a week to bring some fresh air into your room. There’s no better air than fresh air. In addition, direct sunlight can eradicate mold and other odor-causing bacteria. Contrary to popular belief, outdoor air can be less toxic than indoor air, where things like lead dust, radon, and other toxins can build up. So if you see that the weather is nice, open your window once a day for at least five minutes.
2) Clean the bed
Wash your sheets and pillowcases once a week, and clean your comforter at least once a season, which is every 3 months. Bedding can be odorous if you don’t wash it regularly. Instead of making your bed immediately after getting up, pull the sheets down so that the mattress can air out for at least 30 minutes. Your body releases moisture when you sleep, which can dampen the bedding, making it a breeding ground for mold and bacteria.
3) Wipe down surfaces using a wet rag
Use a microfiber dust rag to trap dust, or you can also try using homemade lemon rags to give your room that added fresh scent. Make these dust rags in advance, and use them to dust your bookshelves, windowsills, and electronics, just to name a few. Try using this recipe:
- Combine 1 cup (240 mL) of water, 1 cup (240 mL) of white vinegar, and 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of olive oil.
- Soak a few dust rags in the solution. Old t-shirts, underwear, and socks can gain a second life as star cleaners!
- Wring out the rags so they are damp-dry, and then place them in a glass jar, layering them with the rind of 1 lemon cut into a few pieces. Close the jar tightly.
- To make things smell extra nice, dilute a few drops of your favorite essential oil in water. Dampen a rag with the oil solution and use that to wipe down any dusty surfaces.
4) Use a vacuum cleaner that has a HEPA filter
After cleaning your room, vacuuming makes sure that you have cleaned everything off your floor. Don’t forget to clean the corners, under the bed, upholstered furniture, and even the walls, where dust can accumulate. But why use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter? Here’s why:
- The HEPA filter helps trap allergens like dirt and dust, preventing them from being released into the air.
- Vacuum 2 to 3 times a week if possible, and wash out the HEPA filter regularly.
5) Apply vinegar to the walls
The walls of your room can trap and store many odors, which vinegar helps to eliminate. Mix .25 cups (59 mL) of vinegar with 2 US quarts (1.9 L) of water. Dip a sponge or washcloth into the mixture and clean your walls. If you are worried about your room smelling like the condiment section of the department store, don’t worry about it; it goes away once it dries.
How to Get Rid of Odors in Your Bedroom
1) Make your bedroom a non-smoking room
Cigarette smoke adheres to clothes and furnishings and is a chief contributor to air pollution in the home. Do one better and consider quitting altogether for maximum health benefits to you and those around you. Or, at the very least, limit smoking to outside.
2) Keep the garbage can clean
If you have a rubbish bin in your room, bear in mind to empty it habitually and give it a good clean by wiping it with an old rag and commercial spray. Also, try spraying it with some air freshener to get rid of all the smelly toxins. Look for a trash can with a lid that closes. This can help keep any unpleasant odors contained. Avoid throwing away food garbage in your bedroom wastebasket if possible, since food garbage can quickly smell up a room even in a covered container. Carry any food garbage out of your room immediately and dispose of it in the kitchen garbage or an outdoor dumpster.
3) Leave your shoes outside of the bedroom
Shoes can bring in a whole host of unsavory things, from traces of fecal matter to toxic chemicals that settle on the city sidewalks. Leaving your shoes at the door helps keep your bedroom a healthy and better-smelling place.
4) Use a carpet freshener
Carpets can at times be the source of odors. Sprinkle a commercial carpet freshener onto your rug and vacuum up (follow the instructions for the specific product you’re using). Alternatively, consider making this homemade solution, which gets your rug or carpet smelling fresh in no time:
- Mix 1/2 a cup (110 g) of baking soda with 1/2 a cup (100 g) of borax in a plastic bowl, and then add 1 teaspoon (4.9 mL) of your favorite essential oil (wild orange is a natural flea repellent) or 1 teaspoon (about 2 g) of cinnamon or cloves (the latter deters moths). Stir together until the mixture is free of lumps.
- Sprinkle the solution onto the carpet and let it sit 15-20 minutes, then vacuum it up.
- If you’re worried about staining a light-colored carpet, skip the cinnamon or cloves. You can use cinnamon or clove essential oils instead.
- If you or someone else is sensitive to smells, use plain baking soda instead. Simply sprinkle it on the carpet, let it sit for 15-20 minutes, then vacuum it up.
5) Keep pet living spaces as clean as possible
If you share your bedroom with a pet, make sure that you clean their living spaces, as well. Dispose of solid waste on a daily basis, and clean litter boxes, cages, and aquariums regularly. If your pet sleeps in your room, wash its bedding more often than you wash your own. Pet beds and blankets can pick up bad smells quickly.
How to Use Natural Air Fresheners
1) Add some plants to your room
Not only do plants liven up your decor, but research also shows that they may also filter out toxins released by synthetic materials. However, remember that some plants can trigger allergies in susceptible people, so use caution when selecting indoor greenery. If you have pets or children, make sure that the plant is not poisonous if ingested.
Make sure you pick plants that are right for the conditions in your room. Some plants need a lot of direct sunlight, while others prefer to be situated in shadier spots. Check the plants’ temperature and humidity needs as well–these are often included in a care tag when you buy a plant.
2) Dab a few drops of vanilla extract on a cool light bulb.
When you turn the light on, the warmth from the bulb will release a pleasant smell.
3) Make this DIY natural room spray
While commercial air fresheners can contain a whole host of harmful chemicals, a simple mix of essential oils and water is a great alternative. Simply combine .25 cups (59 mL) of distilled water and 10-15 drops of your favorite essential oil in an empty spray bottle.
- Lavender is known for its calming properties, while citrus scents like lemon, tangerine, wild orange, and grapefruit can be very refreshing.
- A variation on this is to add 1 tsp (4 g) of baking soda to the mix. This makes a great deodorizing spray for furniture.
- You can use these sprays on your linens, curtains, and rugs.
4) Use naturally scented soy or beeswax candles
Candles add atmosphere and fill the air with an inviting scent. That being said, you need to be picky when choosing your candles. Many have paraffin, which releases carcinogenic chemicals when it burns. Additionally, material for the wick often has lead, and artificial scents may contain harmful toxins. Look for soy candles scented with essential oils, or beeswax candles, which releases a subtle honey fragrance.
5) Put out a dish of potpourri
Potpourri is a combination of aromatic things such as dried flower petals, leaves, and spices that fill your room with a long-lasting scent. You can buy potpourri at a drugstore, home décor store, or online. Alternatively, it’s easy to make your own: just mix together star anise, cinnamon sticks, and cloves into a small jar or dish, and place the dish in your room.
If you’re feeling ambitious, you can dehydrate apples and oranges in the oven and add them to the mix. Cut the apple and orange into very thin slices, place them on a cookie sheet in a single layer, and bake them in the oven at 250 °F (121 °C) for about 1 1/2 hours, or until they are dry.
The Best Air Fresheners to Use at Home
It always feels nice to come home to a clean-smelling house. Spritzing or stashing one of these air fresheners in different areas around your space in combination with your regular home-cleaning routine, can help to minimize musty smells and makes space feel so much more inviting.
1) Mrs. Meyer’s Lemon Verbena Room Freshener
- 11.2 ounces
This bottle of Mrs. Meyer’s Room Freshener offers a more budget-friendly approach to flameless home fragrance. I’m particularly keen on using the zesty Lemon Verbena scent especially before guests arrive so your place always smells freshly cleaned.
2) Caldrea Rosewater Driftwood Linen and Room Spray
- Plant-derived ingredients
- No artificial color
- Free of Artificial Colors, Parabens, Animal Derived Ingredients, Formaldehyde
This air freshener from Caldrea is often called the “Febreze for rich people,” which I would say is a pretty appropriate description! This rosewater-and-driftwood-scented spray smells warm and woodsy, not overly floral, and it’s a perfect pick to spritz in the linen closet or over a pile of laundry that’s still warm from the dryer.
Though this room spray is a little bit on the pricey side, its considerable 16 fluid ounces will last you quite a while!
3) Pet House Wax Melts
- Specially formulated for and extremely effective on pet odor.
- Made with 100% natural soy wax.
- Hand poured and made completely made in the USA.
Households with pets are faced with the perpetual conundrum of wanting to mask their furry friend’s scent, while not wanting to put out a candle or spray an irritating room fragrance. This wax melt may be the solution.
Made of nontoxic and paraffin-free soy wax, this pair of paw-shaped wax melts can be used with a flameless wax warmer to emit a soothing, clean aroma in your entryway area or bathroom.
4) Air Wick Freshmatic Air Freshener
- Automatic air freshener spray brings continuous and long-lasting fragrance into your home
- Stylish, slim design that will complement your home décor
- Air freshener dispenser works with any Air Wick Ultra automatic air freshener spray refill
An understated and entirely automatic option, this sleek dispenser from Air Wick works with proprietary canisters of air freshener, spritzing them intermittently for up to 60 days.
This battery-operated device is great for making entryways, bathrooms, and laundry rooms always smell clean and inviting.
5) Old Factory Fresh Linen Reed Diffuser
- Made with premium essential fragrance oil that’s not overpowering or suffocating.
- High-quality, clog-resistant fiber reeds release the scent into the air evenly over approximately 60 days.
- Control the intensity of the scent by changing the number of reed diffuser sticks used and flipping them for a burst of fresh scent.
Stash this reed diffuser on a bookshelf, desk, or end table to enjoy the warm scent of freshly laundered linens for up to 60 days on end.
The fragrance oil is subtle and inoffensive, and its glass bottle is sturdily thick-walled.
6) Febreze Small Spaces Air Freshener
- Doesn’t just mask, cleans away odors with OdorClear Technology
- Febreze cleans away odors and freshens for up to 30 days
- Convenient and simple to use with no plugs, no batteries, and virtually no mess. Use in entryways, bathrooms, laundry rooms, and closets
Here’s an air freshener that works wonders in small – but often overlooked – areas of the home like the laundry room, shoe closet, or the under-sink area.
This standalone unit from Febreze works with gel-filled packs that soak into a membrane in the device, eliminating dank odors while emitting a clean, fresh-laundry scent.
7) Smells Begone Odor Absorber Gel
- Odor Absorber Solid Gel will continue to eliminate and absorb odors for 60-90 days in up to 450 square feet.
- Each Odor Absorber contains 15 ounces of product. Products are all naturally derived, non-toxic, non-allergenic and formulated with our high quality essential oil based fragrances.
- The odor absorbers are safe around pets and children. Simply remove the top label and open the jar to remove the interior liner and screw the cap back on.
This gel-filled jar is best for neutralizing strong cooking, smoking, or litter box smells.
While room sprays offer a quick fix, this air freshener gives off a soft floral smell over the course of about three months.
8) InnoGear Aromatherapy Essential Oil Diffuser
- Aromatherapy diffuser produces stronger mist than the old version, add more moisture and fragrance to your bedroom, living room.
- Covers larger space up to 269sq ft, longer working time up to 15 hrs. 4 timer setting, auto shut off when water runs out.
- The diffuser adopts ultrasonic technology and runs quietly. It would not be disruptive while you sleep.
For those who love switching up their scents day to day, an ultrasonic diffuser is the way to go. Fill this bulb-shaped model with water and a few drops of your favorite essential oil, then turn it on to enjoy the vaporized scent softly wafting around the room.
It has multiple settings: a continuous mode that runs for up to 15 hours, and an intermittent one that mists for 1, 3, or 6 hours at a time. The unit also automatically shuts off when the water is used up.
9) Aura Cacia Lavender Aromatherapy Mist
- Uses ethically-sourced oils
- Perfect for use before sleep time
Aura Cacia is an aromatherapy brand that’s known for its pure and ethically sourced essential oils.
Their lavender aromatherapy mist is perfect to spritz around the bedroom before tucking in for the night, but it can also be used pretty much any time you’d like to infuse a little extra calm into the atmosphere.
Because it’s a chemical-free product, the scent will dissipate in just a minute or two, giving you just enough time to truly enjoy it in the moment.
10) California Home Goods Bamboo Charcoal Air Purifying Bags
- Made from 100% activated bamboo charcoal, this air purifier charcoal bag is the most convenient, most practical and safest solution to keep your home free from any kind of unpleasant smell.
- These air freshener charcoal bags are not just amazing home odor absorbers and car air freshener bags. It’s also an air purifier bag that helps take care of the earth.
- Every purchase of our bamboo activated charcoal air purifier bag from any California Concepts authorized seller comes with an exclusive California Home Goods chance for a money-back.
Need to get rid of that lingering french-fry smell in your car?
These bamboo-charcoal air freshener bags are an easy way to neutralize odors, especially in a smaller, enclosed space.
Even better – they are comprised of naturally derived materials that will maintain their odor-absorbing effectiveness for at least a whole year!
It’s recommended that you rotate these bags on a regular basis, letting them air out for a day or so before re-stashing them in the dank or smelly spots in your home, car, or gym bag.