There are essentially two ways to control the way your home smells:
- Keep it clean and free of the bad-odor-causing elements
- Introduce pleasing scents
First, let’s take a look at some of summer’s biggest bad-odor culprits and what you can do to minimize:
A/C. Great for keeping your house cool, A/C delivers a double whammy in terms of summer odors. First, it forces you to keep windows closed, trapping smells inside. Second, depending on type, A/C can add odors of its own. For window and wall A/C units, be sure they’re positioned correctly to drain all moisture to the outside; shutdown and clean filters at least once a week during heavy-use seasons. For central air systems, be sure to replace filters and have ducts cleaned professionally at least once a year. When the occasional cooler day rolls around, be sure to shut off the A/C and let in some fresh air.
Laundry and linens. Once a week is the guideline for how often to launder bed linens; it’s even more important to stick to this rule during summer when human perspiration quotients are highest. Even if you don’t have time to run laundry every day, at least make a practice of removing sweaty clothes, linens, and shoes from bedrooms and other living spaces to keep bad-odor levels down. The wash guideline for bath towels is every 2–3 uses, but if you find towels failing to dry between uses due to high humidity in summer months, wash more often to head off mold and mildew growth and be sure to run bathroom fans to minimize humidity also.
Window treatments/upholstery/throw pillows/blankets/carpets. Anything textile-based is a potential culprit for harboring bad odors in your home; so, if you’ve yet to address any of these big items in your spring cleaning, there’s still time to do so before summer’s hottest weather sets in!
Kitchen/cooking smells. Especially if you keep windows closed in summer for A/C, consider increasing the frequency at which you remove trash and clean your garbage disposal. For the latter, a combo of ice cubes, coarse salt, and lemon juice works wonders, but be sure also to pull out and scrub the rubber safety gasket, which collects all sorts of yucky, smell-producing bits.
When it comes to adding pleasing scents to your home, certain methods—candles, incense, potpourri, commercial air and upholstery fresheners—can feel cloying with summer’s heat and humidity as a backdrop. Stick to more subtle methods, such as essential oil reeds or diffusor blends, stovetop simmer pots, and DIY room sprays, using fresh summer scent combos including: lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit, berries, melons, lavender, rosemary, basil, mint, thyme, sage, and vanilla.