How to get rid of common household smells

Life is messy, and no matter how hard we try to keep our homes clean and fresh, occasionally a spilled coffee, wet dog or accident-prone toddler will mess it up.  

There are lots of ways to clean up spills you can see, but what about the smells that can linger on afterwards? From musty food smells in the fridge to smelly shoes and carpets, we’ve put together a guide to deodorising and freshening your home.  

How to get smells out of a carpet

Carpets trap odours in their fibres, so can quickly get stale with everyday foot traffic and occasional spills. Dropped cereal or drinks containing milk can often cause lingering smells, while parents and pet owners may find themselves needing to get pee smells out of carpet. Here are some recommended methods – whichever you try, always test on a hidden area first to check your carpet is colourfast:  

  1. If the mess is recent, blot the wet spot with paper towels to absorb as much as possible.    
  2. Use a purpose-designed carpet cleaner to deep clean carpets with cleaning solution– Shark’s CarpetXpert range uses bespoke formulas to extract stubborn stains and odours, with powerful suction for fast drying.  
  3. Alternately, sprinkle baking soda over the carpet and leave to dry overnight, until completely dry, then thoroughly vacuum up. 
  4. Mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle and lightly mist over the affected area, then blot with clean towels. 

How to remove smells from shoes 

Trainers starting to smell unpleasant? It’s totally normal – everyday wear takes its toll on shoes, but there are a few easy ways to deodorise your favourite pair: 

  1. Sprinkle bicarbonate of soda straight into each shoe and leave for 24 hours, before emptying the powder out. 
  2. Make sure they’re completely dry – if weather permits, leave shoes outside in the sunshine to completely rid them of moisture and freshen them up.  
  3. Insoles looking tatty? It might be time to change them – a new pair can instantly freshen up your kicks.

How to get rid of a smell in the fridge

Forgotten about some leftovers and now you can’t get rid of the smell, even when you’ve thrown away the culprit? Try these tips to freshen up your fridge:  

  1. Give the whole fridge a thorough clean with a kitchen-safe disinfectant spray, or try dissolving 1 tablespoon of bicarbonate of soda in 1 litre of water and using as a cleaning solution. Why not use the opportunity to have a clear-out of those long-forgotten condiments?  
  2. Don’t forget, fridges have plenty of nooks and crannies including door seals, shelves and fittings, and corners. Be sure to clean these thoroughly to prevent mould and bacteria from growing.  
  3. Leave a small container of baking soda inside the fridge to absorb future smells – a ramekin or egg cup is ideal. Change it every 3 months.  

How to get rid of a smell in the washing machine

Although relied on to clean our clothes, washing machines are often warm, damp, and filled with wet clothes – the perfect environment for mould and musty smells to thrive. Try these techniques to freshen up your machine:  

  1. Run a service wash once a month – this means running a hot wash and spin cycle with no clothes in, to clean out the machine. Check your machine’s instruction booklet to see which program your manufacturer recommends using.  
  2. Clean the rubber seal, door, and detergent drawer – all places that often escape a deep clean, but could be harbouring dirt. You should also empty the filter regularly – put down a towel to soak up any standing water that may escape.  
  3. If possible, leave the washing machine door and drawer open for a short while after use, to allow the inside to dry off. Be careful if your home has children and animals, never leave them unsupervised with a machine.  

How to get rid of vacuum cleaner smells

An unpleasant smell can build up in vacuum cleaners over time, especially if you have pets. It doesn’t mean your home is unclean – regularly picking up hair, dust and dander can cause bad odours to build up inside your dust cup.  

  1. Empty your vacuum after every use to stop dirt from sitting in there for too long. Avoid vacuuming up anything with a strong smell, food substances, or anything that might stick around. Remember, you should never vacuum up wet messes with a standard vacuum cleaner, only a ‘wet and dry’ vacuum or specific wet floor cleaner. 
  2. Regularly clean your filters, or consider replacing them to give your vacuum a new lease of life. It’s also worth cleaning the floorhead brush-roll, removing any stuck debris and wiping everything over with a microfibre cloth.  
  3. Looking for a new vacuum? Try a Shark Stratos vacuum cleaner or a Detect Pro Auto-Empty vacuum, which both feature Anti-Odour Technology, protecting against bad odours using a refillable cartridge. 
    You can also purchase more Anti-Odour Cartridges to keep your home smelling fresh.   

Can’t locate the source of the smell? 

If your home is smelling less-than-fresh but you’re not sure why, an Air Purifier might be the perfect solution, filtering out particles from your air and neutralising odours.