Researchers at Harvard University and Tel Aviv University have found that it is possible to distinguish more than 10,000 odors with just a spritz of water. That’s a heck of a lot of scents, but it’s harder to identify just one because so many chemicals occur in common odors. Our physiology gives us a range of cues that inform us about tastes and smells, but we don’t have names for all of the substances we encounter in common everyday events. Of course, the question soon becomes, how can we keep the good smells – the lavenders, the corianders, the lemon and citrus – and eliminate the bad ones – dog poop, litter boxes, mold, mildew, fermented food, etc.? In the end, you’re going to need some type of odor removal, and as you may already know: they are not all created equal.

It happens to everyone at some point, but you probably don’t want your neighbors smelling your dirty laundry, but the dirtier your trash can looks and smells, the more likely people will notice. To get rid of many of the odor-causing culprits, some home remedies can be a decent alternative. Of course, cleaning isn’t always the best use of your time, and you can have all the motivation in the world, but creating your own cleaning products is not exactly everyone’s cup of tea. What ends up happening is you spend some time creating DIY cleaning products from things around the house, and ultimately you end up buying the first item you see when you walk down the grocery store aisle.

Unfortunately, you can have all the tools in the world, but if you don’t know how to use them, and if they’re not the right tools for the job, you’re not going to get any use out of them. Odors around the house pose a particularly difficult problem, because a lot of solutions claim to handle smells, without covering all the smells. Odor removal is a nuanced and intricate process that varies by location, and most importantly, by the source. All kinds of smells can come from pets, from gunk, from spills, from certain foods, from kids, in the car, in your house, at your business, from plumbing – you get the point. The list of remedies is longer than the list of odors.

What if your neighbors are crossing paths with your trash, or your pets are making a stink? Keeping indoor and outdoor trash cans and pets clean will help keep your neighbors’ noses away from any danger. One inconspicuous odor culprit are wet sponges that are left in bathrooms and kitchens. A typical cleanser that’s made for grocery store shelves or even plant pots might work for a room, but you might be better off with a powder like baking soda for carpets, and for mixing into water to scrub with. Another alternative is a wet sanitizer like Pine-Sol, which many people already have in their homes. Another alternative around the kitchen area is organic white vinegar, but this is also wet, and so has limited uses as well.

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