πŸ’™β˜• Get rid of 'stealth' sources of household odors

It takes some sleuthing

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Hello and welcome back to Declutter Fast

One of the most vexing problems in a home can be getting rid of unwanted "mystery" odors.

I don't believe in spraying "cover-up" sprays!

They don't solve the root problem!

They are only a temporary fix, and they usually are not that effective.


Ashley tells us about the Broiler from the Black Lagoon:

"I was trying to figure out the source of an unpleasant house odor. I opened the broiling area of the oven and was shocked to see that it clearly had not been cleaned in about a year!

"I have a weekly housecleaner, who used to clean this religiously, so I never thought there'd be any need to look at the broiler! It was full of dust bunnies and grease and it was GROSS!"

When is the last time you checked the broiler?

Broiler alert!!

That's not the only source of a potential odor problem. How long have you had your TOASTER?

Many of us have toasters which are older than our children...

Toasters can last forever; they are terrific products, but they do tend to accumulate gunk over time.

To clean the toaster, use caution.

Unplug the toaster and do not plug it back in for several hours.

After you unplug the toaster, take it to the sink. Do not turn on the water!!

Unhinge the panels at the bottom of the toaster and open them.

Get the crumbs out, using a dry paper towel. You may need to gently shake to get some crumbs loose. An old dry toothbrush can also help.

You may need to use a damp, strong paper towel.

However! Use water very sparingly. Dry every surface where any water or dampness remains.

And then be sure not to replug in the toaster until tomorrow!

Now that's all fine and good, but "can this toaster be saved??"

Sad to say, there comes a point when the old toaster has accumulated so much that it can no longer be cleaned! That's when you have a potential hygiene and odor issue!

If you find that you can't get ALL of the muck out of there, then it's time to break down and get a new one.

Your kitchen will be a LOT cleaner and it will remove both a potential odor source AND invitation for crawling pests.

Toasters don't cost a lot, so off you go to pick up a new one - I'll probably see you there!


Then there are curtains and anything that covers the window.

Curtains have plenty to do with a fresh smell in your home.

Curtains collect dust and need to be washed (gently). Twice a year is good. Three times a year, you get an A+. More than that would be overkill.

But once a year, that's mandatory.

It doesn't take much to clean curtains - including the sheer liners if any.

Hand wash them in gentle liquid detergent. Then hang them to dry (instead of using the hot dryer) to keep them looking like new for years.


The most important aspect of having a home that smells great is your floors.

Whether you have tile, wood, or carpet, a floor has to be cleaned every week.

What you use on floors is important, but the main thing is that it both cleans and is gentle - for wood and carpet.

For tile floors you can use a stronger cleaning agent. You have plenty of options of time-tested cleaning products to choose from. You can even experiment on which one does your home the most good in leaving it with a floor that glows, and a household "clean" smell that you like.

I just rediscovered Pine Sol and I'm surprised at how well it cleans a lot of things. But whatever cleaner I use, I make sure to dilute it so it's just strong enough to get the job done.

Just be sure not to overdo anything and damage your floor. Cleaning products go a long way, especially when they're used weekly.


And when you want to get serious about household mystery odors, don't forget the refrigerator!

You must pull out your frig from the wall twice a year, and clean around and under it!

The frig is notorious for stealth odor problems - so check and see.

And above all, be careful. Moving a refrigerator must be done slowly and with deliberation.

When in doubt, get someone to assist you!


Then there are the sinks in your house. The drains of your sinks have everything to do with how your home smells. They need to be fresh and clean.

You can do this using boiling water. Before you dump the boiling water down the drain, you can also put a cleaning agent in the drain.

Be sure to keep your sinks free of clogs, too. Boiling water helps a lot with this, but at times you may need to go further by using drain cleaner and clog remover.

Stay on top of your sinks regularly for best results!

Between your floors, your curtains, underneath appliances, your sinks, and the odd item that can capture odors, you'll "out" any mystery odors and have a house that breathes clean and smells great.

If anything else doesn't smell up to par, you'll be able to spot it right away.

Then if you add some extra scents, like oils or cedar or eucalyptus branches, they'll be far more effective, and they won't be covering up or competing with odors that need to be addressed!

To start getting your home ready to dazzle anyone...

Take a look at my book "Declutter Fast"!

Here's to the joy of order in your life!

With love,
Mimi Tanner
Author of Declutter Fast: How To Get Your Home In Order Almost Immediately

By the way: Did you know that I write a legendary email column for women? It's called "With Love" and it's all about your love life - it's especially for women who are single, but also a lot of married women and guys like to read it.

You can sign up for my sometimes sardonic and usually entertaining love tips at

With Love

I hope to see you there.

P.S. From Readers (some of these were sent when a hurricane took place in my area):

Thank you, Mimi, for your wonderful decluttering advice. It has brought a sense of peace and calm into my life.

I'm with you all the way! Hope you 'weather' the hurricane and return to your home soon.

-- Susan

Dear Mimi,

I pray all is well with you and your pets. My heart goes out to all the hurricane victims.

Thanks for your dedication -- emailing from your hotel. I'm in the middle of a major decluttering project and using your hints to keep me sane.

Every drawer, cabinet, wall, pile and inch of floor are in for trimming down. It feels terrific and freeing.

I wish I had put a dumpster in the driveway, but filling my van is working well -- and the local thrift stores are loving the donations (I ask for a tax receipt, of course).

Everyone wins when you declutter!!!

Thanks so much.

-- Mandy

That is great! Love belonging to DeClutter. It is a real safety net.

-- Elizabeth

Declutter Fast has helped and inspired tens of thousands of people to declutter their homes since 2006. Become free of clutter and start living the way that inspires you.

How To Get Everything Done is the online system for breaking through the overwhelm and getting anything done.

Mimi is the author of numerous books and online programs, including Declutter Fast and How To Get Everything Done.

Copyright Mimi Tanner. All Rights Reserved. This is intellectual property protected by copyright, trademark, and other laws of the United States, as well as international conventions and the laws of other countries. This message may not be shared, copied, or published anywhere without written permission from the copyright holder.

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Mimi Tanner
3436 Magazine Street #7187
New Orleans, LA 70115
United States

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