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15 Cheap & Natural Ways to Make a House or Flat Smell Good


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Will Southall

Will Southall

a year ago - 9 minute read

Few people want their homes to smell bad when they walk through the door. But unfortunately, our living space can quickly become blocked up with all kinds of aromas – from last nights’ dinner to the stink of our gym shoes!

It’s widely known that you can use chemicals and sprays to make your home smell nicer. But while these popular air fresheners are often convenient, they aren’t always very natural or good for our lungs. Plus, they can sometimes be really expensive to buy.

If you’re conscious about what’s in the air of your home, you may be wondering, “How can I make my home smell good naturally?”. Or, if you can’t keep spending money on these fancy air fresheners every other week, you may be thinking, “What are some of the cheapest ways to make a house smell good?”.

If either of those sounds about right, this article is for you! Keep reading to learn our best tips and tricks! Here we’ll go into detail about the different ways you can make your house or apartment smell better cheaply, naturally and quickly.

Cheapest Ways to Make a House or Flat Smell Good

Air fresheners, diffusers, reeds, and powerful-smelling candles are excellent ways to make a house or flat smell good. But they aren’t always very cheap. Diffusers (plus the essential oils they need to be refilled with) can be expensive. Plus, most air fresheners, reeds or candles only last a short while before you need to fork out for new ones.

Luckily, there are much cheaper ways to make a house or flat smell good. You just have to know the best tips and tricks! To banish bad smells in your rental apartment, here are four of the cheapest ways to make a house smell good.

Scatter Dryer Sheets

If there’s something Instagram and TikTok have taught us in the last few years, it’s that dryer sheets have power! Even though these tumble-dryer products (that usually cost a few pounds for a big pack) are designed to make our clothes softer, people have been using them very differently in recent years.

Since these sheets release a powerful fragrance, you can scatter them around your house or apartment to create multiple cheap, long-lasting air fresheners.

Popular places to hide dryer sheets include coat pockets, stinky shoes, empty pots, gym bags and in between bathroom towels. Just make sure that wherever you place dryer sheets, it’s safe to do so and won’t cause a fire hazard (or any kind of hazard!).

Deodorise Your Carpets

Carpets can be one of the dirtiest places in our homes. They can cling onto bacteria and mould for years. If you rent, your landlord is probably responsible for replacing and cleaning carpets (that aren’t damaged beyond normal wear and tear). That means your carpet may not have been deep cleaned in a long, long time.

While you can hire or buy a carpet cleaning machine to prevent bad smells from seeping out, there’s an easier (more natural) way. You can simply deodorise your carpets!

First, you’ll need to hoover and move any furniture out of the way. Then, scatter baking soda into your carpets and work it deep into the fibres using your fingers. After several hours, hoover up the baking soda. It should leave your carpet smelling fresh and new!

Related article: A renters’ ultimate guide to end of tenancy cleaning

Put Shoes in Cupboards (or Clean them!)

It’s often the little things that make a difference. If you’re an avid runner, gym-goer, or you play in the Sunday league, your shoes could be releasing a powerful smell into your apartment daily (and not a good one!).

A quick fix is to simply put your shoes away in a cupboard. It won’t eradicate the issue, but it should mask some of that unpleasant aroma.

Alternatively, if you want to nip the smelly-shoe issue in the bud, get into the habit of routinely deodorising your footwear. Mixing a cup of baking soda, baking powder and corn-starch, and leaving the mixture in your shoes overnight before cleaning them, should quickly do the trick.

Make Your Own Air Freshener

Another cheap way to make your house smell good is to simply make your own air freshener. While you can buy these from the supermarket, they can get pricey and often don’t last long.

Instead, you can use old lemon, lime or orange peels to create a cheap freshening spray. All you need to do is boil your old peels for a few minutes with water, let the liquid cool and then transfer it into a spray bottle.

You can use your DIY spray around bedrooms, living areas and even on your sofas or cushions. Just make sure if you’re using it on furniture that you test it somewhere inconspicuous first to ensure it won’t stain the fabric (which is especially important to do if it’s your landlords’ furniture!).

Related article: Renting furnished vs unfurnished: what are the pros & cons?

Natural Ways to Make a House or Flat Smell Good

A lot of candles and air fresheners release chemicals and toxins into our homes when used. For some people, these can cause allergies or asthma attacks. For others, it can just be downright toxic for us to breathe in all the time.

If you want to know how to make a house or flat smell good naturally, without the use of chemical sprays, here are our top ways to help.

Simmer a Zesty Pot

For a quick, natural way to make your house smell amazing on a Saturday indoors, take a few minutes to prepare a simmering pot, and you could have a pleasant smell that lasts all weekend!

You can use almost any ingredients from your cupboards to simmer a nice smelling pot, but here are a few of our favourite recipes:

  • Apple slices, cinnamon sticks, orange peels and cloves
  • Lemon peels, rosemary sprigs and vanilla extract
  • Pumpkin spice seasoning, apple cider, cinnamon sticks, ground nutmeg, cloves and vanilla extract

Just add the ingredients to boiling water and simmer it for as long as you like. If the mixture is still good at the end of the day, you can even save the concoction and use it again another day.

Bake Bread or Cookies

There’s a reason a bakery smells so good! Fresh bread, cookies or cakes release some of the best smells when baked. And it’s an entirely natural way to make your home smell amazing. When you have a free weekend, or you’re working from home, test out your baking skills and cook yourself something that’ll smell good and (hopefully!) taste good, too.

Add Fresh Flowers

One of the best ways to naturally make your house smell good is to add fresh flowers to your kitchen, bedroom, or living room. Treat yourself to a nice bouquet (or drop hints to your spouse to buy you some!), and your home will be smelling fresh in no time.

If you’re conscious of the eco-impact of buying flowers, you can always grow your own from seed instead. It’ll take a bit longer, but growing your own flowers can be very rewarding. Plus, once they’re fully grown, you’ll have year-round freshness!

Flowers like Orchids, Geraniums, Gardenia, Jasmine and even Lavender can all be grown indoors to provide a consistently pleasant smell.

Make DIY Potpourri

Making potpourri is an easy, natural and inexpensive craft that can make your home smell amazing for weeks on end. To make potpourri, it’s best to use flower petals from pansies, roses, lavender or geraniums since they hold their shape and colour when dried.

You can dry the petals yourself, but it’s often quicker to just buy them already dried. To make potpourri, simply mix your ingredients into a pot with things like pinecones, cinnamon sprigs or sandalwood chips. Then add some form of fixative (like vanilla beans or orris root) to help the fragrance last longer.

Once you’re done, you’ll have a DIY potpourri bowl that looks fashionable and smells amazing (for months and sometimes years to come!).

Do Your Washing

Okay, we get it, you’re reading an article about how to make a house smell good naturally, and here we are suggesting you do your chores! But hear us out!

We all know laundry day makes our house or flat smell good. So, if you want to make it smell nice (without spraying chemicals everywhere), just do your washing! In no time at all, your place will smell fresh and clean. Plus, you’ll have your laundry done for the week. It’s a win-win!

Use Coffee Beans

Don’t we all love the smell of fresh coffee? If you work from home and can’t live without your morning brew, you’ll love this next trick to make your rental smell amazing!

Coffee beans have a powerful fragrance, even when they’re not being roasted. But that’s not the only reason why they’re a great, natural air freshener. Did you know that coffee beans can even absorb bad smells (like rotten food or cigarette smoke) and filter some toxic gases from the air? (source) Who knew!

All you need to do is grab an old mason jar, fill it with coffee beans and leave it (lid off) in your kitchen or living room. As the days pass, the beans will slowly work their magic and leave your house smelling just like Starbucks!

Fastest Ways to Make a House or Flat Smell Good

Life is busy, especially if you’re renting, working and living in a big city. Sometimes, we just don’t have the time on our hands to make DIY potpourri or freshly baked cookies! When your apartment smells bad and you’ve got fast-approaching visitors, you might just need a quicker way to release any foul odours.

If that’s the case for you, here are five of the fastest ways to make a house or flat smell good.

Open the Windows

It’s simple, but not something we always think about doing. Getting fresh air into our house or apartment is one of the fastest ways to eliminate that stinky fridge aroma and make everything smell cleaner!

By opening your windows for just 15 minutes, you can completely rejuvenate the air quality in your home.

As an added bonus, if you do this daily, you can even minimise the risk of condensation and mould build-up in your property (which can be one of the top reasons why renters don’t get their deposits back).

Related article: How to deal with black mould in a rental

Light a Candle

Of course, we couldn’t write an article about how to make a house smell good without mentioning lighting a candle!

Even though it’s one of the most basic ways to make a house smell good, it has to be mentioned because of how quickly they can release a fragrance and make your home smell nice for guests.

If you’re worried about paraffin wax candles’ health and environmental impact, try using scented soy wax, beeswax, or coconut wax candles instead. They often burn cleaner (which minimises toxins in our homes) and don’t rely on unsustainable resources (like petroleum) for their production.

Mop the Floors

We know this probably isn’t what you want to hear, but cleaning your apartment and mopping the floors can very quickly remove bad odours and make your flat smell better.

If guests are coming round and you know your kitchen still smells like last nights’ takeaway, mopping the floors with a nice-smelling soap or fragrance oil can quickly make your entire flat smell nice. Plus, it’ll look squeaky clean, which is a bonus if you have last-minute guests!

Change Your Bedsheets

If you use a fabric conditioner or scented fragrance balls when you do the washing, your clean stuff will almost certainly release a nice fragrance. And fresh bedsheets are no exception!

If you need a quick way to make your apartment smell good, give your bedsheets a quick wash or switch them out for fresh sheets. It’ll make your bedroom smell nicer without you needing to spray air fresheners everywhere!

Fill the Sink

Old food, grease and bacteria can quickly build up in our drains if we don’t regularly flush them out. If your kitchen has a powerful smell (and not a good one!), it could be coming from your drains. While you can use a drain unclogger to flush it out, there’s a quicker way to spruce up the smell temporarily if you have unplanned visitors.

Simply fill the sink with boiling water and add either dish soap or laundry detergent. Then, mix it all together. The fragrance will slowly release into your kitchen and mask that bad-drain smell – hopefully until your guests leave!


Keeping your house or apartment smelling nice doesn’t have to cost the Earth (literally and figuratively!). We hope that these tips and ideas for how to make your house smell good naturally, cheaply and quickly can help you out no matter what kind of stinky situation you’re in!

Want more renting and home decorating advice? Check out more of our handy guides for renters.

About to rent a new home?

If you’re preparing to move to a new rental, have you already started saving to pay for your tenancy deposit? At Fronted, we know that making an upfront cash payment can be tricky – especially if you have to pay your new deposit upfront before getting any of your old ones back.

Lifetime Deposits are a perfect solution for renters like you where your deposit moves home with you. Check out the details of how our Lifetime Deposits work or join our waiting list to be the first to use them when they launch.

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Will Southall

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Will Southall

If you're a renter, we've got your back. This corner of the Fronted site is loaded with everything from moving tips, Lifetime Deposits, and anything you need to make renting, or moving, a breeze.

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