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Keep your home smelling wonderful throughout the monsoon with these easy tips

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Every year around this time, we are solaced by the rain but put off by its unavoidable companion, odours. Due to the dampness the monsoon brings in the house, musty smells make their way in too. While this may seem unavoidable, there are ways to combat it and keep your home smelling fresh. We have compiled a list of smart ways to tackle this eventuality in every area of the home. 
 

THE BASICS
Usually people simply mask the odours in the house. Instead, the focus on avoiding bad odours in the first place. If there are inevitable smells, these need to be eliminated as soon as possible. The last step should be introducing fragrances.

1.    Avoid odours
Keeping the home extra clean during the monsoon is key as a lot of moisture leads to mold buildup. Clean up frequently, wiping down surfaces and furniture pieces. Make sure there are no moisture pockets in the house. A dehumidifier is the best way to reduce moisture in a space. Keep the windows open for ventilation, which will also reduce stuffy smells. Using natural scents while cleaning the floors will also leave behind a nice fragrance in the home.

2.    Eliminate existing odours
If there is something that is already a victim of stink, like shoes or clothes, take care of it immediately. Baking soda is a hero ingredient in the fight against most odours. You can use it to combat stinky shoes, carpets, in refrigerators, and in toilets as well. Simply sprinkle the powder on these things after cleaning them, keep it on for a while, depending on how tough the smell is, then dust it off. The odour will be eliminated.
 

Camphor, essential oils, incense sticks or fragrant candles can be used in various locations in the house. Image courtesy, Shashi Chaturvedula/ Unsplash

3.    Introducing fragrances
Once odours have been eliminated, introduce fragrances in the space. Camphor, essential oils, incense sticks or fragrant candles can be used in various locations in the house. Here is a list of products that you can use for this purpose. Experts suggest using one signature fragrance throughout the home to avoid overlaps that confuse, rather than calm our senses. However, if you want to experiment, go with scents that complement each other.

THE ENTRYWAY
1.    Wet shoes, dripping umbrellas or soaked clothes are the worst culprits of moisture stench. Equip places where these items are likely to
       accumulate with rain gear holders in advance. For e.g., an umbrella holder, a jacket basket, and some waterproof trays to keep wet footwear.
       Once you enter, place these products in these respective holders. This will help you decide what to do with them next. Make sure to empty out
       the water once it has drained off in the containers holding them.

2.    A common mistake is placing wet shoes in a shoe cabinet. This results in the moisture being shut in with other shoes and eventually leading to
       an unpleasant smell. Instead, if the shoes are wet, it’s best to clean sludge off first, dry them and then place them inside. A great hack is to put
       baking soda in socks and place them in the shoes. Alternatively, choose rain friendly footwear to avoid any hassle. Place a portable small-
       sized dehumidifier inside the shoe cabinet to remove any leftover moisture.

3.    Keep a microfiber mat and dry hand towels along with a sanitizer right at the door. Whoever enters the house can then quickly dry up and
       proceed to come inside. This way, the moisture is taken care of.

4.    Lastly, place a deodorizer to have a constant supply of fresh perfume to beat any odours that creep in.

 

Placing a bowl of potpourri or a plant next to the wash basin will keep the odours in check. Image courtesy, Grace Kelly/ Unsplash

THE WASHROOM
1.    Since the washroom has been already a place full of moisture,
       it needs extra attention during the monsoon. Making sure that
       the space is well ventilated and that the exhaust is working
       properly is already half the job done. Fix a mesh in front of
       openings to avoid insects coming in.

2.    Next, try to keep the space as dry as possible. In the case of
       the bathroom, make sure the water completely drains out after
       a shower. Put a routine in place to wipe down the walls and
       corners with suitable disinfectants every second day, or as
       convenient to avoid any unwanted buildup.

3.    Keep the drain clean by regularly maintaining the health of the
       plumbing system. A famous home remedy is to use baking
       soda followed by vinegar or lemon juice. Enzyme-based drain
       cleaners can also be used for this purpose. In case of a clog,
       use store bought drain cleaners to fix the issue. You can also
       hire professional help for this.

4.    Avoid leaving any damp clothes in the washroom as they lead
       to odours. Instead, place a covered laundry basket to put all
       the used clothes in one place.
 

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5.    Placing a pleasant-smelling flush soap will not only clean the toilet but it will get rid of any smell after each use.

6.    Place a bowl of potpourri on the windowsill or next to the wash basin. Small pouches of the same can be placed strategically in cabinets or the
       dry corners to have an added dose of fragrance.   

 

THE KITCHEN
1.    This is another space that requires good ventilation. The
       monsoon season keeps smells locked for longer than usual
       due to the dampness. With enough outlets in the kitchen the
       lingering smell of cooking won’t stay for long.

2.    An easy hack is to boil a pot of sliced lemon (or any citrus fruit)
       and add in a fresh herb like rosemary, cloves, a cinnamon stick
       and a dash of vanilla extract. These have strong scents and its
       steam cuts through the potent smell that is left post cooking.

3.    The refrigerator is another area that needs regular cleaning.
       Any food that is expired should be tossed out immediately. Fix
       a routine to wipe down the surfaces at the end of the day to
       take care of any spills.

4.    Rinse plates and utensils after using them. This way dirty
       dishes don’t stink up the kitchen. After all the dishes have been
       washed, use a leftover lemon wedge with lots of salt on it to
       rub all over the sink. This kills bacteria and leaves a fresh
       smelling clean sink.

5.    The garbage bin is a major source of the stench. Keeping a
       layer of cat litter at the bottom of the trash can below the 

Avoiding a pile up of dirty dishes will make sure the kitchen doesn’t stink up due to it. Place fresh fruits and flowers once the dishes are done to add a fresh fragrance. Image courtesy, Dane Deaner/ Unsplash

       garbage bag will help absorb the odours. Replace it once it turns damp. Another hack is to sprinkle some baking soda inside the bag when
       something very smelly has been put in. This way the smell of the same will be controlled.

6.    If you compost your wet waste, consider placing the bin in a more ventilated area like a balcony.

 

Making sure that your closet allows ventilation will avoid the stuffy smell from developing in your clothes. Image courtesy, Oliver

ALL THE CLOSETS
1.    Try to space out the clothes in your cupboard. When
       everything is stuck to each other, there isn’t any ventilation
       space left and that leads to clothes smelling stuffy.

2.    Keep a separate section for clothes that have been used, but
       don’t need to be washed yet. Try to keep a box for these so
       that they are secluded from freshly washed ones.

3.    Place pieces of herbs in small cotton bags and place them in
       between clothes or in the corners. This will help release subtle
       natural scents in the wardrobes.

4.    Use activated charcoal, placed in small cotton bags in the
       drawers, or cabinets. It absorbs mold spores and purifies the
       air. You can also use coffee beans in place of charcoal to
       neutralize air.

5.    Another option is to invest in a cloth perfume or make a natural
       perfume. Spray this every day in your cupboard. This will keep
       the closet smelling fresh all day. 


FABRIC SURFACES
1.    The mattress that you sleep on may start smelling due to moisture and sweat. Given that the weather may not be very sunny, washing it isn’t
       the best option. Instead sprinkle baking soda over it, keep it on for 30 minutes and then vacuum clean it.

2.    Ideally pack away rugs, carpets, and heavy curtains. However, if you do not prefer to put these away, the baking soda trick will help with these
       too. Here is a more detailed guide on how to clean fabric surfaces.

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