Wednesday, March 29, 2017

What's that SMELL?

When I walked in the house, I said, "The house stinks." 

"I don't smell anything," Bridger said. 

"It smells like dogs, and it does NOT smell good."

I have a hyper-sensitive nose. The funny thing is Bridge and I had just been talking about the scent of a home. Everyone's home has a smell peculiar to the family who lives there. Bridger said when he came to visit us in Illinois, one thing he noticed is that the house didn't smell different from what he was used to because it smelled like me and the house to which he was accustomed.  The foods we cook, and the cleansers and fragrances we use all work together to create the "bouquet" of the home. 

Bridger and I had just returned from a yummy meal out at Fuddrucker's restaurant in Schaumburg where we'd met Chuck, Matt, and Katie for hamburgers. When we came home, we left the new car smell of the Highlander, and came into a smell new to me. It had to be the smell of a house inhabited by dogs. Dog (singular) is enough to change the fragrance of a home. Dogs (plural) just multiplies the smell molecules to what I would say approach the heightened level of STINK.

Replacing our usual fragrances of baking cookies, simmering suppers, laundered clothes, fruity soaps, and floral lotions were the odors of puppy breath, gigantic bags of dog food, and microscopic remnants of puppy accidents that I surely missed during my HAZMAT cleanups. The house had gone from the aromas of Bath and Body Works to the odors of Petsmart in a matter of weeks.

My goal this morning was not just to DEodorize the house, I wanted to REodorize the house. I didn't just want to eliminate the bad smells, I wanted to incorporate good ones. 

The puppies had already been bathed this week, so they weren't the problem. There were secondary puppy issues that needed to be addressed. Everything they had come in contact with needed to be cleaned and freshened. 

This is Bridger's last day with us, and I was letting him sleep in a bit. The first thing I did was put Bristol and Sam in their crates, so I could work without tripping over puppies all morning. Then I stripped the sofas of their protective blankets, and washed them. 

While the blankets were being laundered, I microwaved a splash of PineSol diluted in water which had an immediate effect of making the air smell like I'd already been cleaning. I wiped down the microwave while I was there, and then I swept and mopped all of the vinyl floors. After I dried the floors with a towel, I made a homemade room freshening spray with a cup of warm water, 1/2 tablespoon of baking soda, and 5 drops of lemon essential oil. I spritzed the upholstered pillows and couches and chair, and for good measure, I sprayed the carpet and the curtains. I added some lemon oil to my oil diffuser, which always makes the house smell homier to me.

My last project was taking the dogs out of their crates, and wiping the vinyl trays with an odor remover, and putting down fresh blankets. Of course, my canine companions had to oversee my work, making the job take just a little longer.

Whew. It was a lot of work, but within an hour and a half of Chuck's leaving for work, our house is starting to smell like it belongs to us again, not the dogs! Next on the agenda is opening windows to let in fresh air when the day warms up a bit, and running the vacuum. 

So, I realize sweeping and mopping are critical, and have already stepped up my game there. Am I missing anything? Are there special cleaning or fragrance products you particularly like? If you have tips to share with us about ways to keep our house smelling fresh and clean, please tell me! I would be ever so grateful. 


  1. Not being a dog person, I can almost always smell a dog when I go into someone's house. Even if they have cleaned. I think your technique sounds very thorough. Want to come work for me?!

    1. Oh, Denise, I hope you find good assistants soon!

  2. You should totally try the recipe I use in my essential oil defuser I use 2 drops lavender, 2 drops lemon and 1 drop rosemary! Makes the house smell fresh and clean!

  3. It's part of having dogs and cats. Cleaning and keeping the house smelling clean. Sounds like you did a good job.


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