9 Ways to Get Rid of Apartment Odors Quickly!

From time to time your apartment is the last place you want to enter. Somehow your hard work keeping the place fresh and clean is not working. Your apartment stinks. You try various air fresheners, candles, and potpourri. Nothing works… if it does it doesn’t work for long. You need to get rid of apartment odors and you need it to last.

What could be wrong?

buy an air purifier to remove odorsAn endless supply of Febreeze or other sprays do not work if you don’t fight odor at its source first. Garbage, litter boxes and things like musty carpet in your apartment produce a constant source of funk. To really get rid of apartment odors, make sure you get rid of what you can from the beginning.

If your pets are the culprit, it is time to wash your dog and his belongings. Vacuum your couch and the rugs. If you own cats, clean the litterbox.

Go through your kitchen and make sure the fridge is fresh. Toss old food. Wash out your trash and recycle bins. Clean your garbage disposal. Even if you don’t use it much food and other gunk set up shop in the disposal and stink up your kitchen. We like to use egg shells, ice, or citrus to freshen things up and keep odor at bay.

Do not forget to ventilate. Open the windows and let some new air push out the stinky stuff.

And now, that your first wave of attack is over, it’s time to deodorize. Here is a quick list of ways to make your home smell fresh and clean.

RELATED: Is an air purifier the best odor eliminator?

Natural Products that Get Rid of Apartment Odors

#1 Baking soda

Get rid of apartment odor - baking soda

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Baking soda absorbs those funky smells like a champ. In a little open container, keep a few spoonfuls of baking soda in the fridge, kitchen or even your bathroom cupboards to soak up those stale odors. Be sire to add some new baking soda every few days.

You can also clean your carpets and rugs with baking soda. Sprinkle liberally over the area and vacuum it up a few hours later. It works great!

#2 Vinegar

Almost every household has a bottle of white or cider vinegar. Wash your clothes with little vinegar and soap solution to remove those mildew odor and stains. Or use it (diluted) to wipe down solid surfaces and clean glass. It has a strong smell, but when diluted it’s actually kind of nice.

#3 Lemon / Citrus

Lemon has a powerful, yet fresh scent. In fact, citrus scent is one of the most frequently copied by artificial sprays and cleaners. Juice from a lemon can help eradicate the pungent smells from the fridge or the kitchen. You can either keep the juice or sliced lemon in a container to get rid of the smell. Recycle the used lemon every few days.

You can also boil few pieces of sliced lemon. This helps remove the cooking odor of seafood and onions.

#4 Vanilla Extract

Vanilla by Watkins

If citrus is the most duplicated scent; vanilla is probably a close second. It’s also one of our favorite ways to give the fridge a great smell. Every time you open the fridge you’re welcomed with an amazing smell that will bring back fond memories. All you need is a cotton ball and a few drops of natural vanilla, set it in the fridge, repeat as necessary.

#5 Onions

Onions emit a pungent tear-inducing aroma that radiates throughout your apartment. However, it can also help get rid of strong paint odor. Place sliced onion pieces at strategic corners of your apartment once you are done with painting your walls. An onion will absorb the paint odor.

#6 Coffee beans

Ground coffee beans can oust a host of odors, including those stubborn cigarette stinks and pet stench. Fill a small sachet or a container with ground coffee beans. It works superbly for your car too.

To eliminate strong pet stenches, heat coffee beans over low heat. Place the hot scented coffee beans in a container around your pet’s corner.

#7 Activated Charcoal / Activated Carbon

get rid of apartment odors - Bamboo charcoal works wonders without much environmental impact

Activated charcoal, also known as activated carbon, eliminates pet odor, smoke, and garbage. These are available as a disc, filters, and granules. Granules work the best with strong stink. Fill sachets, socks or any breathable material with activated charcoal. Hang them in the required zones.

#8 Potted indoor plants

lady palm is a natural air purifierThe air inside an apartment can be stale and contain toxins emitted from paint and smoke. Indoor plants are an ideal natural air purifier option to neutralize those noxious gas and stale odor. Go green with aloe vera, bamboo plants, snake plants, Boston ferns or a peace lily.

#9 Air fresheners

There are a range of air fresheners and plug-ins available in your local store. It masks out those funky odors. Some plug-ins have certain chemical properties and aerosol dispensing properties that cause respiratory problems. However, you can consider natural and eco-friendly air fresheners, like those that use essential oils.

Essential Oil Diffuser

Purify that Great Smelling Apartment Air

Air purifiers

blueair 503 air purifierAir purifiers are a great way to keep persistent odors at bay. If equipped with an activated carbon filter element will tackle odors while a HEPA filter will sort out dust particles and even pet dander. Look out for HEPA filter technology air purifiers as they are the best.

In general, air purifiers work using any one of these technologies:

These purifiers work with ozone particles that effectively wipe out odors. Ozone particles are unstable and can link with other gas particles. It can cause irritation and breathing difficulties in elderly and children. Ozone air purifiers work well for mildew and moldy odors.

We do not recommend products that emit ozone.

These work with activated carbon or charcoal. Carbon filters are incredibly porous and attract gas through adsorption (similar to absorption but for gasses) and are a great way to pull smoke odor from the air. Combined with a quality HEPA filter it’s by far the most effective way to improve indoor air quality in your apartment.

Austin Air Healthmate Best purifier for apartment odors

Purifiers from Austin Air contain a ton of odor killing activate carbon (up to 15 lbs). They also have a huge medical grade HEPA filters. Bottom line… they’re awesome.

Check price on


Zeolite is a naturally occurring mineral created by volcanoes. It works in the same way as carbon filter does. This is another great technology with little or no side effects. It is highly recommended for pet, smoke and chemical fume odors. Often you’ll see it combined with carbon in purifier filters, for example, those made by Austin Air.


Built-in electrostatic plates in the air purifier can neutralize odors and gasses that pass through the grid. It can eliminate smoke, pet, kitchen odors and chemical fumes. However, they can emit some ozone and aren’t quite as effective as a Carbon/HEPA filter.

Negative Ion

Negative ion is relatively inexpensive purifier that works to remove smoke, kitchen, and other general odors. It’s a bit different than an ozone generator, but if you do choose to buy a negative ion generator. Make sure the ozone it creates is well under acceptable limits.

Final thoughts

If you want to get rid of apartment odors and keep them away, you’ll have to do a bit of work.


Get rid of the things that create or cause the odor.


Clean and make sure everything is free of any residual odor-causing residue. Diluted vinegar works well for this.


Once everything is clean, place some natural scents like citrus or vanilla in strategic locations. Don’t use chemicals or scented candles… they’ll just add unwanted pollutants to the air.

In places where you want to keep things fresh without adding an identifiable scent; use baking soda or activated carbon.  Their porous structure creates a ton of real estate for airborne chemicals, odors, and Volatile Organic Compounds.

Finally, keep air fresh and keep it moving through ventilation and/or purification. Open windows and let air into your apartment. Unfortunately, since the air outside can contain pollen or pollution from industry and transportation opening a window can introduce unwanted pollutants. So, to purify that fresh air… close the windows and call on a quality purifier to remove any uninvited airborne guests.

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