How To Beat Any Household Odor

young woman cleaning( — Something stinks. But blasting it with a bunch of scented cover-up can be worse than the original culprit! The real key to cleaner air? To cancel out the source of the smell, not its lingering effect.

“There’s a difference between an air freshener and an odor counteractant,” says Jenny Botero, director of housekeeping operations for the Marriott International hotel chain. “Odor counteractants do more than mask a smell; they actually get rid of it.”

While there are a number of reliable all-purpose counteractants, such as Lysol Disinfectant Spray and baking soda, certain pungent smells call for specific measures. Here are some of the best ways to eradicate unwanted scents in your home:


Litter box: Clay-based litter that clumps when wet, such as Scoop Away Plus Crystals ($13.50 for a 25-pound box, at supermarkets) absorbs odors.