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Clearing the Air for Smooth Selling

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Written by Lori Auerbach, Realtor | Vanderblue Team | Higgins Group Real Estate

Chances are if you are currently occupying your home you may not be aware of any odors. Your sensory system just becomes so accustom to the smell you don’t notice it. But you can be certain that buyers will instantly pick up on aromas and that will likely skew their first impression of your home.

The first line of attack is usually to dash over to Home Depot to buy an array of room deodorizers, which often times just, adds another layer of “fragrance” to your home. Your goal is start fresh!

Let me preface any recommendations by stressing that every home needs to be thoroughly cleaned from attic to basement prior to being marketed for sale. If you are not able to do the cleaning there are cleaning services that can get the job done. Wall to wall carpet should be steam cleaned as part of this initial cleaning.



1. Open your windows

Open your windows whenever possible to let fresh air in. Fresh air, even on a cold day helps to naturally remove airborne odors.

2. Pets

If you have pets, you need to vacuum often to remove not only hair but also dander that produces pet odor. It’s also recommended to sprinkle baking soda on the carpet and also upholstery, wait an hour and then vacuum.

3. Change your filters

Change or clean the filters used by your heating and cooling systems. This helps to improve your air quality and improves the efficiency.

4. Light bulbs

Clean your light bulbs! Believe it or not oil and dust accumulate on light bulbs and when you turn on the lights the heat intensifies the odor. This is especially relevant in the kitchen. With the light turned off, carefully wipe the bulb with a damp cloth.

5. Food

Speaking of cooking, always use your exhaust fan and leave it on for several minutes after cooking. If you know your Realtor is planning an open house, please refrain from frying any food, cooking fish, bacon and using strong seasonings like curry and cumin.

6. Cooking Odors

While you can’t put all your culinary desires on hold there are some steps you can take to eliminate cooking odors. Place bowls of white vinegar or baking soda in your kitchen after cooking meals that are heavy on spices like curry and cumin. You can also boil lemon peels in a pot of water.

7. Bathrooms

Bathrooms need to be ventilated at all times to prevent mold and mildew from forming. If you don’t have a fan in your bathroom then open a window.

8. Seldom used rooms

If you have rooms that you don’t use often, like a guest room, bathroom or basement bonus room, go in, open the windows, run the water and flush the toilet. You can also place bowls of baking soda or white vinegar in these rooms and even in closets. A stale room isn’t inviting and you want potential buyers to see the value of every room!

9. Vacant Homes

For an empty home, have it thoroughly cleaned, including the walls. Placing bowls of baking soda or white vinegar in several locations throughout the home. If you are not in the same location as your empty property ask your Realtor to drop by once a week to open the windows for an hour or so.

10. The BEST Odor Eliminator 

Lastly, when all else fails and you need to bring out the big guns there’s a product manufactured by Biocide Systems called Room Shocker Odor Eliminator which uses chlorine dioxide. Colleagues have said this product works wonders at eliminating the most stubborn odors. The manufacture states “chlorine dioxide (CI02) is a potent odor-eliminating gas with strong oxidizing properties. An “oxidizing agent” removes electrons from reactive molecules. By this process, ClO2 uses oxygen to break up the odor quickly & neutralizes it.” This product costs $24.95 and is environmentally friendly and non-toxic. I’ve only found it available through the manufacturers website :

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