Modern Living

WFH? Tips to keep home smelling fresh and nice

Diana Uichanco - Philstar.com
WFH? Tips to keep home smelling fresh and nice
The goal really is to have a clean home from within and in every surface so you can truly have a dainty-smelling space to live in.
ricardorv30 via Pixabay

MANILA, Philippines — As 2022 welcomes us, it's never too late to roll up your sleeves and tidy up your home so you can usher in the new year with a fresh start, literally! It's such a pick-me-upper when you get to stay at a house with a fresh, inviting fragrance.

You’d be surprised how a few housekeeping tips can do wonders, not only for streamlining your cleaning routine and enjoying a visual treat of a tidy home, but also for making your surroundings smell relaxing and nice. Whether the place you call home is a palatial structure or a one-room affair, wouldn’t you want it to smell amazing? 

You might think that just a few sprays of one of those home fragrances would do the trick. Well, sure… till the aroma wears off in about 10 minutes. Reed diffuser in every room, you say? Great idea to have your favorite scent waft across the area but then ultimately, not even the strongest perfume can prevail forever if there’s a nasty smell underneath. 

The goal really is to have a clean home from within and in every surface so you can truly have a dainty-smelling space to live in.

The nose knows

Diptyque, a pioneering parfumerie maison located in the heart of Paris, has launched its new Holiday Collection that offers a rich selection of thoughtful gestures and surprising creations, conceived to enthrall and also to last. In celebration of the festive season and 60 years of free-spirited artistic perfumery, Diptyque’s Holiday Collection includes decorative and scented objects. It consists of a home fragrance diffuser, scented candles and accessories, and limited-edition perfumes that are now available in Adora.
Photo release


“Scents are a way of personalizing one’s home, and it’s a matter of preference. [But] scent should be a complement, not a substitute for cleaning,” said Andrea Lanuza of Abueli Home Concierge, a group which has been helping families since 2016 to become better at housekeeping by training staff. From teaching how to properly clean the kitchen and bathroom, how to classify rags, use the washer and dryer, to training how to bring out suitable cutlery and plates, Abueli Home Concierge gets you covered.

When asked how a clean house should smell, Lanuza said, “I would look more at smells that shouldn’t be there rather than the homemaker’s choice of scent. Smells that shouldn’t be lingering are those of areas that haven’t been aired or places that have been cleaned by rags with a ‘wet dog’ smell on them.”

‘Wet dog’ smell

Here’s a scenario that may be all too familiar to many of us: wet rag is left lying around after being used in the kitchen, and the user makes a mental note to wash it later. Then a few hours later, a dusty coffee table needs to be wiped, and since the rag which was supposed to have been washed hours ago is still damp, is the same one that's used to wipe the dust off the table.

Many of us probably do this habitually, but if you really think about it,  this is how you spread that “wet dog” smell around the house. We’re all familiar with that whiff of  “amoy basahan," and it’s a smell that we’d rather not have at all.

From Lanuza’s experience in helping numerous households improve their home care practices, this foul smell can easily be prevented by making sure rags are dried properly.  

“A  tip to keep a home smelling fresh is to have a place to hang rags and mops to dry after use and after washing,” said the home management expert. 

“Mops and rags go all over the house and the last thing we want is to have them spreading germs rather than cleaning.”

“When we visit houses, we see that people – when they have [household] staff – probably don’t realize that when they ask the staff to do [too many] things, they can’t finish what they started,” she relates, adding that a litany of tasks may lead to forgetting about tools and implements that were used in the course of the day. A bucket of damp rags, for example, may have been hurriedly shoved under the table to get started on the next chore on time, only to be remembered towards the end of the day.

“The rags may be washed before they are used again, but since they were probably left there, damp, the whole day, nandyan na yung smell,” Lanuza explained.

So many chores, so little time

Depending on your circumstances, the setup at home may have undergone significant changes during the health crisis since 2020. If you find yourself in charge of the upkeep of the home sans hired help, Lanuza’s helpful hints could be a start. Be sure, though, to keep your expectations realistic. While rooms that are perennially spotless, orderly and smell inviting would be fantastic, working the rags and mops can’t and shouldn’t be number one on the list all the time.

“As a homemaker, there are certain priorities that are more important than dusting, like cleaning the kitchen, doing laundry, taking care of toddlers who can’t be left unattended. In these cases, dusting may need to be done less regularly for sanity’s sake,” she points out.In other words, washing the plates and doing the laundry will take precedence over dusting the house (except, of course, if someone in the family is allergic to dust or has some pulmonary or skin condition which may be aggravated by excessive dust particles). If your particular circumstances do warrant frequent dustbusting, here’s a quick and perfectly doable tip, courtesy of the home expert.

“When you’re walking around the house, have a microfiber rag on your hand,” which easily takes care of random spots such as a table or two, the banister, and other surfaces you are bound to pass anyway as you make your way around the different rooms. You can even start first thing in the morning when you walk out your bedroom door to start your day, clutching a microfiber rag!

“You don’t have to have an antiseptic home but at the same time you can’t let it go naman,” Lanuza said.

It sure sounds like a tricky balancing act especially if there are young children in the family, hired help is not an option, and you’ve yet  to put an effective system in place. The home care expert throws in some personal thoughts along with the household hints she has come to master through Abueli, to remind us of the bigger picture:

“To make a home smell inviting, I always think of chocolate chip cookies in the oven and clean laundry. But since we can’t eat cookies everyday, or rather we shouldn’t, open windows while cleaning to let air circulate, and close them again if the home is near a busy road or an airport,” she shared. “With regard to the feel of a home, I would take smiles and laughter any day over zero dust. Cleaning is important for health, but certain things can be stretched just a little to find more family time.”

RELATED: If walls could talk: Tips to organize, decorate space for 2022




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