You know how you buy a new car and it has that “new car” smell? Well, too bad that houses or apartments don’t have that. In fact, quite often you will inherit some of the odors of the previous tenants. So, if you find yourself moving into new digs and you want to eliminate the ghostly presence of those who went before you, here are a few tips. These can be crucial if previous tenants were smokers or had pets who contributed to a big stink and you or one of your loved ones is allergic to cigarette smoke or pet dander.

Keep in mind that before you move in, especially to a rental property, the home or apartment is going to be cleaned from top to bottom. You may get new carpet or old carpet my get professionally cleaned. The majority of the time a new paint job is also in order. Although all of this will contribute to eradicating much of the old odors that were left behind, within about a month’s time you may find some of the old smells creeping back out. This may be most noticeable after the home has been empty for the day while everyone was away to work or school or errands and the air conditioner was not on to circulate and filter the air. So, if you return to a smelly abode, here are some things to try.

Create a vinegar cleaning solution of half vinegar, half water. Clean as many surfaces as possible with this. Any draperies should be laundered in this solution. If you can’t launder them, spray them with the solution. Also clean your own furniture with this solution. By now it has probably absorbed some of the smell. You can also leave small bowls of vinegar in discreet places about the house. Leave them until they evaporate. You can also warm the vinegar for a little more punch in its effectiveness.

The odor could have absorbed into any woodwork and possibly even the sheetrock because underneath the paintjob, those are porous, absorbent materials. If that’s the case, those surfaces will need to be repainted starting first with a nice, thick coat of primer. There are primers available that contain odor blocking agents. That’s the one to use. Then, when you repaint your color of choice, choose a nice shiny gloss or semi-gloss finish. This creates a surface you can regularly wipe down with the vinegar solution.

One area of a house or apartment that might be overlooked in a big clean up job preparing for new tenants is the air ducts. If you can remove the grate, vacuum these out as far back as you can reach. Then scrub them down with your cleaning solution. Finally, leave a small container of cleansing solution within the vent until it evaporates.

Other cleansers you can opt for if you prefer a stronger fragrance than what the vinegar solution creates is a pine scented cleanser or a citrus scented cleanser. These fragrances have nothing to do with actually cleansing surfaces of the odor causing bacteria, but they do help to mask odors.

You can use scented candles and potpourri and deodorant sprays but all they do is mask the odor. What needs to be done is to clean everything containing the bacteria that is causing the odor and purify the air. Once that’s all done, sit back, relax and breathe in all that fresh, clean air!