What's the best way to get rid of lingering odors?
October 2, 2004 8:09 AM   Subscribe

What's the best way to get rid of lingering odors?

I just recently moved back from the clean air and good-smelling Prairies to Toronto after a few years, and have lost the ability that most big city people seem to have to filter out the pervasive "big city" odors.

We live in a great neighbourhood, but our house is right on a major thoroughfare, which creates the constant, low-level smell of exhaust and cars throughout our apartment.

Would buying an air purifier help to remove this smell? Or is there any other, non-chemical way to help relieve our noses of the stink?
posted by theNonsuch to Home & Garden (6 answers total)
but our house is right on a major thoroughfare

I'm willing to bet money it's near the Gardiner Expressway. That thing stinks like a sewer! Yuck!

Good luck on removing the smell without resorting to incense!
posted by shepd at 8:54 AM on October 2, 2004

Hm. I used to be in a similar bind, and I bought one of those ionizers. The principle, as it was explained to me, is that it emits charged particles, which bind to free-floating crap in the air, like exhaust and soot. The combined, heavier particles fall to the ground, so you get dust on the ground but cleaner air.

I never noticed must black dust on the ground, actually. And I had to stop using the thing at one point because it left my sinuses all dry after sleeping in the same room with it. It did give the room a slightly cleaner smell, and refreshing metallic tang. That doesn't sound all the nice of a smell, I know, but it's a fresh, clean one.

It's something to consider. I didn't try any of those HEPA filters, mainly because they look like an expense trap: you need to keep changing and buying the filters forever.

You could also consider looking into plants that clean the air or emit a nice smell. There's nothig like a jasmine vine outside your window.
posted by scarabic at 9:25 AM on October 2, 2004

i would go with plants before the ionizing filter. IME the filter doesn't do much but buzz, but the plants really do seem to make the air smell fresher.

some hardy household plants. (pothos really is easy to keep alive).
posted by crush-onastick at 9:56 AM on October 2, 2004

Watch out, as a lot of those air ionizers create ozone (probably the "metallic tang" scarabic mentioned). Ozone is bad for you. It's also an effective antibacterial agent, which is probably why it can cut down offensive odors.

I second the idea of having plants. They're pretty and make the air much better.
posted by zsazsa at 10:05 AM on October 2, 2004

Plants are an interesting suggestion - for some reason I hadn't thought of that.

For those of you in Toronto, I actually live across the street from High Park, so there's tons and tons of trees and plants within 10 footsteps from my front door.

I guess I'll have to start doing some digging for good house plants that aren't poisonous or harmful to cats...
posted by theNonsuch at 10:09 AM on October 2, 2004

Some plants are reputedly better at air purification than others. Some judicious googling will help...
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:10 AM on October 3, 2004

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