Messy Kids Room - NZ DadsOh boys – wonderful yet to be men, no longer cuddly creatures with sticky fingers but no a musky man in waiting. The smell of a teenager is de-stink-tive (yes, I spelt it that way on purpose). It’s a stench like no other and it starts in “The Room of Doom!”




Why do their rooms smell so? What died in there? Why can I not enter without a gas mask and independent oxygen source? Why do their shoes cause an evacuation of a radius of 100 kilometres as the ghastly stench billows out when taken off? What happened to that little boy whose cute bottom I used to kiss as a tot? And why are you laughing? IT’S TRUE!! So, how to freshen that bedroom of horrors?

Fresh air is fantastic. Open a window let the breeze blow. I don’t care what the temperature is outside, rain, snow or sleet – just open that window every day.  I am willing to pay extra on electricity for odour control. Air that room it out, for days at a time, as long as you can. It’s the cheaper and easiest way to reduce the “bouquet de boy”.

Try tucking an open box of baking soda into one corner of his room or under the bed – it’s an effective way to absorb and neutralize household odours and absorbing moisture.   Vinegar is an extremely versatile item that can neutralizes many aromas; including those left behind by pet accidents and adolescent boy stink.

Encourage them not to dump dirty clothes on the floor (seriously, stop laughing), by banning clothes hampers in the bedroom where things will fester and grow and multiply – taking over the bedroom in a orgy of bacteria and germs til they spill out of the room, invading the rest of the house then TAKING OF THE WORLD!!! Oops – sorry, I got a little carried away there.

Continuing with clothes, if you haven’t read my excellent article on Spot the Stain October 2014, (which you should have – it was brilliant!) it’s simple to shrink the scent. Unfortunately regular laundry detergent does very little to get out armpit smells from school shirts!  Pure white vinegar is the best method and by keeping a spray bottle of diluted vinegar in your laundry.  Rinse the stain as soon as you can, then soak the clothing in 1/3 vinegar and 2/3 water for about 15 to 30 minutes.  Then launder as usual. You could add a few drops of tea tree oil into the spray bottle to help fight bacteria but shake it well before use. If the smell isn’t gone, repeat the process again. If it’s still not gone shoot it and put it out of its misery!

Shoes should never be stored in a cupboard – who on Earth thought that was a good idea? Putting sweat-filled feet-fragranced shoes into a dark and damp cupboard usually just encourages the bacteria to get down and get busy. If there is a garage, basement, mudroom or bomb shelter (!) use that as your sneaker storage spot.  To help control the “ponging perfume”, try the Smell-be-gone Sneaker Sachet recipe below.

Once every 3 months move everything and get the carpet cleaned, wash everything! I mean EVERYTHING! Vacuum the mattress and spray with fabric freshener or make a weak cold black tea solution top spray on to the mattress; (2/3 water, 1/3 weak black tea). Dust mites hate the tannins in tea and it helps reduce that musky smell. Theoretically he should be wiping every surface down once a week (stop laughing), but this might be a good chance to give a really good scrub. Baking soda, whether applied dry to an area or mixed and sprayed with warm water and a dash of vinegar is another effective way to neutralize whiffy spots. Add a bit of citrus oil like lemon or oranges to deodorize and leave a pleasant smell.  Talking about pleasant smells – let’s work on the body.

Smell-be-gone Sneaker Sachet

  • 10 drops tea tree oil
  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 3 to 4 Tablespoonsfresh herbs.   (Lavender and rosemary are great choices.)
  • glass bowl and spoon for mixing
  • cotton socks without holes/muslin/ cloth bags, etc for filling


  1. In a small bowl, mix gently the baking soda, tea tree oil, and fresh herbs.
  2. Transfer about 1/4 cup of this mixture into each sock or muslin bag.
  3. Tie off the bag or sock with a drawstring.
  4. Place one sachet per shoe.

Alternatively for the seriously stinky shoe – bring in the big boys.

 “Rotten Reeking Runners” Sachets

  • 2 teaspoons of sandalwood oil
  • 1 teaspoon of tea tree oil
  • ½ teaspoon of lemon
  • ½ teaspoon of grapefruit oil
  • ¼ teaspoon spruce or pine oil
  • ½ teaspoon of lavender oil
  • 4 cups natural clay kitty litter
  • glass bowl and spoon for mixing
  • cotton socks without holes/muslin/ cloth bags, etc for filling


  1. Stir the all those oils into the kitty litter in a glass jar, cover, and let the mixture age for a week.
  2. Tie off the bag or sock with a drawstring.
  3. Place one sachet per shoe.

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