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A kid’s bedroom is no ordinary room in the house. It’s probably the dirtiest and the smelliest. Sweaty socks and other articles of clothing carelessly littered on the floor. Used cups and dishes left out for who knows how long. Also, if your kids are in their teenage years, you’ve reached peak assassination to the senses since teenagers also mysteriously seem to carry a general funk at all times.

Over time, kids will learn the meticulous details that go into keeping up with basic personal hygiene and tidying up their surroundings, but until then, here’s how to deodorize your kids’ rooms.

Does Your Kid’s Room Smell Musty?

Before you start scrubbing the entire room from floor to ceiling, it’s a good idea to narrow down the type of odor that’s emitting from your child’s bedroom first. Depending on the odor, there could be a more dangerous culprit to the smell than something trivial like leftover food or stagnant air.

If you’re experiencing a more musty, wet basement odor, that could be a sign of mildew or, worse, mold growth. Try to locate the source of the smell. Mold and mildew thrive in damp environments like:

  • Leaks in the wall or floor (caused by plumbing)
  • Leaks in the roof
  • HVAC vents
  • Indoor potted plants
  • Carpet
  • Windowsills

Mildew (powdery gray or white patches of fungus) is easy to clean with your typical store-bought cleaners. With mold (fuzzy black or green fungus), however, the growth could be much deeper than what’s immediately visible and should be investigated by a professional. Prolonged exposure to toxic mold left unattended can potentially result in serious health problems.

Once you’ve crossed mold and mildew off the list, you can use the following ten tips to freshen up your kid’s room -- let alone any room with a foul stench.  


How to Make My Child’s Room Smell Good

1. Use Sport Detergent 

Does your child play sports? Children taking part in active recreational activities, especially those that take place outdoors, bring home sweaty clothes and outside pollutants. Even if you wash jerseys, socks, shin guards, and padding right after games and practice, sweaty clothes can accumulate dirt and grime that’s too much for normal detergent to handle. In some cases, certain detergents like fabric softeners actually add to the odor problem because they lock in odors (especially with sweat-wicking fabric).

What’s the solution to stinky workout gear then? Sport detergent. A brand like Nathan Sport Wash works wonders when it comes to eliminating all odors—from football jerseys to baseball uniforms to dancewear. The detergent is odorless and highly concentrated, so it’s surprising that a little goes a long way in removing the smell from your child’s wardrobe.

However, if your child is particularly active or you have multiple kids—you may find that you don’t have time to do laundry after every game or practice. If this is the case, consider getting an odor-fighting air purifier such as the Alen BreatheSmart FIT50 for the laundry room or your child’s bedroom. Instead of doing laundry every night, simply let the air purifier do the work for you and enjoy cleaner air!

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Alen BreatheSmart FIT50 True HEPA Air Purifier From $374

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2. Wash Bedding Once Per Week

Most people don’t wash bedding as much as they should. The general rule is to wash them once per week to keep them smelling fresh and also hygienic. People have 2 to 4 million sweat glands in their body, and these sweat glands become the most active during puberty. Considering that it’s not uncommon for kids to have the occasional night sweat, it’s important to keep your kids' sheets clean so they don’t start to smell! 

Also, loosen up on making the bed rules. When your kids get up in the morning, tell them to make their bed after they’ve eaten breakfast and showered, so the sheets have time to air out. That’ll keep some of the bacteria buildup and subsequent stench at bay until the next wash.

3. Protect the Mattress

Mattress covers were invented for a reason—to keep sweat, drool, bedwetting, and other nastiness from seeping deep into the mattress fibers and harboring bacteria. Buy a mattress cover for your child’s bed and wash it every couple months. 

If your child’s mattress is more than 10 years old, whether it was used with a mattress cover or not, it’s time to buy a new one. Old mattresses harbor tons of germs which can add to offensive bedroom odor

4. Dry Washable Items in the Sun

This is especially a good tip for families looking to conserve energy and save some money on electricity. The ultraviolet rays of the sun kill some bacteria when you allow clothes to completely dry in the sunshine. After you wash your children’s clothing in sport detergent, hang them out to let the sun work its odor-busting magic.

Although, bear in mind that if your child is sensitive to allergies, your line-dried laundry can bring pollen and mold spores inside the home. In this case, it may just be better to settle for frequent washing and making sure laundry hampers are being emptied regularly.

5. Open Windows

Many people don’t know that indoor air is often more polluted than outdoor air. That’s because all the pollutants from outside, like smog and pollen, along with the pollutants you’re creating inside, like dust, dead skin and animal dander, get trapped inside the home without proper ventilation.  

Add your children’s buildup of sweat and bacteria onto that list, and it’s a no brainer that their rooms would smell fairly unpleasant.. When the weather allows, air out your child’s room by opening the windows and letting some fresh air circulate around the room.

If allergies or your weather makes it difficult to open a window often (frequently excessive rainy, cold, or hot climates) then consider using an air purifier to get the same fresh air results without exposing your home to allergens or outdoor conditions.

The Alen BreatheSmart 75i cleans 1,300 square feet every 30 minutes, meaning it’ll provide clean air for your child’s bedroom or other large sized rooms.

6. Use Fans

Fans don’t just keep you cool, but circulate air so it doesn’t become stagnant and smelly. Get your child a window fan that both pulls clean, fresh air in and reverses to suck stinky air out. If you don’t think a fan will do enough, consider opting for something that packs a bigger punch—such as the Alen T500 Air Purifier which can circulate and purify air in rooms up to 500 square feet while maintaining a nearly silent sound profile.

7. Run a Dehumidifier

Moisture causes mold and mildew accumulation—and a smell that’s hard to eradicate once it becomes a problem. These stinky situations can be prevented by running dehumidifiers, since dehumidifiers draw excess moisture from the air.

Besides your child’s bedroom, another room in the home that could benefit from a dehumidifier is the basement, where moisture thrives.

8. Change Out Carpet for Hard Surfaces

Carpet may feel nice under your toes, but it’s a breeding ground for germs, mildew, and olfactory offenders. If your child spills drinks and food, walks around with dirty feet, or gets sick on a carpet it’s much harder to remove than on a hard surface. 

Regularly vacuuming your carpet will take care of the larger dust and crumb particles, but if you’ve accidentally let a spill sit for too long, you may eventually have mildew on your hands. Clean spills or pet accidents right away, and if you don’t notice them until they’re a problem, try using baking soda to absorb the smell or something more powerful like a wet/dry vacuum to suck out moisture.

9. Don’t Let Your Kids Eat in their Rooms

It’s too easy to forget a half-eaten sandwich under the bed—until it starts stinking up the whole house. Make a house rule that forbids food in bedrooms, so your kids don’t end up attracting pests, getting sick, or creating a very stinky kid cave.

10. Get an Air Purifier

The thing about odor particles is that they don’t just stay and stink up one place. They move around in the air, so it’s hard to fully eliminate them. An air purifier solves this problem. It not only attracts and captures these odorous pollutants in the air, but it also neutralizes and destroys them so there’s no chance that they’re released back into the air.

With an Alen bedroom air purifier, paired with our True Hepa-OdorCell Filter, you can destroy heavy odors at the molecular level. Your child’s room will smell as fresh as the day you moved in.

If you don’t know where to start, take our air purifier quiz or check out our buying guide to find a solution catered for your unique needs. If you’re still not sure which purifier is right for you, see our recommendations below and be sure to check out our air purifier best practices guide once you’ve picked your perfect purifier.


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Alen T500 True HEPA Tower Air Purifier From $199

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Alen BreatheSmart FIT50 True HEPA Air Purifier From $374

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Alen BreatheSmart 75i True HEPA Air Purifier From $749

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Kids are smelly creatures. To live in harmony and maintain a clean, nice-smelling household you should try some of the tips we spotlighted above. We hope they’ll lead to less stinkiness and more pleasant co-habitation.

Alen HEPA Air Purifiers for the Home

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