In a recent survey, we found that 24% of landlords have their carpets professionally cleaned between tenants, and 17% get the oven professionally cleaned. 33% of the landlords we talked to rolled up their sleeves and cleaned their own property - while 26% went as far as to redecorate at least one room.

With lingering smells hitting the landlord headlines for all the wrong reasons this week, we thought we’d give you some top tips for getting rid of unwanted odours if you are one of the 33% planning on doing their own cleaning.

  • Make your own air freshener

    Make your own, all natural air freshener by mixing 400ml of water, 1 teaspoon of baking soda, and 1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar. Add 12 drops of any essential oil - but lavender is a great option. Mix in a spray bottle and use liberally (just test it on wood or laminate surfaces first).

  • Baking soda and vacuuming carpets

    Sprinkle baking soda in a thick layer over the carpet, and leave it for several hours. (You can add coffee grounds or dried lavender if desired). Sweep up as much as you can with a dustpan and brush, before giving the area a thorough going over with a vacuum cleaner.

  • Get to a pet shop

    For really stubborn smells on your carpet, try using some odour neutralising spray - available in all pet stores. This can work on a multitude of smell-culprits by breaking down the enzymes. Always test it on a patch of carpet first - you don’t want stains adding to your cleaning troubles.

  • Hire a machine

    Steam cleaners can be hired locally and are pretty simple to use and effective on both carpets and upholstery. The real key is to make sure everything is properly dry before moving furniture back in, or you’ll be swapping your original smell for a damp smell.

  • Borrow your car’s ice scraper

    To clean your oven without the commercial chemicals, mix baking soda (you may want to bulk buy) and water into a paste. Cover your oven and leave for a good hour - or even overnight. Then get to work with your ice scraper once all the nasty brown bits have been softened. You can also use a water and white wine vinegar spray to help scrub off the baking soda residue.

  • Open the windows

    It sounds simple (kind of our thing), but getting as much fresh air flowing through your property as possible is one of the best ways to get rid of stubborn odours. If there’s no breeze or heavy rain, a fan can help get the air circulating and the smells evaporating.

It’s important to factor in cleaning, maintenance and possibly minor decoration between your tenants, and make sure these costs are included in your budget. Wear and tear won’t be covered by your insurance, but any lasting damage to your carpets, curtains or furnishings - which can’t be solved by baking soda and a good scrub - may well come under your buildings and contents cover, accidental or malicious damage.

Check your policy carefully to make sure you know exactly what you’re covered for and what you’re not - and invest in a sturdy pair of marigolds.

Meanwhile, if you’ve got a top cleaning tip, please share it on our Facebook page.