All The Ways You Can Use Cinnamon To Make Your Home Smell Better Than Ever

Few scents can conjure feelings of warmth and coziness quite as well as cinnamon. It has been around for thousands of years, and in some ancient cultures, was even considered to be more valuable than gold. Its venerable status originally kept it reserved for embalming purposes and religious rituals. Nowadays, whether you're using it for baking, holiday decorations, or aromatherapy, it's a versatile spice to have on hand at all times. Plus, thanks to its natural antibacterial qualities, it's a fantastic, chemical-free ingredient to use for cleaning throughout your home. 

You can purchase it in stick or powder form, or as an essential oil. The sticks and powder are usually interchangeable, but some hacks work more effectively with one form over the other. We'll be sure to call that out, when applicable. Read on to learn our best tips and discover tried-and-true tricks to use cinnamon that will make your home smell better than ever.

Scrub your sinks

Our sinks handle a lot of grime throughout the day. It's tasked with keeping our most-used items clean — from our hands to dirty dishes — but what about when the time comes to return the favor and clean the sink? While there are plenty of harsh chemical options available, we've got an affordable, DIY sink cleaning alternative. Not only will it save you a few dollars, but it leaves your sink glisteningly clean, and smells heavenly! 

In a bowl mix ¼ cup salt, ¾ cup baking soda, and 2 teaspoons cinnamon powder. For the easiest application, we recommend transferring to a reusable container (like an empty herb or spice jar) with a shake top. Sprinkle the mixture around your sink, scrub with a damp sponge, and rinse clean.

How is such a simple mix so effective? The mild abrasiveness of baking soda and salt work together to scour through greasy residue. Cinnamon delivers the delightful scent, while also fighting any bacteria that may be lurking. Scientific evidence has proven cinnamon's antibacterial prowess, with an article published in the Microbial Pathogenesis Journal stating, "Cinnamon extracts, essential oils, and their compounds have been reported to inhibit bacteria by damaging cell membrane; altering the lipid profile; inhibiting ATPases, cell division, membrane porins, motility, and biofilm formation; and via anti-quorum sensing effects."

Use it while vacuuming

You just spent an hour vacuuming all of your rugs and carpet. You've won the battle against pet hair, dust, and allergens — hooray! — but does the house still not smell as great as you'd like? Next time, grab the cinnamon powder from your pantry. Using it while vacuuming will keep your home smelling fresh. Before you run the vacuum, simply sprinkle the powder directly on the floor where you'll be working. As it's pulled up into the machine, you'll enjoy its warm, comforting fragrance filling the room. You can also use a couple drops of cinnamon essential oil on the filter of your vacuum or inside its bag, if it has one.

This hack has the support of renowned home expert Heloise Bowles, who touts its effectiveness against pet odor that can become trapped in your vacuum. Strong anecdotal evidence also exists in numerous videos on TikTok, with users sharing their instant success with this cheap, simple trick. However, we do offer a word of caution if you have light-colored rugs: The dark spice has the potential to stain, which means you'll want spot check in an inconspicuous area first, and then vacuum promptly.

Involve the air vents

Whether it's close to the holidays or you just want to make your home feel (and smell) warm and cozy, we have a heat vent hack that uses cinnamon to fill your home with spicy comfort. You'll want to remember this before hosting your next party. Guests will love the subtle, spicy ambience, as it delivers the perfect amount of scent without being overpowering. To try it out, grab four or five cinnamon sticks and bundle them together using twine or string. Then, attach a binder clip or zip tie to the twine bundle, and fasten to a slat on your register vent. As your HVAC system cycles, the warm air blows across the cinnamon, activating its pleasant aroma and circulating it through your home.

Next time you're buying furnace filters, you may notice all the available varieties of scent diffusers. Some clip to the vents, while others remain close to the filters themselves. The cinnamon stick hack is an easy, affordable option that uses supplies you likely have on hand to accomplish the same thing. We found anecdotal support on TikTok, where users celebrated the amazing scent and also spoke to the potential spiritual benefits (if you're into that sort of thing). User @jenelleheals explained that some believe cinnamon can bring abundance, joy, love, and healing to a home.

Add to mop water

Looking for an unexpected way to refresh your boring mopping routine? We'll let you in on an easy trick that will soon have you adding cinnamon to your mop water. The payoff is two-fold: It makes your home smell better than ever and it can even deter ants. We call that a win-win! In a large pot, add 1 gallon of water and several cinnamon sticks, or a healthy sprinkling of cinnamon powder. Bring it to a boil, and then (carefully) transfer it to your mop bucket. If you want to give a greater boost to the mixture's ant-repelling properties, add cinnamon essential oil.

The effectiveness of this hack is backed by science, as cinnamon is considered a natural insecticide. Simply put, ants detest the smell, and will actively avoid it. The reason lies in its potency, because it inhibits their ability to communicate and interrupts their navigation — two things that are vitally important in the life of an ant. So, if your floors smell like cinnamon, then you can count on ants steering clear. Beyond this, your home will smell lovely, which is a big enough sell alone. Users on TikTok are big fans of this hack, like @cleaningvideos303 , who raves about its ease and delightful olfactory success.

Make a simmer pot

Wouldn't it be nice if your house always smelled like freshly-baked cinnamon rolls or the nostalgic aromas of Christmas year round? Since most of us don't have hours upon hours to devote to baking delicious delicacies, we've got a yummy shortcut that will create the same effect. Your home can smell spicy and inviting with minimal effort. Allow us to introduce you to the magic of simmer pots for a total home refresh

A simmer pot uses a combination of water with fresh ingredients and spices that sits on your stove at a low heat (hence the "simmer") for several hours. The heat activates the ingredients to create a lovely, long-lasting aroma. Cinnamon sticks are a favorite choice in many simmer pot recipes, and here's one you can use as a reference: Fill a large pot with water and then add slices of lemon, orange, apple, as well as a few bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, and cloves. Don't be afraid to experiment with other scents and flavors that you love to create your own customized mixture.

Fight odor from stinky shoes

It's a familiar scene: You had a great workout and kick off your running shoes when you get home, but within seconds, a gnarly odor fills the air. Oftentimes, our favorite, most-worn shoes hold onto sweaty, stinky smells, especially if they don't have time to dry out properly between wearing. Instead of spending money on costly shoe sprays or buying a whole new replacement pair, you can conquer shoe odor with cinnamon.

For this hack, you'll make your own sachets to put inside those smelly sneakers. Start with a porous material like cheesecloth or a pair of pantyhose. Fill your material of choice with a few cinnamon sticks, tie them closed, and place one in each shoe. You may need to make a couple of sachets per shoe depending on your foot size. Leave it overnight and check the next morning. If the odor persists, repeat the process with new sachets.

We have science to thank for the effectiveness of this hack. Researchers already know about cinnamon's antibacterial properties, but new studies have also shown anti-fungal effects in its essential oils. Because the odor in shoes comes from bacteria and/or fungal growth, cinnamon is well-equipped to fight both.

Freshen up the trash can

The chicken piccata you made for dinner the other night was delectable, but now the chicken juices are festering in your trash can and the house smells horrible. Even after you take the bag outside, you might be left with that awful lingering odor. Or, worst case scenario, maggots have appeared in your trash can (this is especially problematic for outdoor bins in the summertime).

Luckily, both issues can be remedied with cinnamon. Texas cleaning company, Emily's Maids, recommends a simple hack to eliminate stubborn odors. Grab a color catcher sheet (it can be used, which cuts down on waste), cut in half, and soak it in cinnamon water (water infused with cinnamon). Once it has absorbed the water, simply place it in the bottom of your garbage bin. The smells will be gone in no time. If you're dealing with maggots, you'll want to boil a large batch of cinnamon water, pour it in the can, and then allow it to sit for several hours before wiping clean.

Cinnamon has been scientifically proven to deter flies, and it's a celebrated option for green pest control companies. Several compounds that are found naturally occurring in cinnamon essential oil, such as cinnamaldehyde, linalool, and eugenol, are common ingredients in commercial insecticides. They work by disrupting the flies' communication patterns, and may also have physiological effects on their nervous systems. Plus, even if you're not dealing with maggots in your trash, we already know about cinnamon's antibacterial properties, so this hack is a win-win.

Make an odor-fighting spray

If you have pets or kids, you know it's a common occurrence to battle odors on furniture, curtains, and other soft surfaces that can be tricky to clean. To combat the smells, you may turn to commercial cleaning products that are laden with chemicals. Instead, you can whip up a batch of your own natural odor-fighting spray that will make your house smell fresh and inviting. There are many variations of these homemade sprays, but it doesn't get much easier than this basic formula that only requires a few common kitchen ingredients: 12 ounces of water, 12 ounces of white vinegar, and five or six cinnamon sticks. Bring the mixture to a simmer on the stove, then strain, allow to cool, and pour the liquid into a spray bottle.

This hack works thanks to its superstar pairing of white vinegar and cinnamon. From cleaning windows to removing laundry stains to descaling a coffee maker, there are few things that distilled white vinegar can't do. Its acetic acid possesses antibacterial qualities, while also being potent enough to cut through all sorts of stains and odors. Combine that with delicious — but powerful — cinnamon, and you've got an unstoppable duo.