Lemon-and-Honey-Flavored Chicken (Tracy A. Woodward/TWP)

Home decorator Jennifer Schweikert, of Just My Style By JMS in Burke, has worked with real estate agents and clients to stage or prepare homes for sale.

“People don’t realize that they become accustomed to their home’s odor,” she says. “It smells differently, though, to potential buyers entering the house for the first time.”

Here are her tips to keep your house smelling fresh, including what not to cook:

Try to avoid cooking fatty, fried foods.“You may not smell the bacon you make every morning, but that heavy, greasy smell lingers and makes buyers worry about the home’s cleanliness.”

Ban broccoli and cabbage. Cruciferous vegetables, which include Brussels sprouts and cauliflower, impart strong odors. Schweikert compares them to “really stinky athletic shoes.” Even worse than cooking broccoli, she says, was the time a client burned the broccoli she was cooking.

Bake (or warm up) cookies in the oven an hour before an open house. “You don’t want to overwhelm people with the aroma, even if it is cookies, so don’t do it right before the open house starts.”

Grind up some lemon quarters in your garbage disposal. It gets rid of any disposal odor and imparts a clean citrus scent.

Take out the trash. “Meat wrappers left in the kitchen trash can go rancid quickly. I tell clients that any wrappers or food containers should be immediately taken to the outside garbage.”

If a strongly aromatic meal is unavoidable, try spraying Febreze or PureAyre, an odor-eliminator sold in pet stores, Schweikert says. “Avoid air fresheners. They don’t really remove the odor; they just add an even stronger, artificial-smelling scent.”