Our lives can get stinky. Diaper pails, gym clothes, sneakers, kitchen trash, garbage disposals… over time things can really start to stink! Many people like to spray a room freshener and call it a day. In reality, you’re contributing to your homes indoor pollution with synthetic chemicals and hormone disrupting fragrances. These things can irritate asthma and allergies too.
Open the windows – Fresh air is my first line of attack when the house starts to feel stale. Although there are certainly times of the year when it’s not possible. It’s too hot, or too cold or there’s pollen blowing around. So when I get a day like today when it’s cool and clear I take advantage (granted none of my neighbors are burning leaves, hence ruining my fresh air treatments!). Circulating air through your house from the outside will help clear out any built up off gassing from furniture and building materials. I try to do this on a day when I’m cleaning so I’m eliminating dust and allergens at the same time.
Simmer Spices and Herbs on the stove – I love doing this, especially now when the smell of cinnamon and cloves is so appropriate to the season. In a small pot, add 3 cups of water and a variety of spices or fragrant herbs and simmer on the lowest setting you can get. Check on it periodically to make sure there is still liquid in the pot so nothing burns. Add more as needed. Instead of water, sometimes I’ll simmer apple cider and use a spice ball so that the house smells delicious and you can have a hot toddy when you’re done. If you don’t have a spice ball (I got mine as a gift from Williams Sonoma but you can find them at most home stores) you can also use cheese cloth or muslin to contain the spices. I like to use cinnamon sticks (or ground), nutmeg, and cloves in the fall, and in the spring I prefer citrus peels and lavender. I found one on Pinterest that suggests simmering lemon slices, rosemary and vanilla! I might try that out next.
Baking Soda & Essential Oils – In a mason jar or small glass container, combine 1/2 cup of baking soda and 8-12 drops of your favorite essential oil (I like sweet orange oil for the kitchen and lavender in the bedrooms) and put on a high shelf. You can cover it with a lid with holes poked in them to avoid spills. Every so often take it down and stir it up a little to re-invigorate. I also use a mixture of this as a carpet powder. Sprinkle on stinky rug, let sit for 10 minutes and vacuum up.
House Plants – Plants don’t necessarily create a scent but they do clean the air you breath, which is important if you can’t open the windows to air out your home often. Some of the best plants to use for filtering toxins from your home air are Bamboo Palms, Chinese Evergreens, English Ivy, Gerber Daisy, and Peace Lily. They sure do cheer up the joint too!
Citrus Peels – Citrus is a cheerful scent and can liven up the scent in your home. You can boil or simmer lemon and orange peels (see above) on the stove top, microwave them, or toss them in the garbage disposal to get rid of that stink garbage disposal smell. I have heard of people placing them in pots over a radiator too. I read that you can put a few lemon peels in humidifiers but I’d be careful not to leave them too long.
Candles – They can scent your home but they can also be a source of indoor pollution if you aren’t careful. Choose soy wax or beeswax over paraffin. Soy is cleaner burning and creates less soot. Be careful to select candles that are scented with natural essential oils versus fragrances. If they don’t label it as scented naturally with essential oils, it probably isn’t. Soy candles tend to have a less potent scent but you can find some that work well.
Products – Ok I know everyone isn’t all into the DIY thing and I understand that. So here’s a few products you can buy to help freshen your home:
Better Life Natural Stain & Odor Eliminator – Spray on stinky sneakers, gyms bags and carpets.
Bubble & Bee Deodorant Sprays – These are so natural you can use them as room sprays too.
Sunbeam Candles – Beeswax and Soy Candles scented with essential oils