I'm sort of obsessed with having a nice-smelling home. Maybe it's the years of pet ownership, maybe it's pregnancy – but I find so much joy in walking into our apartment and being greeted by pleasant aromas. Conversely – it really stresses me out when the first thing I can smell is a reminder that we have a cat, general stuffiness, or what I have come to know as “boy smell.”
I like the smell of Febreeze and Scentsy pots and other fancy air fresheners but I'm also very aware that they put all kinds of weird chemicals in the air that I'm not comfortable with, so I've learned to use more natural methods of making our home smell fresh. Allow me to share my favorites!
Using vinegar + baking soda to neutralize odors.
No matter how many pretty-smelling tactics you use, they won't do any good if there are stink factories left unmanaged. For us, it's the cat's litter box and the bathroom garbage where we put diapers. So obviously keeping these clean is a big deal to me, but every so often I need to go a step further and give them a good deodorizing deep clean. White vinegar diluted in water works wonders for cleaning out the litter box and the garbage. I also sprinkle baking soda on the bottom of both makes them less stinky – I'll even add tea tree oil to the garbage, but not the litter box, since it annoys that cat.
You can use these two simple ingredients pretty much anywhere you want to deodorize, though:
- Laundry hamper
- Garbage can
- Shoe cupboard (apparently people have these???)
Herbs + spices.
- Grow your own. I don't do this, because my cat eats anything I ever try to grow inside, but I LOVE window herb gardens for the obvious cooking fun, but also because they seem to infuse the kitchen with their lovely herby smell when the sunshine pours in.
- Create an herbal sachet. Apparently these were all the rage “back in the day” for making clothes smell nice, but there's no reason not to carry on the tradition. I use my organic reusable tea bags from Natural Linens to make these! I just fill up the pouch with whatever herbs and spices I feel like using at the moment and tuck them into drawers, closets, pockets in the car, inside purses that I'm not using at the moment, under couch cushions… you name it.
- Simmer them. This doesn't seem to work very well for all herbs, but cinnamon, cloves, peppermint, and ginger (“hot” herbs maybe?) give off a very powerful fragrance when simmered in water on the stove. Did you know that a certain popular cinnamon roll chain found in the mall does this? They simmer cinnamon sticks to give off that amazing aroma and lure you in when you walk by. Pretty sneaky!
Essential oils, of course!
Essential oils are actually my favorite natural air freshener, but I mention it last because there are SO many different ways to use them. I have a few go-to methods…
All Natural “Febreeze”
This stuff is goooooooooooood and great for wishy-washy people like me who like to use lots of different scents.
- 8 ounces of warm water (a cup..)
- 1/3 cup baking soda
- 20-25 drops of your favorite essential oil/s
Lately I am really obsessed with the Rosemary+Peppermint combo but, I have a few others that I tend toward a lot:
- Lavender + Tea Tree Oil
- Lavender + Cedarwood (great for beds + sleepy places!)
- Lemongrass + Peppermint
- Lavender + Ylang Ylang
- Lemongrass…….. just lemongrass.