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..)
- ⅓ 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.
Are you a little neurotic about the way your home smells like I am? What is the most "welcoming" scent to you?
Thank you for these fresh air recipes! I also like a nice smelling home but don't want the harmful chemicals that those plug in things produce.
I use scentsy burners in every room of my home. It never occured to me that they might be putting off harmful chemicals. Thank you for this post and suggestions to clean the air in a more healthy manner.
I am exactly the same way! I use the baking soda/vinegar methods often! I love lavender and vanilla (I just use vanilla extract and lavender oil).
Another great combo!!!
Since you specifically mentioned pet odors here, it's important to remind your readers that essential oils, especially anything citrus, is toxic to pets. It's becoming a 'thing' to use these on pets as a way to get rid of fleas and such but it is not safe. And putting it on carpets or having it in a diffuser that can spill, can be a hazard if the animal gets it on their skin/hair and then cleans themselves. Just because something is 'natural' doesn't mean that it's automatically safe for us or our four legged friends. I'm sure you realize this, but someone new to essential oils might not. 🙂
Yes - a very important consideration. Thanks for chiming in!
Charise @ I Thought I Knew Mama
I love a nice smelling home too, and we also avoid all artificial fragrances. These are great ideas because I've been lazy in this area, and I'd like to try freshening up the air in here in another way besides just opening up the windows!
When I outlined this post, I included "open the windows..!" but I thought it made me sound like a jerk. "Well duh!" right? That's a good thing to do, especially in the winter when it can get really stuffy, but these are all ways to take it even further. 🙂
Just started using essential oils and we really need them because we've two dogs too! Thanks for sharing!
The chemical smell is just unpleasant. I can't wait to get my hands on some essential oils. My mom used to boil a little pan on the stove with cinnamon, and it was the best air freshener back then. Thanks for these recipes!
BAKING SODA! Genius addition to homemade Febreeze. The Aura Cacia website has some nice recipes for scents. I'm addicted to trying new ones as well!
Good Girl Gone Green
I need to get a diffuser ASAP! My baking soda and oil isn't as good! 🙂
Thanks for the great ideas!! I have just found you through Simply Natural Saturdays. I also like to take an empty spice jar, fill it half full of baking soda, then add some essential oil, and leave it in the bathroom. When the room needs a refresh, I just gently shake the jar!! I like your idea of lavender + ylang ylang. I think I'll try that when I make up some "febreeze!"
I was wondering where do you buy your herbs from?