Quick, Auntie Clara’s coming around and you want to make the house smell great (she’s really not one who’s afraid to comment that it’s smelly and a bit musty)! What do you reach for? Is it a spray? A candle? A wall plug-in? Or reed diffusers? Did you know that all of these can potentially be dangerous?
Air freshener sprays and plug-ins, which are used by 75 percent of American families, usually contain phthalates, a potentially dangerous chemical (which was banned from cosmetics in the UK). The National Resources Defense Council tested 14 air sprays off the shelf in Walgreens, including those labeled “all-natural” and “unscented” and found that 12 of the 14 tested positive for phthalates. A study of scented candles showed that frequently burning paraffin wax candles in poorly ventilated rooms could be dangerous because when burned they give off toluene and benzene, potential carcinogens. Reed diffusers, on the other hand, are often made with dipropylene glycol, an ingredient also used in antifreeze, which is dangerous to cats and dogs, or ethanol, and also pose a danger to small children if they ingest the liquid or get it in their eyes.
Don’t fear, Green Monsters, because it’s easy to make your house smell great without any nasty chemicals, using ingredients you likely have in your house right now!
1. Open a Window and Catch the Breeze
The simplest trick is to simply open a window or door and let some fresh air in, especially when the weather is nice. Sunlight also helps kill smells, so let some light in when it’s sunny out.
2. Boil Cinnamon
This is a super easy method that works just as well as a room spray, doesn’t contain any dangerous additives, is cheap and doesn’t involve going out and buying anything (assuming you’ve got cinnamon in your house). Simply add a couple of cinnamon sticks or sprinkling of cinnamon to a saucepan full of water, and bring to a boil. Simmer for a few minutes until the smell disperses throughout your home. If you’ve got a large house, you can even carefully carry the pan around to different rooms and let the smell evaporate in each room for a bit.
3. Clean With Fruit
Did you know you can clean with lemon juice? You can use it to clean the shower and remove soap scum and limescale, as well as combine lemons with baking soda to clean the toilet, and leave your house smelling lemony and fresh!
4. Make Your Own Room Spray
You can make a super easy air freshener spray out of lime juice, water and baking soda, which neutralizes smells and will leave your house smelling great! It’s not expensive to make and it’s completely natural.
5. Bake Something
Buy a bouquet of flowers and leave them on your counter, dining room table or coffee table – not only are they pretty to look at, but they will also make the room smell great!
7. Grind Coffee
Buy coffee beans (preferably organic and fair-trade) and grind them yourself – not only does it taste better, but it will make your house smell fantastic, too.
8. Make Herb Sachets
Get some small cotton or mulin bags and fill them with your favorite dried herbs, flowers and spices, and place in drawers to make your clothes smell good, instead of buying artificially scented drawer/closet scent diffusers.
9. Other Things to Make Yourself
Although you may need to go out and buy some new ingredients, you can also make your own reed diffuser oil and candles at home. For reed diffuser oil, add a few drops of your favorite scent of essential oil (being careful not to let essential oil touch your bare skin) to a carrier oil like almond oil, then put in a narrow-necked glass bottle with reeds. Make sure you keep it out of reach of small children and pets. To make your own soy candles, follow this guide here.
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