Freshen Your Home Naturally

If visitors drop by and their first comment is, “Oh, you have cats,” it’s time for a room freshener. 

During the holidays, we scent our homes with spices and evergreen to add another layer of enjoyment to the festivities. But what about the rest of the year?  There are ways to enliven your home and combat odors with natural ingredients year-round.

Make your own flower, powder or spice sachets using ingenious suggestions that range from something as simple as an envelope, to cute little forget-me-not gifts, to be used in small rooms, closets or drawers to make the air smell more pleasant.

Learn how to make potpourri, an open-air mix of dried flowers and essential oils. But be sure to keep your potpourris away from pets. They are highly toxic to animals. These add scent to the room.

Use a plug-in aromatherapy diffuser with essential oil combinations for a refreshing mist that cleanses the air. It is said that not only do the oils calm nerves, but many of them are also antibiotic, antiviral and anti-fungal. Choose a diffuser that has an automatic shutoff when it runs out of water, so it won’t burn out the heater. Or simply mix essential oils and water in a pump sprayer to spritz as needed. Try out some of these essential oil combinations, including “Monster B-Gone.” 

Put thoroughly dried coffee grounds in a small paper bag or a coffee filter, and staple or tape it shut, leaving a few small ‘breathing’ gaps. The grounds will absorb bad odors. Not a coffee drinker? If you ask nicely at a coffee shop, they may give you their grounds. Just make sure they are dried before using, or the mix will get moldy. Bonus – when you are done, they do one more job of freshening the trash. 

If the kitchen is overwhelmed by strong cooking odors, bake cookies or cinnamon rolls, or warm up some lemon or orange juice and cinnamon on the stove to counteract smells. 

Martha Stewart recommends a small dish of white vinegar on the kitchen counter to neutralize cooking odors, or spritzing lemongrass and peppermint oils to remove the smell of grease or burning. Use lemon rinds in the sink disposal, and vodka to disinfect and neutralize odors on surfaces, even upholstery. Eucalyptus hung in the bathroom will release its fragrance after each shower.  And finally, back to the cats – deodorize the litter box with activated charcoal. It’s nontoxic. Everyone including the cats may thank you.

Experiment with natural fragrances, sanitizers and deodorizers to find the combinations that bring a smile to your face as you walk around your home.