For the highly allergic, a trip down the cleaner-freshener aisle at the grocery store can be toxic. There are hundreds of specific chemical fresheners and cleaners for what seems like every inch of the house, and your pets.
The natural way to make your home smell clean and pleasant involves only a few basic items: Acids like lemons and vinegar, neutralizers like baking soda, fragrances like essential oils and flowers, and good old fresh air and food. Here are some suggestions.
- Open the windows and use room fans to circulate fresh air.
- Bring in some pine boughs and cinnamon year-round. It’s a relaxing fragrance.
- Use lemon oil to polish unvarnished furniture.
- Lemon juice cuts grease. Use lemon juice and water to clean bathroom soap scum and kitchen surfaces.
- Use baking soda in an open box to deodorize closets, refrigerator, cabinets, clothing and trash cans.
- Homemade carpet shake deodorizer with cornstarch, baking soda and essential oil drops. Here’s the recipe. (Just remember that whatever is put into the carpet has to be vacuumed back out, so go lightly.)
- Sprinkle baking soda in the bottom of cat litter pans to help absorb odors.
- Remove sink odors in disposals with citrus peels and white vinegar.
- Combine vinegar with lemon juice to spray around the house as you would air freshener, or to clean countertops, appliances and bathroom.
- Cedar chips, or sachets of lavender, rose or peppermint can be used for linen closets and drawers.
- White vinegar added to the washing machine kills bacteria to make clothes and the washer fresh again.
- Delicious-smelling quick bake recipes before company comes include chocolate chip, peanut butter or oatmeal raisin cookies, or cinnamon rolls. The house smells warm and homey when guests arrive. If you don’t have time to cook, take a moment to warm up some orange juice and cinnamon or grind coffee beans for a pleasant kitchen aroma.
- Essential oils are all natural. Put a few drops in an electric water diffuser to spritz the air in a single location. Or else put water and essential oil drops into a flask and insert bamboo skewers to soak in the liquid and stay fragrant for hours.
- Make a spray bottle with water, a carrier such as a few drops of witch hazel, and a few drops of your favorite oils, or else make your own fragrant combinations with green tea and cucumber, orange blossom-honeysuckle, or gardenia.
- An old standard is fresh-cut flowers. They add beauty as well as fragrance to any room. An acceptable second is real-flower cologne water.
It is difficult to notice odors in your home because you have become accustomed to them. Have a trusted friend visit and point out where your house needs freshening.