No matter what the season, often times, the air in the house needs a little refreshing — whether it’s from cooking odors, litter boxes, a dirty clothes hamper, or closed off rooms.
Though they provide a quick fix, store-bought air fresheners and deodorizers usually contain toxic chemicals and irritants such as cyclodextrin, sodium polyacrylate, and benzisothiazolinone that may be particularly harsh and harmful to babies, those who are pregnant, and others with sensitive respiratory systems. With cancer rates on the rise, and an eye to environmental factors, there are natural options to sweeten and freshen the air in your home. These involve essential oils (oils from herbs, flowers or leaves that have been separated from the plant), whole herbs, spices, orange and lemon rinds–each bringing the scent of spring to the stuffiest days of winter.
Try these gentle, chemical-free homemade recipes for a fresh-smelling house that helps you breathe easier:
Fruit Oil Room Spray
Add 12-15 drops of essential oil like grapefruit, orange or lemon–or 20 drops for a stronger result–to ½ cup white vinegar and 1½ cups water. (If using more essential oil, use a little more vinegar and water.) Try peppermint or lavender oil too. Pour into spray bottle.
Baking Soda and Essential Oil Air Freshener
In a small jar, add 8-12 drops essential oil of your choice to 1/2 cup baking soda. Cover and shake. Remove cover and place a small screen over the top or punch holes in cover and close. Set on counter or table.
Ground Cinnamon, Cloves, and Fruit Rinds Kitchen Deodorizer
Place a few teaspoons of cinnamon and cloves into boiling water. Add orange and/or lemon rinds or zest. Allow to gently simmer for a while but be sure to keep an eye on the pot to ensure water doesn’t evaporate.
Eucalyptus Oil Freshener
Fill a spray bottle with water and a few drops of eucalyptus oil. In addition to freshening the air, eucalyptus oil is thought to kill bacteria on countertops, door knobs, etc.
Coffee Grounds and Baking Soda
Fill separate bowls with coffee grounds and baking soda. Set out overnight or for a couple of days. Reportedly works wonders at absorbing odors in the air.
Peppermint – or Vanilla-scented Cotton Balls
Sprinkle peppermint or vanilla essential oil on cotton balls. Place in a small bowl in bathroom, such as behind the toilet.
Vodka and Essential Oil Air Freshener
Because ethyl alcohol is a primary ingredient in vodka as well as commercial air fresheners, adding 20 or 30 drops of fragrant essential oil to a cup of vodka in a spray bottle will work well–without the added chemicals.