Although many families turn to commercial odour fighting products like Febreze, Glade plugins, and the like, I often stop to wonder how many consider the negative impact of these kinds of products? Advertising makes these solutions look borderline miraculous. Yet, solutions that appear miraculous often come with a price. And in this case, like many others, the price is your health.
Of course, don’t take my word for it. Take a look at THIS article on Care2 listing some of the very toxic ingredients in Febreze, and THIS article speaking to the concerns surrounding Glade. And these are just common brands. For a breakdown of the general risks surrounding commercial air fresheners, seeTHIS excellent article.
Anyway, now that we’ve spoken to the dangers of these popular chemical deodorizers, what alternatives do we have? Of course, as you know by now, that’s what I’m all about. So here we go!
Keep your home clean. For goodness sake, this is number one. If you think you can cheat and just mask odours by spritzing something that smells nice on top of them, well, you’re in for a wake up call. The most important step to eliminating odours in your home is regular cleaning (with natural products, please). Take the trash and compost out regularly, and clean your pet’s litter box daily. Don’t let spoiled food sit in your fridge. This should all hopefully be commonsensical, but I feel I need to say it!
Open your windows regularly. Allow regular air circulation in your home. Stale air can really add to the problem. If you get the air moving, you will notice a lot less odour problems!
Use baking soda in your deodorizing routine. Sprinkle some (and allow to sit for a time) on your carpets, couches, and pet beds before vacuuming. Keep a shaker of it to add to your cat’s litter box after cleaning. Keep an open box / bowl / mason jar with cheesecloth on top in your fridge or in other problem areas (you can even add several drops of essential oil to your baking soda to give it an extra scent). And you can sprinkle it into stinky shoes or work boots, nasty gym or hockey bags.
Soak problem items in vinegar. For items that will tolerate being soaked in a solution of vinegar and water, let them sit for a few hours prior to washing. If you choose to soak them in your washing machine, make sure you drain the water before adding your detergent, or the vinegar may cancel out its cleansing effects.
Rub lemon on problematic surfaces. If you have stinky cutting boards or countertops, or pans that are holding a stank, slice open a lemon and rub it on. Let it sit for a bit, wash it off, and you should be good to go. You can even use raw lemon as a natural personal deodorant!
Keep natural, essential oil based scented oil reed diffusers in your bathroom and other problem areas. You can make your own oil diffusers by adding 10-20 drops of the essential oil of your choosing (citronella, lemon, rosemary, and orange oils are the most potent varieties) into 1/4 cup of a carrier oil (sitting in the bottom of a small jar) like olive or grapeseed. Place some bamboo barbecue skewers in the jar with the oil, fan them out, and voila. The skewers will absorb the oil and diffuse it into the air naturally. Refresh every two weeks to a month or so.
If you are looking for a scent burst, fill a small spritzer bottle with water and some essential oil. A good rule is about 10-20 drops per half cup of water. Lightly spray your mixture into your bathroom after a BM, on your bedsheets or pillow to freshen them up, or anywhere you need an extra scent lift. Keep in mind this IS water, so it will dampen material a bit. Don’t go crazy with it.
If you really want a strong, consistent blast of scent, consider purchasing an Aroma Diffuser like THIS one from Young Living. You add essential oils to it, and it puffs out a constant stream of water vapour infused with the oil. Most of them come with timers that have an auto shut-off. These diffusers are also helpful to have when using essential oils therapeutically, like eucalyptus for a cold – so this would be a purchase with multiple benefits.
You can also prepare a stovetop air freshener by simmering herbs and spices in water, in a pot on low heat. We all know how fresh baked goods can add a delicious scent to your home – this technique applies a similar strategy. A great recipe uses lemon rinds (or whole lemon slices) along with fresh rosemary branches in enough water to cover them. Keep adding water as it simmers down. Don’t let it burn out on your stove!! Keep a timer going if you are likely to forget.
Consider adding some indoor plants to your household. Plants keep the air fresh in your home. Not a green thumb? Don’t worry, there are lots of easy to take care of plants available. I personally love the philodendron family. Ask your local garden centre for plants that need minimal care.
Add a sachet of lavender blossoms to your car rearview mirror. You can also purchase natural deodorizing sachets, or make your own simple hanging freshener with essential oils like THIS one. You can use these same sachets in your underwear and sock drawers, or hang them in your closet. Another sachet idea is using a coffee filter with a string tied around it to contain baking soda with essential oils added.
And there you go, folks, a big list of great alternatives for you to use instead of the chemical laden commercial deodorizing products. Do you have any other natural stank fighting tricks you use in your home?
Check out my DIY Air Freshener & Deodorizer Pinterest board HERE for a bunch of other unique air freshening ideas!