Smell is one of the most potent senses we have, linked closely to memory and emotion; one whiff of your sweetie's perfume or cologne is almost guaranteed to put a smile on your face. It follows that a terrific-smelling house will help to put you in a great mood (just as a house that smells too much like the kids' diapers or the cat's box might make you cranky!).
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You don't have to buy a ton of artificial-smelling air fresheners or bake a hundred cinnamon cookies in order to make your house smell good, though. These 10 simple and environmentally friendly tricks will keep your nose happy at home.
1. Make Lavender Linen Spray
It's surprisingly easy to make your sheets, towels, curtains, and upholstery smell like lavender (or just about any other fragrance you can dream up). Mix half a cup of rubbing alcohol with about 40 drops of lavender essential oil in a small bowl. Stir in two cups of distilled water, and pour the mixture into a spray bottle.
You now have a sweet-smelling linen spray that you can spritz onto any fabric in your house to give it a soothing smell.
2. Hang Eucalyptus In The Shower
Buy a few sprigs of eucalyptus, and hang them in a far corner of your shower. When you turn on the hot water, the steam and humidity will release the scent from the eucalyptus to make your entire bathroom smell like a spa.
3. Make An Orange Clove Pomander
If you want your house to smell like a European bakery in December, give this natural air freshener a try. Using a small knife or fork, pierce the peel of an orange in several places and stud it with cloves.
You can use it anywhere from half a dozen to an entire 20-gram container depending on how strong you want the clove smell to be compared to the orange smell. Tie a string around it and hang it from your ceiling, or put it over a heat source to dry the orange and release even more fragrance into the air.
4. Drip Essential Oil Into Your Furnace Filter
Next time you swap out your furnace filter, add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to the new filter. When the air blows through, it will blow the scent along with it and make your entire house smell like your favorite fragrance.
5. Put Dryer Sheets In The Air Vents
Another way to turn your air conditioning or heating system to your advantage is by putting dryer sheets behind your air vents. Once again, the air that blows through it will pick up the smell of the dryer sheets and carry it through the house.
You can also add a drop of your favorite essential oil to a cotton ball and put it behind the vents if you'd rather have your house smell like lemon than fresh laundry.
6. Place Cotton Balls Strategically
You can still use the cotton ball essential oil trick even without central AC or heating. Just add a few drops of that favorite essential oil to a cotton ball, and put a few cotton balls in each room of the house (cabinets, couch cushions, and behind the toilet are all terrific choices).
If you have pets or small children, put the cotton balls out of reach so no curious individuals will try to eat them.
7. Dispose Of Some Citrus
If your kitchen smells funky, particularly your sink, run some lemon, lime, or orange peels through the garbage disposal. The citrus smell will diffuse through your sink to make it smell bright and fresh.
8. Make Your Own Carpet Powder
If your carpet bears the smells of dropped food and pet accidents, beat the stink by making your own carpet powder. Combine half a cup of baking soda with half a cup of Borax, and then add 20-25 drops of essential oil or a teaspoon of fragrant spices like cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice.
Sprinkle the powder on the carpet and let it sit for a few minutes to absorb the odors, then vacuum up the powder for a fresh-smelling carpet. (If you have a light-colored carpet, opt for oils instead of spices so you won't have to worry about staining.)
9. Sweeten Your Light Bulbs
Put a drop of vanilla or almond extract on your light bulbs when they're turned off. When you turn the light on, it will heat up the extract and fill the house with the smell, just like baking cookies.
10. Slow-Cook Some Baking Soda
Baking soda is one of the household's odor-fighting champions, but how can you use it to absorb the stink in an entire room? You can put the baking soda to work on a large scale by putting it in a slow cooker.
Whisk a few tablespoons of baking soda into a few cups of water in your slow cooker, and then set it on low with the lid open. The warm baking soda will gradually pull in all the other odors from the room and leave it smelling fresh.
11. Make A Simmer Pot
Simmer pots are like a magic wand for great-smelling houses. Get into the habit of saving your citrus rinds and your apple and pear cores; then, whenever you want the house to smell spectacular, combine them with some spices and extracts in a pot on the stove and bring them to a gentle simmer. Your house will smell like delicious fragrances just as if you were cooking dinner.
12. Craft Your Own Scented Candles
Making scented candles for your home seems daunting, but it's actually easy. Just melt wax chips or unscented candles and mix in your favorite essential oils, extracts, spices, or other fragrant items.
You can also make a liquid candle by pouring oil into a glass jar, adding a few teaspoons of essential oil, and hooking a bit of wick to the side of the jar with a piece of bent paper clip or wire hanger.
13. Make Your Own Reed Diffuser
Reed diffusers are notoriously expensive—which is silly because they’re cheap and easy to make. All you need is a narrow-topped glass or ceramic vase, five bamboo skewers, a quarter-cup of almond or safflower oil, and 20-25 drops of your favorite essential oil.
Mix the oils together in the vase; then, arrange the bamboo sticks inside. Flip the sticks after about three hours, and continue to flip them every few days.
14. Homemade Air Freshener
If you want to spritz the air with freshener, you don’t have to resort to chemicals. Mix two cups of water, 30 drops of your favorite essential oil (something strong-smelling like citrus would work well here), and four drops of dish soap in a spray bottle.
Shake and spritz—no harsh chemicals or artificial odors required.