Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Wake Up & Smell Your House

...only take the time to enjoy it! I was recently asked about non-chemical ways to freshen the air in rooms that weren't close enough for heavenly kitchen aromas to reach. There are so many natural tricks to try. Here are just a few ideas for you:

Simmer your Way to Freshness
You can use a simmering potpourri crock that is available at craft stores, and even Wal-Mart! Fill it half-full with water and add a few cloves, a couple dashes of cinnamon, and a few drops of extract (vanilla, orange, lemon, etc). Citrus peels are another great ingredient. You could also use a sliced apple with a few cinnamon sticks to create an apple pie scent. Plug in the crock and you have a warm comfortable smell drifting throughout your home that isn't overly pungent like some of those expensive wall-outlet units. (Just be careful to watch your water level of your crockpot as the heat will cause evaporation. You don't want this to run dry.) If you don't have a potpourri crock, any crockpot will do. You may also simmer homemade scents in a small saucepan on the stove. However, a crockpot you can plug into any outlet in any room of the house.
To quickly get rid of odors (especially fish), simply heat some white vinegar on the stove (DON'T boil!), and after about 30 minutes, remove it. The slight vinegar smell dissipates quickly and takes any odors with it.

Homemade Sprays & Tricks
Mix 1/4 cup baking soda with water in a spray bottle. Shake well and spray. The baking soda absorbs the odor. You can also add a little scent if you want. (vanilla extract. It smells great and drives men wild for some reason)
Spray undiluted white vinegar in the air. The vinegar smell evaporates very quickly taking odors with it.
Place a bowl of vinegar on the counter and let it sit for a few hours.
Dampen a towel with vinegar and wave it through the air
Fill a parmesan cheese shaker with baking soda. (spray it with a little of your favorite purfume.) Sprinkle over carpets and let it sit as long as possible (Overnight is best). Vacuum. Add table salt to the baking soda, but it is not necessary. The salt absorbs moisture and acts as an abrasive. It really makes the carpet look better than vacuuming without it.

Dryer Sheets
If you use dryer sheets, you could put them in the vents, in drawers, or other unseen areas. They will freshen the air as it comes into the room. You can put them in fresh or after they've been through the dryer.

If you burn scented candles, save any wax bits left over and add them to a wax potpourri burner. If you mix scented and unscented, they will last longer.

Other Ideas
-You can put fancy soaps in your drawers to freshen your clothes. You can also do this with the
scented perfume ads from magazines.
-Open a window as air inside is usually more polluted than air outside.
-Put essential oils in a light bulb ring. You could also add them to a vaporizer.
-Dilute your essential oils (or old perfumes) in a spray bottle, put on the finest setting, and mist your rooms with it. This also works on sheets, pillowcases, and towels.
-Put a drop of a very inexpensive "perfume" on a light bulb in each room. Jasmine-scented is a personal fave.
-Also, if there is an "odor" I want to remove, I pour a little white vinegar on an old washrag and wipe the walls down lightly with it. As soon as it's dry, the place smells clean and "sweet" without the perfume.
-For the bathroom, dampen a cotton swab with your favorite perfume or cologne and swab the inside of a toilet paper roll. Each time the toilet paper is rolled, a fresh scent will fill the room.
-Another way to purify the air is to dampen a cotton ball with pure vanilla extract, place in a dish and set in odorous area of the house. A dish with three cotton balls is great for the living room. A room in which heavy smoking occurs might require another dish.

Make Scented Rocks
Scented rocks make a great air freshener. Mix 1/2 cup salt and 1/2 cup flour in a bowl. Add 1/4 teaspoon of a favorite essential oil and 2/3 cup boiling water and a few drops of a food coloring to create a desired shade. Blend all ingredients, form into balls, and allow to dry.

Scented Rocks Revisited
Here's an easy recipe. (It's also a fun craft for kids!) Make a small amount of Plaster of Paris, but use liquid potpourri instead of water. You can buy inexpensive candy molds at many stores. Pour the liquid POP into the molds and let it dry completely. Pop them out and you have scented rocks of a sort.

The "Smelly Jelly" Answer
Smelly Jelly
2 cups Concentrated Potpourri Liquid
4 envelops Knox gelatin
1 tablespoon salt (to deter molding)
Heat 1 cup potpourri until almost boiling. Remove from heat. Add 4 envelopes Knox Gelatin and 1 tablespoon salt. Stir until dissolved. Add remaining 1 cup potpourri. Pour into clean jars and allow to set. If in a hurry, lightly cover and refrigerate them to speed the process.
I add food coloring if I don't like the color. This can be put in a vase, and as it starts to set, place artificial flowers in the vase. The flowers seem to be real because they have a smell.

Give one or more of these a try and let me know how you like them!


  1. I personally use dryer sheets since they are so inexpensive and quick but all of these ideas are great!

  2. awesome ideas! ty! im going to try the cottonball idea today!