Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Six Natural & Cheap Ways to Freshen Up Your Home


Since it's officially "spring cleaning season", my local store flyers have been filled with ads for all manner of home freshening products for the last several weeks. Not only are these products expensive, they're filled with some pretty nasty chemicals that I have no interest in bringing into my home. Plus, I'm really sensitive to artificial scents - even some "green" cleaning products have given me severe headaches! So, I much prefer homemade, inexpensive and natural options when it comes to keeping my home smelling fresh. Here are my favourites:

1. Break out the baking soda: What would I do without baking soda? I use it nearly every day for some household application or another. Obviously, it's great for reducing odors in the fridge, but you can use it in other areas of your home, too. Sprinkle a bit in the bottom of garbage cans to keep them from getting stinky. To freshen up carpets, sprinkle them with baking soda mixed with a few drops of essential oil (lemon is particularly nice for a fresh scent, lavender is soothing in bedrooms). Leave on for 10-15 minutes, then vacuum it up.

2. Make an essential oil spray: Mix water in a spray bottle with 20-30 drops of essential oil and lightly mist the area that needs freshening (don't go so heavy that you're starting to soak curtains, bedding, etc!)

3. Create a concentrated deodorizer by putting several drops of essential oil on a cotton swab. Place this in a musty smelling closet or cupboard, and it will work wonders at freshening it up.

4. Simmer citrus peels on your stove: Cut up lemon, orange or lime peels and simmer then gently on the stove (make sure not to let it boil dry!)

5. Make lemon & rock salt deodorizers: I learned this trick from Crunchy Betty. Cut a lemon in half, then scoop out the flesh (I usually wait til I'm going to juice one anyway, so I don't waste the flesh). Fill the empty lemon "shell" with rock salt, and place in an area that needs freshening (behind the toilet or beside the cat's litter box, for example). These deodorizers will remain effective for about two months or so before you need to make new ones.

6.. Bring in the mint: As I mentioned last summer in my post about the many uses for fresh mint, it makes a wonderful air freshener! Fill mason jars or vases with a bunch of mint sprigs, add a bit of water in the bottom, and place in strategic areas around your home. I have one on the back of my toilet tank, and it does a great job of keeping my bathroom smelling fresh (I need to replace the mint about once a week or so).

What about you? Do you have any tried-and-true natural ways of keeping your home smelling fresh that I haven't mentioned? If so, I'd love for you to leave a comment and share them with us!

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