There’s a bit of a nasty smell when it comes to air fresheners. Did you know that every time you plug in, turn up, spray or diffuse the air around you, you’re actually pumping the air full of chemicals that do more harm than good? And rather than eliminating odours you’re only masking them- when you turn off the ‘fresheners’ the odours return, and so the cycle continues. And before you know it, you’re dependent upon chemicals… It’s time to stop using air fresheners and try these tricks instead.
What’s wrong with air fresheners?
They don’t really freshen the air. They overpower it. They form an overpowering cloak around odours rather than de-odorising the air. They just don’t work! And more than that, artificial air fresheners contain phthalates, which are widely known to play havoc with your hormones. And while phthalates are best avoided in skin care products due to known effects on the body (they are absorbed through the skin) wide spread studies are yet to be performed on how the body is affected when they are in the air. Initial tests show that if you want to reduce the risk, you need to cut out the air fresheners.
How to freshen the air instead
You don’t need to use artificial air fresheners to freshen the air around you- and if you are wanting to freshen an enclosed space, you certainly don’t want to use chemicals! Here are some tricks to try instead.
- Clean the things that are making the smells. Might sound obvious, but all too often in a busy world we tend to overlook the simple solutions. Sometimes odours are created by the little things around us that need some love and attention. So do the laundry, clean the oven, air out the sofa cushions and scrub the carpet. It will make the world of difference! See this post for tips on natural cleaning products.
- De-odorise the air naturally. Leave a bowl of white vinegar out in the room overnight- you’ll be amazed at the difference in the morning. You can also make an on the spot de-odoriser with 1 teaspoon white vinegar, 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda and 2 cups of water. Mix all ingredients in a spray bottle and and use when needed.
- Use bicarbonate of soda by itself to remove odours and to clean carpets. This is wonderful stuff! Leave a bowl of it in the fridge to absorb nasty smells. Add to the bottom of your rubbish bin. Sprinkle onto your carpet before you hoover.
- Purify the air with plants. Mother Nature knows what’s she’s doing. Some house plants are wonderful for filling rooms with natural scents and cleaning the air while they’re at it. Fill your house with plants such as yucca, spider plants, Fuschia, Gardenier, Gerbera daisies and African violets.
- Open a window. Sounds more than simple, but when was the last time you opened the window to let in the fresh air? Try it.
- Make your own air freshener. Here are three of our favourite methods…
The Orange one
Cut an orange in half, and remove the pulp (save that for your juice!). Then fill the empty orange half with salt. Voila! Freshens your room in no time.
It’s easy to make your own steaming pot of beautifully smelling potpourri to lightly fragrance your home if you have guests coming over. All you need is 1 orange, sliced (or the peel of one orange), 1 lemon, sliced (or peel of one lemon), 2-3 cinnamon sticks, 4 cups of water.
Place all the ingredients in a pot, and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat down very low, and keep warm (just make sure you check on the water level now and then). That’s it. The smell will permeat your home and keep the air naturally fresh too.
The bicarb and essential oil one
If you want a natural air freshener that you can place in different rooms, try this one. All you need is a small glass jar, bicarbonate of soda, a few drops of essential oil (of your choice- peppermint , laender or orange oils are particularly nice), foil.
Fill the glass jar about a quarter full with bicarbonate of soda. Then Add around 8 drops of your oil. Cover the top of the jar with foil and poke a few holes in it to release the smell. To refresh the scent, give the jar a small shake now and then. That’s it!
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