Tuesday's Tip: Instant Freshness - FamilyEducation

Tuesday's Tip: Instant Freshness

January 31,2012

For Christmas my Mother-in-law gave me the neatest book on how to make homemade cleaners and other household items.  I’ve been on a bit of a kick lately, expanding my repertoire of homemade cleaners and the like from my basic tried-and-true vinegar and water all-purpose cleaner to other items throughout our home.

One of the tips that I learned recently, is that most “air fresheners” do more to pollute your indoor air than to truly freshen it.  The chemicals used by many commercial air fresheners mask the smell with chemicals that aren’t the best to breathe.  So I’ve started using essential oils in many ways to create natural, healthful and pleasant scents in our home.

Instead of our former linen spray, I mix about ¼ cup rubbing alcohol and water with 20 drops of lavender essential oil.  A quick shake before I use it, and my linens have never smelled so fresh and naturally clean!

For carpets that need refreshing, I combine baking soda (about ½ a cup is great for a large room) with 5-10 drops of lemon or citrus essential oil.  I shake the baking soda all over the carpet, let it sit for an hour if I am able (shorter if the boys are around and can’t avoid the room) and then vacuum it right up. The carpets are fresh and the bonus is that as I use the vacuum, the baking soda also freshens the vacuum bag.

In the kitchen, I’ve found the simplest solution, one that naturally removes pungent odors from the room:


I use citrus peels (we eat a *lot* of clementines in the winter) and a few cloves, bring it to a simmer, and let the steam from this mixture freshen the kitchen right up!  You can use other peels or otherwise-compostable items, like apple peel, lemon and lime peel, even pineapple rind!

The natural potpourri you create using fruit and spices helps remove the odors from cooking foods that have strong smells, such as seafood, bacon, onions and garlic.  Using a natural potpourri will have your nose happy and won’t require opening the window in the cold of winter to air out a smelly kitchen!

Life is sweet,