Most people don’t realize it, but over time a home will develop a distinct odor that you don’t notice but guests and visitors will be able to smell. Cooking and simply living create the issue, but fortunately there are many ways to not only get rid of it for good but to make your house truly smell great. Masking house smells isn’t the same as eliminating it, which is why air freshener sprays and plug-ins often don’t work. Here are five effective ways to improve the smell of your home.
1. Essential oil and herb sachets
If you’re looking for a long term solution that will gradually make your house smell better over time, make a few sachets filled with dried herbs and a touch of natural essential oils. The sachets that you can buy in stores do smell nice but they contain tons of chemicals and colorants, some of which can even stain your furniture and clothing. Making your own is cheaper and more environmentally friendly, and it’s very easy to do. Gather any fabric scraps or cheesecloth that you have lying around, rubber bands, string or ribbon, dried flowers and spices, and essential oil. Lavender buds, dried rose and flower petals, cinnamon sticks, dried citrus rounds, eucalyptus, vanilla beans, and even cedar all work well.
Cut a square of cheesecloth or fabric that’s six inches all around, and add in a quarter cup of dried flowers, herbs, and spices into the center of it. Put five to ten drops of essential oil on top, bundle the fabric up, and secure it with a rubber band or ribbon. If you prefer and you’re handy with a needy and thread, sew the sachet closed. Stick these in the back of your closets, drawers, under couch cushions, behind your headboard, or even in your car to provide a lasting scent. When the fragrance starts to significantly dissipate, add more essential oil and switch out your dried herbs and flowers every other month. You could skip the sachets entirely and just put the herbal mix and essential oils into a dish to create classic potpourri.
2. Good quality candles
It’s true that most candles mask smell rather than eliminate it, but if you’re in a time crunch using a few quality candles in certain scents will help your house smell wonderful. Rather than looking at price to determine which candles will work well, open the candles and smell the lid itself before buying — if the scent is light, you can all but guarantee that the fragrance will not fill your home once it’s burning. Strong wicks that aren’t flimsy are a must, and it’s best that candles more than three inches in diameter have at least two wicks for even burning. If you like the idea of improving your house smell with candles, but you need a flame-free solution, go with wax melts. These smell just as great but melt in a special warming dish to release scent as opposed to you having to light a candle.
3. Simmer pots
This is one of the most inexpensive ways to change your house smell as well as one of the easiest, and some retail stores do this to create their signature scents. If you don’t have a simmer pot, simply grab a small saucepan and a few of the following ingredients: dried flowers, essential oils, cinnamon sticks, vanilla beans, dried or fresh slices or citrus, citrus zest and rinds, whole or ground cloves, apple or pear peels, almond or vanilla extract, grated nutmeg, bay leaves, anise, lavender buds. Get creative and come up with different mixes — whatever you choose, your home will be filled with an incredible scent.
Fill the saucepan with two cups of water and bring it to a boil. Add the ingredients of your choice, allow it to boil for three minutes, then turn down the heat so the water comes to a simmer. Let the mixture simmer for up to three hours, adding more water every half hour or so to prevent the pot from boiling dry.
4. Vinegar bowls
When you sniff it straight out of the bottle, vinegar doesn’t smell great at all. However, it has the ability to naturally get rid of odors and make your house have a better scent. Take small ramekins or bowls, fill them half way with vinegar, and then place in hidden areas around your home. Alternatively, place the vinegar in small mason jars, tie a ribbon or raffia under the opening for decoration, and you can leave the vinegar in plain sight. Remember to dump out the old vinegar and add more every week for maximum effectiveness.
If you want to get the benefits of this method much more quickly, put two cups of vinegar into a saucepan and allow it to come to a boil. Carefully place the saucepan on a trivet in the middle of the room and you’ll notice any off odors that were present will be significantly lessened within 30 minutes. This also works well when you need to remove the odor of burnt food from your home. For either method you can add a few drops of an essential oil that you enjoy, such as lavender, sweet orange, or cinnamon.
5. DIY Fabric Refresher
Homemade fabric refresher is significantly less expensive than store bought versions and it doesn’t leave behind weird chemical smells. Best of all, you can customize the mixture to suit your tastes and work for your needs. All you need to make your own fabric refresher is water, baking soda, a spray bottle, and the fabric softener of your choice — you can blend different ones to create custom fragrances. Put two teaspoons of baking soda, two tablespoons of fabric softener, and 1.5 cups of warm water into the bottle, shake it well, and then spray it onto your bed linens, curtains, furniture, and pet beds.
Another way to make homemade fabric freshener is to mix half a cup of unflavored vodka, 1.5 cups of water, and ten drops of the essential oil of your choice into a spray bottle. Whichever method you choose, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that your home smells lovely and you didn’t have to use a spray loaded with chemicals.