out with the old and stale…
and in with the fresh and green

Fresh and Green

It happens to everyone, even in the nicest of neighborhoods. Your house gets that stale smell. Maybe it’s all those days running the air conditioner without opening a window for some fresh air, or maybe it was last night’s catch of the day that’s insisting on lingering. Or maybe it’s just the stuffiness of lots of people at the vacation cabin. No matter whether it’s an unpleasant odor or a sense of stale air, store bought air fresheners are pretty horrendous. They’re full of chemicals and add irritants to the air. Even the plug-in models aren’t exactly eco-friendly; they often contain petroleum and are full of plastics.

Burning a soy-based or beeswax candle is always an option for freshening up your home, as is a bowl of potpourri with natural essential oils. How about a pretty mason jar filled with baking soda and a few drops of essential oils? Just punch some holes in the lid, or replace the metal lid with a scrap of pretty fabric and voila! Instant room freshener.

There are all sorts of recipes for DIY air freshener sprays as well. The simplest is a mixture of water, baking soda and lemon juice. A few spritzes in a stuffy room and things will start smelling bright and fresh.

If you like the look of store-bought fragrance sticks, but prefer ones without harsh chemical fragrances, try mixing up a batch of your own. Just put a teaspoon or two of your favorite essential oils into a scant 1/3 cup of a carrier oil like jojoba or sweet almond oil and shake well. Pour the oils into a pretty, reclaimed glass jar and add a few bamboo skewers. Let the skewers soak for a few minutes before flipping them over to fragrance your room. Flipping them over every few days will keep the scent at its best.

It’s easy to freshen your home without adding unwanted chemical compounds. Pomander balls are an old-fashioned, and charming, way to scent a room, or the next time you peel some citrus, just simmer the peels in a little water. Your room will smell amazing and you can toss the peels, water and all, right into the compost. Fresh cut flowers or sachets of drying herbs are pretty and practical. The possibilities are limitless.

And if you don’t mind turning on the oven, or toaster oven, try the old real estate agent standby of baking apples or cookies. Not only will your house smell great, but you’ll have a terrific sweet treat to snack on as well.

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