3 Cheap and Easy Home Fragrance Tips


Frugal Air Freshener - Half Lemon, Star Anise, Cloves, and boiling water

Today’s post is inspired by a question from the Reader Mailbag over at the Simple Dollar. The woman writing in has multiple pets and a six month old baby.  She is tired of all the odors in her home but is concerned about the cost of commercial air fresheners.

First off, most commercial air fresheners don’t freshen anything.   They mask odors, or in the case of Lysol and similar sprays, they have a mix of chemicals so strong that it kills whatever bacteria might be causing a smell.  This seems pretty good until you think about breathing the fumes.  The lingering smell is very chemical spill, which to me is not an improvement of the situation.   Here are 3 easy and low cost options for clearing odors and giving your home a pleasant scent.

1. Invest in some Peppermint essential oil.

Peppermint is hands down the best product I have used for eliminating odors quickly.  It literally clears the air.  Peppermint is cooling and when inhaled it gives the impression of clean.  Peppermint has a high odor intensity so very little oil is needed, making it a good value.  Add only 2-3 drops to a diffuser to eliminate strong odors.   A 10 ml (1/3 oz.) bottle can be purchased for less than $20 and contains approximately 250 drops of oil.  For everyday use you can make a room spray with 5 drops of Peppermint and 10 drops of Lavender essential oil in an 8oz. mister bottle with water.  Shake well and mist the air or furniture as needed.   If mixed thoroughly the oils should not stain but test furniture first to be certain.   For the diffuser use 1 drop Peppermint to 2 drops Lavender.

2.  Bake or boil spices and citrus fruit.

Everybody has a jar of cinnamon in the kitchen.   Take it out, sprinkle a layer onto a baking sheet and throw it into the oven on the lowest setting.  You can also do this with any citrus peels, or combine the two for more depth of scent.  If you prefer boiling to baking, use any fragrant spice you enjoy.  In the blend pictured above I chose cloves and star anise because they are both incredibly fragrant and very little spice is needed.   For boiling,  lemons work better than other citrus and remember the essential oils are in the peel so using lemon juice is less effective.  Vinegar can also be added to the boiling water.  Vinegar works well for eliminating stagnant cooking odors.  If you just want a nice smell in the air it’s not necessary.   Most dried herbs don’t have a strong enough fragrance to make boiling or baking them very cost effective so this method is best for spices and citrus.

3.  Use baking soda, but jazz it up for heaven’s sake!

To a 1/2 cup of baking soda add 10 drops of your favorite essential oil.  Mix thoroughly and spoon into a recycled spice shaker.  The holes at the tops of these containers allow scent molecules to escape and odor molecules to be absorbed.  They also look neater and are potentially less messy than leaving baking soda out in a bowl.  Always keep away from pets and children.   The smell of the oils will fade as they evaporate but you can refresh it by adding drops if desired.   The shaker top can also double for using this mix on your carpets.

What are your favorite cheap ways to kill odors or scent your home?


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