By Alanna Ketler, Collective Evolution
Who doesn’t like a lovely, fresh smelling home? Nothing beats the smell of fresh linen, pine forests, or spring meadows, right?
Air fresheners — plug-ins, gels, aerosols, candles, incense — are a staple in many American households, and while they may smell great and evoke feelings of contentment or even nostalgia, they also come with some alarming consequences.
The majority of these products which are designed to ‘freshen the air in our homes’ are, ironically, polluting the air with harmful industrial chemicals.
Most air “fresheners” that are on the market today contain an array of toxic chemicals, most notably including phthalates. Phthalates have been directly linked to cancer and hormone disruption. Not only that, but plug-in type fresheners coat your nasal passages with an oil film called methoxychlor, which will kill the nerves in your nose over time, inhibiting your ability to smell.
The good news is, there are some amazing, all-natural alternatives that can not only keep your home smelling clean and fresh but actually filter the air as well.
How To Naturally Keep Your Home Smelling Fresh
1. Open Windows
One of the simplest, most effective ways to remove stale or smelly air from your home is to open the windows as often as possible and literally let your house air out. It helps to have windows at the front and back open to create some air flow and move stagnant air, and turning on a fan can also assist in this process. This is an especially useful tip while cleaning and cooking.
2. Keep Air Flowing When Cooking
When cooking particularly pungent food, be sure to use your range hood fan and consider leaving the windows open.
3. Use Natural Cleaning Supplies
Choose all-natural cleaning supplies. The products you use to clean your home end up in the air and on your furniture, ultimately making their way into your lungs. You should also leave the windows open while cleaning, regardless of what cleaners you use.
4. Diffuse Essential Oils
Use an essential oil diffuser. While often pricey, they are worth the investment. Diffusers allow you to safely distribute the smells from natural and often therapeutic essential oils throughout your home, not only making your house smell great but also providing healing through aromatherapy.
Relieve stress, clear congestion, boost your mood, calm your mind — you name it, and there’s an essential oil for it. If this is out of your price range you can simply add a few drops of essential oil to a bowl of water.
5. Deodorize Carpets
Deodorize carpets regularly. You can do this by simply sprinkling baking soda on any carpeted area or rug and leaving on for 20 minutes before vacuuming up.
6. Buy Houseplants
Houseplants do a great job of detoxifying the air in our homes, breathing in carbon monoxide and breathing out oxygen to purify the air. Choose plants from this list for the most benefit.
7. Use Natural Candles
Use beeswax or soy candles that do not contain paraffin. When these candles burn they emit negative ions which bind with the positive ions in the air, causing them to fall to the ground so they don’t end up in your lungs. I have also read that burning a beeswax candle for 20 minutes before you go to bed can help you get a more restful sleep.
8. Buy a Himalayan Salt Lamp
Himalayan salt lamps purify the air in the same way that beeswax or soy candles do, emitting negative ions. (Bonus: they have a pretty glow, too!)
9. Use Sprays Outside
Apply bug repellant or spray sunscreen outside, and keep aerosol use in general to a minimum, particularly indoors.
10. Avoid Artificial Air Cleansers
Avoid using anything artificial to cleanse the air. Store-bought “air-fresheners” generally just mask underlying odours rather than cleansing them, and pollute the air with toxic chemicals in the process.
11. Use Baking Soda
Hide a few open boxes of baking soda around your home is areas that tend to hold more odour, like the entrance way, coat closet, litter box, bathroom, etc.
12. Use Citrus
Simply slice a few lemons, limes, and/or oranges and leave them out on the table. You can just use leftover peels as well; give them a little twist first to help release the lovely smelling oils.
13. Use Vinegar
To neutralize odours in the air or on upholstery, mix three parts white vinegar and one part water in a spray bottle and spray onto the surface or directly into the air. The vinegar neutralizes the odours naturally. (And, don’t worry — that vinegary smell will fade away.)
Do you have any tips and tricks to keep your home smelling fresh? Please share in the comments section below!