If you have awful associations with the word potpourri, you're not alone. I have memories of Nana's house smelling like dried rose petals and anise. I swore I would never make my own potpourri, and my house would never smell like Nana's!
That was until I had my own place, and I have to admit it can smell rather unpleasant from time to time with those mystery scents coming from under the sink and the shoe cupboard. Luckily we don't have to be stuck between the musty dog smell or the ancient potpourri of Nana's house.
Over the years I've picked up a few tips to help your home smell pretty nice - some might even say heavenly A fresh smelling house makes it a nicer place to be. But it's not simply about making your house smell better, it's also about the air you're breathing. Cleaning the air indoors is just as important as living a healthy life that's more in sync with nature. So here are some tips to make your home smell fresh and delicious while conserving money, using natural products, and having some fun along the way!
- Fresh air: this may sound simple, but open a window! Unless you live in sub-zero temperatures, even in winter the windows should be opened for a few minutes each day. Especially in winter, the indoor air can be more polluted than the air outside due to the outgassing of different plastics, paints and surfaces in our homes. So let the air circulate and refresh the oxygen.
- House plants: this is my favourite weapon against unclean air. In addition to purifying the air, they make any room feel more alive and cheerful. In my book, you can never have enough plants! Despite not having a green thumb, I keep plants of all different sizes and types, and stick to the low maintenance varieties for obvious reasons. However green plants are an absolute must for any living space. For a specific list of great houseplants, check out the previous article about purifying house plants.
- Odour absorbing miracles: baking soda and vinegar. Most readers will probably have some idea about the powers of these two wonder products. Unpleasant odours in your fridge, closet or bathroom are typically caused by strong acids. Baking soda neutralises odours by balancing the pH levels of the air, and using it can even be pretty! There are plenty of creative DIY baking soda container ideas, so spread them around the house. You can put them in closets, the fridge and freezer, under the sink, shoe cupboards and bathrooms. Just be sure to remember to replace the baking soda every month or so to keep the air fresh.
I personally despise the smell of vinegar, so if I plan to leave the house for a few hours, sometimes I pour vinegar in a shallow bowl. While I'm away the smell of vinegar evaporates, taking much of the unpleasant scent with it by the time I return.
- Quick fixes: if you've got company coming over soon, candles can work wonders. Make sure they're made from sustainable beeswax or soy wax, which can not only zap away odour particles but also improve the air quality. Lighting these candles in a bowl of cinnamon sticks or coffee beans not only looks beautiful, but the heat from the candle can warm the cinnamon or coffee and give the room a nice aroma. But be sure to avoid paraffin candles because they often do more damage to the environment and add even more nasty chemicals to the air, especially the scented ones!
Another quick fix to have on hand is a spray bottle filled with essential oils to give your house a quick burst of clean scent. As a general rule, the measurement would be 35 drops of your favourite essential oil (my tips would be eucalyptus or sweet basil) for every 500 mL of water. Combine these in a spray bottle and spritz as needed. Essential oils have natural anti-bacterial qualities so they can purify the air and last a long time in the bottle for any quick fix moment.
- Finally, potpourri: like fashion and hairstyles, the classic potpourri recipes have also been updated and modernised. Life is fast paced and busy, and I just don't have the money to spend on dried flower petals or the time to dry my own. But there are always things in the cupboard and by using some fresh ingredients now and again like leftover herbs, you can make a spontaneous air freshener recipe and breathe happy.
Check out my method: Bring a pot of water to a boil and add the ingredients. Reduce to a simmer and let the aroma fill your house. Simply replenish the water as it evaporates for a heavenly scent around your house. My recipes for summer days are adding fresh basil or rosemary, sliced lemon pieces and bay leaves for a refreshing and rejuvenating smell. Alternatively, fresh mint and ginger with quartered mandarins and limes is another stellar combination. If you have a little more time up your sleeve in winter, slice an apple and orange, and combine in a pot with vanilla extract, cinnamon sticks, whole cloves and some water.
Feel free to experiment with what you have in your garden and fridge.
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This article was first published on My Green Australia. My Green Australia is a resource of information about living green and healthier in Australia. We want to protect and cherish our country and preserve the natural beauty of Australia for many generations to come.
This article was first published on My Green Australia.