We may all be stuck indoors right now, but we can make the best of it by ensuring that our homes smell fresh and clean — and not like aerosol air fresheners, either. To dodge the harmful chemicals that artificial deodorizers release, try one of these five ideas that bring the outdoors inside. Nature’s fresheners that are as safe as they are effective!
Invite in sweeter air with Mason jars.
A creative alternative to air fresheners? Fill Mason jars with 1 cup of baking soda and 20 drops of essential oil, like vanilla or rosemary, says cleaning expert Melissa Maker. “Fasten cheesecloth over the top of the jars with a rubber band, and put them in out-of-the-way spots. I have one behind my front door. You can even use a glue gun to jazz them up with faux flowers.”
Lift carpet smells with a saltshaker.
The easy way to rid rugs of trapped-in odors: “Simply shake a generous amount of table salt onto the fibers before going to bed, then vacuum it up in the morning,” advises Hanna Brooks Olsen, co-host of the Spotless podcast. “Salt is a super-deodorizer that has the double-duty benefit of naturally killing tiny pests that hide in rugs, like fleas, by drying out the moisture they need to thrive.”
Prevent laundry funk with a vodka “cocktail.”
If you have extra-smelly clothes, like workout gear, sitting in your laundry basket, whip up a pretreatment spray of one part vodka (a potent bacteria-killer) to three parts water, and mist on, says Olsen. “The alcohol eliminates odor without leaving behind a smell.”
Freshen a garbage disposal with lemon-scented cubes.
To keep your disposal odor-free, make natural cleaning tablets, pop one in the drain once a week with the water running and hit the “on” switch, says Jessica Kielman of Mom4Real.com. To do: In a bowl, mix 2 cups of baking soda, one cup of salt, 1⁄4 cup of distilled water, 1⁄3 cup of Castile soap and 20 drops of lemon essential oil. Pour into an ice cube tray and let dry. Each cube scrubs away food, leaving the disposal lemon-fresh.
Spring-step stinky shoes with sole-saving sachets.
Shoes are breeding grounds for odor-causing bacteria. To beat the reek: “Combine 1/2 cup of baking soda and 10 drops of lavender essential oil, pour the mixture into two fabric sachets, then insert one into each shoe,” says Kielman. “The baking soda absorbs moisture, while the essential oil leaves a pleasant fragrance.”
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.