Making Sense of Scents: Naturally Eliminating Odors from Your Home

Memorial Day is just a couple of short weeks away. Now is the time for BBQ’s and pool parties, for endless nights spent with friends and family. Summer is easy and breezy but anxiety can set in when a gaggle of guests is heading over for a get together and your home is less than pleasantly scented. Garbage, pets and mildew all play a big part in taking an otherwise perfectly lovely home and turning it into a stinky, unpleasant space.

We already know scented candles can be hazardous to your health and to the environment so, for the sake of the world (okay, maybe that’s a bit melodramatic!), let’s stay away from candles as a means of odor elimination. Sprays and chemical cleaners do the trick when it comes to icky smells but at what cost, right? How can we keep our homes smelling fresh and not sacrifice our health?

A few weeks ago, I mentioned the joys of lemons and how they are a major player in the housekeeping game. It’s true, they do wonders and they can certainly keep your home smelling swell! But, since I already dedicated an entire article to them, I’m going to focus on alternate alternatives today. So, what are these almighty, non-chemical, all-natural, odor-eliminating options? Well, I’ll tell ya!

 

BAKING SODA

Many people know that keeping an open container of baking soda in the fridge keeps your fridge smelling fresh and clean (just be sure to check its expiration date every so often, baking soda does expire!). Well, the same rule applies to the rest of your home! Baking soda naturally neutralizes pH levels and stops offensive smells. Baking soda has been known to work especially well on musty and smoky aromas. Keep a bowl of baking soda out in a room you’d like to keep smelling sweet or sprinkle some in your trash cans, hampers or litter boxes to reduce the nasty odors from escaping!

(BONUS #1: Want to make that baking soda go the extra mile? Use it, mixed with a bit of water, as a cleaning solution to clean and deodorize at the same time. Your home will be smelling and looking great in no time!)

(BONUS #2: What?! Another baking soda bonus?! Yep! That’s what I do. I keep you on your toes! Want to make your kitchen smell extra clean AND unclog your kitchen drain? Pour 1 cup of salt followed by 1 cup of baking soda down your drain. Boil a full kettle of water and pour it down the drain as well. The sodium works to unclog the drain and get rid of any unwanted odors! Easy Peasy!)

 

SPICES

This next one is a bit more spice-y! If you need to cover up a scent or just want to spice things up, there’s nothing better than the spices you, most likely, already have in your home. Simmer a handful of cloves, 3 or 4 whole nutmegs, 4 or so cinnamon sticks and maybe a few citrus peels in a large pot of water for an hour. This will make your home smell deliciously spicy! When you’re done, let the water cool and you can strain the water into spray bottles for a wonderful room spray to use before guests arrive!

 

VINEGAR

Another wonderfully useful all-purpose product is white vinegar. White vinegar, like baking soda, can be used to neutralize odors and rid your home of unwanted smells by leaving bowls of it out or putting it in the fridge. But, watch out, vinegar has a strong smell of its own, which usually dissipates pretty quickly (just don’t use it right before guests arrive or the jig will be up!).

Vinegar is particularly good at removing food smells and is a great cleaning agent. Boiling two parts water with one part vinegar in a microwave-safe container can remove icky smells from your microwave. Likewise, a half cup of vinegar mixed with a quart of water when simmered on the stove for a few minutes removes the smell of burnt food, along with other odors, from the kitchen. Stinky trash can? It’s a simple fix when you have vinegar on hand! Soak a piece of bread in vinegar and leave it in the bin overnight to remove those built-up odors! Another wonder product to keep in your cabinet!

 

COFFEE GROUNDS

Last but certainly not least, coffee grounds! Chances are, you have them sitting in your coffee filter (or trash can) right now. Leftovers from this morning’s cup o’ joe- a waste with little purpose. Don’t chuck them! They have a purpose! (They should be going in compost anyway!) Fresh or leftover coffee grounds are great at absorbing unpleasant odors in the fridge or pantry or, wait for it, car! It’s no surprise really because fresh ground coffee smells a-maz-ing! Note: if you want to use them in the car, it’s best to place them in a covered plastic container with small holes punched in the lid- we don’t want them spilling all over the place!

Coffee grounds also make a great scrubber. They are abrasive so sprinkle some on to an old cleaning cloth and use them to scrub off stuck-on food from counters and dishes. They are rough enough to get off any caked on ick, but not so severe that they will damage your kitchen surfaces! Yay! (Just be sure not to get any stuck in any countertop cracks- they may stain!)

(BONUS #3: Coffee grounds are a garden must have. Placing them around your plants will protect against pests like ants, snails and slugs. Used coffee grounds also add nitrogen and potassium to the soil (plus a boost of magnesium) making it a welcome addition to your garden. You’ll have some happy plants!)

 

Keeping your home party-ready with these natural products is easy and stress-free. Being green doesn’t have to be difficult and it doesn’t have to be expensive- in most cases we have the resources we need right in our kitchen cabinets! So instead of tossing your coffee grounds in the trash tomorrow morning, why not dry them out and use them as a natural deodorizer? Before the big get together for Memorial Day next week, why not freshen your home with baking soda? Try out some of these tips and let us know what you think- we’d love to hear from you! Have some other tricks on keeping your home fresh and clean? Share them in the comments section!  We’ll see you soon!

 

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