Whether you know it or not, your house has a unique smell. It can range from a light, fresh scent all the way to a musty, stale, wet dog kind of smell.
The unfortunate part is, you get so used to this smell that you don’t even recognize it when you walk through your door. But, when other people come over do they ever notice. They may feel calm and happy when they walk in, or weary and somewhat turned off. What story does your home’s smell tell?
Think about it like this. Some people have signature scents i.e. ‘I always wear Burberry Brit perfume’ and when you smell it, you think of them. But inside a home is a little different; the smell of a home literally imprints itself into your mind, like a signature on paper. The homeowner has no control over what that smell is (unless they do something about it). That’s why I refer to it as a scent signature, because it’s a unique scent stamp of that space. When we cook, renovate, or neglect to clean certain parts of our homes, the scent signature can temporarily change or progressively get worse. Smelling garlic mashed potatoes at 6 PM on Tuesday is great, but smelling them at 9 AM the next day isn’t too desirable.
We remember scents and associate memories and emotions with them. That’s why so many stores invest in creating a scent signature that translates into dollars (just think about the last time you walked into an Abercrombie and Fitch store).
It’s quite simple to see the importance of having a positive scent signature at home! Companies will create products to do this for you, by offering up every scent combination they can think of in the form of candles, plug in air-fresheners and room sprays. This can become expensive, confusing if you use multiple scents and can put a lot of unnecessary chemicals into your home.
So, if you want to change your home’s scent signature, I have a few really easy and fun things to try, and they cost next to nothing do.
First, think about what scents you love; it’s different for everyone. You can even think about the seasons and what you want your home to smell like based on what season it is. Now, you know what to base your scents around. Also, you likely don’t want your bathroom smelling like freshly baked cookies (or perhaps you do) so consider a room-appropriate scent.
Now, hunt & gather the following items for your natural home deodorizer:
Mason jar / old tomato sauce jar (if storing in the fridge)
Pot for stovetop
Any of the ingredients listed from the recipes below.
How to Make Natural Home Deodorizers..
Cut any fruits and place in water, add spices, extracts and herbs.
Fill your pot with water (I use a small saucepan) 3/4 the way full, and boil.
As soon as it reaches the boiling point, reduce to low heat and simmer.
Now, gorgeously scented vapour will travel throughout your home, changing the scent signature and overpowering other smells in your home.
Often times, realtors will tell you to bake cookies or boil cinnamon sticks or vanilla on your stove top to create a scent in your home, and this is an elaborate extension of that idea.
You can let the pot simmer (attended) for hours on end, continually adding liquid to prevent the ingredients from burning.
When you have had enough, you can jar the liquid and ingredients up, refrigerate once cooled and use a few more times (keeping in mind some fruits and herbs hold up better than others for prolonged periods of time). This can keep for about a week.
If you are headed somewhere for dinner, you can jar up your favorite recipe and give it to your host in lieu of wine or flowers. It looks quite pretty when placed in a mason jar (and you can get extra fancy and use twine or ribbon to tie it up).
Natural Home Scent Recipes..
The famous recipe that people claim comes from Williams-Sonoma consists of: 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary, a teaspoon of vanilla extract and one sliced lemon.
Fall Wonderland: 1 sliced orange, 5 cinnamon sticks, 2 tablespoons of whole cloves
Orange Amaretto: 1 sliced orange, 1 tablespoon almond extract
Sweet Mint: 2 sliced limes, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
Gingerbread: 5 1/4 inch slices of ginger, 1 tablespoon almond extract, 3 cinnamon sticks
Orange Creamsicle: 1 tablespoon vanilla, 1 sliced orange
Cordon Bleu: 1 lemon, 1 tablespoon of peppermint extract, 4 sprigs of rosemary
Italian Backyard: 1 lemon, 1 tsp black peppercorns, handful of basil
Forest: Cedar twigs, by themselves. I love cedar.
Regal Cream: Bergamot tea (Earl Grey), 1 tsp vanilla extract
Blueberry Tea: Bergamot tea, 1 sliced orange, 1 tsp almond extract
Coconut Bay: 1 tablespoon coconut extract, 1 sliced lime
And of course, you have the opportunity to create your own depending on what smells get you going. I would love to hear what your recipes are, please leave us comments sharing your favorites!
Apples, lemons, limes, oranges, cranberries and ginger. Citrus fruits last the longest in the pot, so keep that in mind.
Fresh is the only way to go. Leafier, thinner herbs won’t hold up as long as more rugged herbs. Look for fresh herbs that are woody or with twiggy for best results (rosemary, thyme, lemongrass). The thinner herbs can be used, but just keep in mind that they won’t last as long in the pot. But they’ll still smell divine.
Cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, star anise, peppercorns or any other mulling spices work well. Of course, you don’t want to boil up paprika so stick to the sweeter smelling spices and leave the savory ones for cooking. These can be used whole or grounded, however I’ve found whole spices work best.
This is where you can have some fun. Add peppermint, vanilla, maple, almond or coconut extract to add a powerful note to your home’s scent signature. There are hundreds of extracts available, if you look for a specialty extract provider, you can find lovely scents including cotton candy, apricot and blueberry.
If you love tree scents, add some pine needles twigs from fragrant trees to the mix. You can also find your favorite tea and add in a tea bag alongside some fruits for a lovely smell. If you want something that tastes as good as it smells, consider making some masala chai tea and drinking that afterward. What a sweet reward!
Other scent signature ideas you can try – Homemade Room Spray
Consider making your own room spray. Simply add 10-20 drops of essential oil (or a combination of two or three) to a clean spray bottle filled with 3 parts water to 1 part vodka. Now you have a home made room spray that will save you tons of money and place no chemicals into your air. These are great for bedrooms and bathrooms and replaces a product like an air spray or a Febreeze. I personally love lavender and eucalyptus, geranium, tea tree oil, sweet almond, cinnamon and orange. OK so basically I like everything.
The importance of cleaning, deodorizing and airing out your home
These are all well and good, but they are just band-aid solutions to a larger issue and these recipes but cover up a smell. If you truly want your home to smell fresh (i.e. like nothing), then the house needs to be clean and free of dirt. The best ways to achieve this are as follows:
- Emptying garbage often, especially with compostable food items
- Deodorizing carpets and upholstery by cleaning professionally regularly
- Vacuuming to remove dirt and odours from carpets
- Refraining from wearing shoes in the house
- Refraining from smoking in the house
- Opening windows to let fresh air in, we do this as often as we can (weather permitting)
- Using bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans to remove odours and moisture from the home
- Managing pets properly (i.e. emptying litter boxes and cleaning pet paws after being outdoors).
So, the next time you walk through your front door, think about your home’s scent signature and how you can change it!