What do shoes, carpets, drapes, dogs, chairs, onions, dirty laundry, beds and fish have in common?
They all make your house smell bad and believe me when I say there’s like 150 other things in your home right now that are adding to what’s called the ‘scent signature’ of your home.
Well, the reality is that your scent signature can quickly become your stank signature – and when that happens, many of us run off to the store to purchase the different products that are conveniently packaged and placed in their own little aisle to solve our ‘problem’.
We all know these products right? Sprays that supposedly fa-freshen the air in your home – scented candles or these plug-in fresheners which, in this case, will made your house smell exactly like the rainforest.
The problem is, these plug ins don’t smell like the rainforest. The candles, which are supposed to smell like apples and cinnamon, don’t have apples or cinnamon listed as an ingredient, and sprays straight up smell like cheap perfume…the kind that gives me a headache after only a minute or so.
I thoroughly do not enjoy these scents. They do not take me on a scent-fantasy vacation as the commercials say they will. Rather, I get a pounding headache within minutes of exposure.
But what about all the health concerns?
Now, I’m not going to get into the debate about chemicals and toxins. If that is a concern for you, then there are many, many studies available which talk about what goes into these products, some of which I’ve linked below, and you can make make up your own mind whether you want these products in your home, or not. I leave that conclusion to you. Recently, larger companies that produce these have had to become much more transparent about the ingredients which go into their products. That way, consumers can make their choices knowingly. If you are informed, you can make better decisions; so get informed!
The main reason why I don’t use these products in my home is quite simple, the products are superfluous. They are mere middlemen to perceived problems. When there is an odor that you want to get rid of, you need to DE-odorize – or remove the odor – all of these do nothing more than put artificial odors into the air to overpower the odors you’re trying to get rid of – which essentially RE-odorizes – and that’s a big difference.
So what does clean really smell like?
For 7 years now I’ve been running a cleaning company, and one of the more consistent comments that I hear from our customers is that they love to walk into their newly cleaned home to smell – nothing…not be overwhelmed with the artificial smells of cleaning products, but to smell nothing.
Nothing is the new smell of clean.
So, maybe you’re reading this because you were one of the many people who have asked me how to get rid of this nasty smell in my house….. or maybe you’re tired of spending your money on expensive products which do nothing more than mask odors – or maybe, just maybe you got trapped in an Internet vacuum and can’t explain why you ended up reading an article called “The Truth Behind Air Fresheners” – whatever the reason, allow me to share a few ideas to naturally, effectively get rid of smells in your home…
How to actually, naturally eliminate odours
Clean the stuff that causes the odours
You want to know the best way to eliminate bad odors in your house? Clean, or wash, the offending items. Have you ever noticed that air freshener commercials show the product being used to tackle smelly shoe odors? Well, here’s an idea – wash those smelly shoes! I know it sounds absolutely crazy, but the results will amaze you!
If the house smells like garbage, maybe it’s time to take out the garbage, if your room smells a little funky, maybe it’s time to take care of the laundry and for those of you with dogs who have asked about the best way to deal with the “dog smell” – the answer isn’t so much cleaning the areas where your dog hangs out (i.e. spraying the dog bed)…it’s about cleaning your dog and washing the dog bed. Plus, I’m positive the dog doesn’t want to feel like he’s yodelling atop the Alpines.
Bowl of Vinegar
Vinegar is a wonderful natural deodorizer and is incredibly easy to use. Simply leave a bowl of vinegar out, overnight and you’ll wake to find the area smelling fresher! Plain white vinegar will do, nothing fancy.
There’s a reason we keep a box of baking soda in the fridge. and that is because it can handle the difficult job of managing all the odors that live inside your fridge – well, it’s also effective in other places in your home like at the bottom of garbage cans, kitty litter boxes and even in your closet or spice cupboard.
Vacuuming and steam cleaning
Carpets are pretty much the biggest offenders when it comes to odors in our homes. they harbor a bunch of odor causing nastiness and the same holds true for curtains and other upholstered items. A great way to tackle the smell in a room is to give everything a good vacuuming – use the aforementioned baking soda to really suck up the scents. If you have a deep cleaner or a steam cleaner, those are even more amazing at removing odours.
Let nature help you freshen the air in your home – plants can actually purify air and some smell naturally beautiful and can fill your space with the most wonderful, natural scents. They are also so beautiful! Some terrific indoor house plants to keep air purified. The following list both purifies air and removes toxins, and is also pet safe (which is great for me considering my cats think plants are an addition to their meals).
- African Violet
- Areca Palm
- Boston Fern
- Cast Iron Plant
- Flame Violet
- Gerber Daisy
- Lady Palm
- Prayer Plant
- Velvet Plant
- Spider Plant
The power of air
The simple act of opening a few windows can make a huge difference in your home -so, let some fresh air in – this is easily the freeist thing that you can do to rid yourself of odors! if you open windows on opposite ends of your home – you can create a cross breeze which can whisk away unpleasant, stale odors and replace them with the freshness of nature – assuming you don’t live beside a tire factory. I do this whenever weather permits, it especially helps air out the cat dander which I am allergic to (I know, I know) but makes an enormous difference. I also find it helps contribute to that smell of ‘nothing’ that I often talk about.
DIY home scents and Homemade Febreze recipes
If you have to have a scent in your home, or you really need a product to eliminate odours, there are a few things you can try. Firstly, you can make your own version of Febreze. Simply add 1 teaspoon of baking soda to one cup of water and 10 drops of your favourite essential oil (or a combination you love). Mist around the room and voila, you’ve got your own, natural Febreeze. And, not too long ago we posted a video called DIY Home Deodorizers which talked about a great way to fill your home with some lovely natural scents by simmering different great smelling items like fruits and herbs..
In the olden days
Back in the day – before the days of air fresheners – people used the methods that I have just shared with you to effectively clean and deodorize the air in their homes and it’s funny how not much has changed – while we now have the option of spending literally hundreds of dollars on products which mask odors – we still have the option of using our heads to completely get rid of odors. Our grandparents and parents didn’t live in stinky homes, that I can assure you of.
Air Freshener Intervention?
If you or someone you know is a heavy user of these products, consider this. Not only can you save hundreds of dollars a year (the ‘plug in’ products are what we refer to as ‘the razor and blade’ system, where you purchase the razor once and continue to purchase blades again and again. You’re also plugging them in and spending money on your energy bill.) but you can do all of the things these products claim to be able to do by dealing with the root cause as opposed to seeking the band aid solution. Share this with your addicted friends and family and see if their habits will change.
What do you use to naturally freshen the smell of your home?