There is nothing nicer than walking into a home that smells fresh and clean. We all get used to our individual smells and may not notice when things become a bit whiffy. Smokers, pet owners and people that fry a lot of food may not notice the smells that can build up in their homes. As with cleaning products, there are air fresheners
lining the supermarket shelves. The problem is that most only mask the odours, and often that mask is a very artificial smell. Worryingly, some scientists believe there is
a strong link between chemical air fresheners and some respiratory health problems.
Keep it clean
It is common sense, but a clean home will smell sweeter than a dirty home. Removing dust and grime will help rooms breathe.
A breath of fresh air
We live in central-heated homes with double-glazed windows. Some people only open their windows in the summer months. Think of all the stagnated air circulating around in your home! Get into the habit of opening windows, even for short periods, every day. Remember to turn the heat off in that room first to avoid wasting energy.
I am a big fan of scented candles, but you do get what you pay for. I have wasted far too much money on scented candles that smell terrible or burn inconsistently. My absolute favourite luxury candles are Neom Organics and Jo Malone, but I have to wait for a kind soul to buy these for me and then I only light them on special occasions!
For everyday use, Yankee candles are great and last well. They have just introduced a 100% natural soy wax range. For budget ranges, Homebase have great pillar scented candles that burn well and give a subtle scent. Marks & Spencer’s scented candles are also effective and good value. For stronger scents, you can opt for the supermarket favourites from Fabreze or Airwick.
Scented candles may appear expensive, but compare this to a house bulging with plug-ins, sprays and other lotions and potions and it will soon be offset. I don’t have scented candles burning constantly, but tend to light them prior to visitors arriving, after a particularly ‘smelly’ meal or just to suit my mood. If you are creative, you can save money and make your own candles, using essential oils to fragrance them.
Whenever I think of carpet fresheners, my mind reverts to the TV advert with the manic lady doing the ‘shake’n’vac’ dance! You can make your own carpet freshener by sprinkling bicarbonate of soda over your carpets. Leave for 10 to 15 minutes and then vacuum. I have a large tub of bicarbonate of soda mixed with sachets of lavender and rose petals. The bicarb absorbs the scent of the petals to create my very own carpet freshener.
Fresh flowers and plants Bring nature into your home. Certain plants absorb odours and help clean the air around you. Several plants have been identified by NASA as helping to eliminate toxins. Spider plant is said to be effective in removing formaldehyde from the air, or why not opt for a gerbera, peace lily or chrysanthemum to help keep the air a touch purer. A bunch of scented flowers can really brighten a room and create a welcoming scent. To save money, grow your own flowers, choosing the most scented varieties all year around.
Create a welcoming home
Estate agents have been using these tricks for years. The smell of freshly baked bread, home-baked cookies and fresh coffee is incredibly welcoming and makes the whole house smell divine.
If you like essential oils you can add your favourite scent to radiators and even light bulbs (using a light bulb ring) to help give off the fragrance. I also add drops to logs and the melted wax of cheaper scented candles. Potpourri refresher oils are also great, particularly for those special smells such as Christmas blends.
Loving your fresh drawers
Scented drawer liners and air fresheners can be expensive. You can achieve similar results by utilising home products.
- Place some bars of unused value soap in your drawers to help freshen. At the time of writing, I can buy three bars for less than 20p.
- Using scraps of fabric, make yourself a scented sack – no sewing required! Cut some fabric into a circle or square. Place a mixture of dried lavender and bicarbonate of soda in the middle of the fabric. Gather up the edges and tie securely with ribbon or string. Hang in wardrobes or place in drawers. For those who love sewing, why not make a scented heart? Cut out two heart shapes and sew around the edges leaving a 2 cm gap. Fill using a funnel. Finish by sewing together the remaining gap Add drops of your favourite essential oil or perfume to scraps of ribbon. Hang the ribbon in the wardrobe or place in your drawers.
- Economy tumble drier sheets give off a fresh fragrance for three to four weeks and can be placed in drawers or even inside pillowcases to maintain freshness.
Nasty kitchen smells
Cooking can create some unpleasant smells. A simple solution is to boil equal parts of water and white vinegar.
You can add some essential oils, cloves, cinnamon or citrus peel. Leave simmering for as long as possible, but don’t allow to boil dry. The vinegar smell will disappear, along with the unwanted odours.