Your Nose Knows
Human beings’ sense of smell is more powerful and nuanced than we may think, even when compared to super-sniffers like dogs, according to recent research. That means the air we breathe at home can really affect us, emotionally and physically. Freshen the air, and you can brighten your mood and increase your energy level. And the best news is, all it takes to empower the air is one simple, natural, inexpensive ingredient: baking soda. On its own or combined with a few other ingredients, baking soda can neutralize unappealing odors and give your home an olfactory upgrade. So follow your nose to these fast recipes and methods and enjoy every breath you take!
This recipe for an all-natural, all-purpose air freshener comes courtesy of The Homemade Experiment. In a mason jar, mix one cup baking soda with 15 drops of essential oil. Go for grapefruit, peppermint, pine, or lavender oils, which are especially refreshing. Add one teaspoon of dried herbs, such as rosemary, lavender, or mint. Close the lid and shake thoroughly. Place a small dish of this mixture in any room to be deodorized.
Instead of masking odors with heavily scented fragrances, try this lightly scented baking soda spray, created by Somewhat Simple. In a small dish, combine one tablespoon of baking soda with a few drops of essential oil—cinnamon or clove oil are especially suited for fall and winter. Mix thoroughly then pour into a large spray bottle. Fill with water and shake well. Use as a room spray or on upholstery, clothing, shoes...anywhere that’s smelling a little funky.
Twist of Lemon
Citrus scents like lemon may boost your mood research says. Lemony scents are also associated with clean, bright spaces. For lemony freshness, combine half a cup of baking soda with 15 drops of lemon essential oil in a 4-ounce mason jar. Place a basket-style paper coffee filter on top of the jar opening and securely tighten the jar ring around it (leaving off the lid). Jennifer Lane, a certified aromatherapist, uses this mood-enhancing air freshener around her home, finding it especially helpful in bathrooms, the kitchen, and even in the fridge.
For a great-looking air freshener that’s free of toxins (including the phthalates found in many commercial air fresheners), try this recipe from Natural Fit Foodie. Mix several drops of your favorite essential oil with baking soda in a sterilized glass jar. Cover the opening with a square of burlap and tie it securely arounds the rim with a pretty ribbon. (Tip: Add a few extra drops of essential oil to the underside of the burlap for extra potency.) If burlap doesn’t suit your decor, consider this fabric lid cover from Smashed Peas and Carrots.
Good news for anyone who doesn’t care for essential oils or is sensitive to odors in general:. Baking soda all by itself can effectively freshen your home. Simply pour a few tablespoons of baking soda into uncovered dishes and place strategically around your home, such as near the trash can, stove, or toilet, and preferably elevated, so they won’t tip over or tempt kids or pets. Be patient: While baking soda can absorb heavy smells like burnt, fried, and spoiled food, it can take several days to make a noticeable difference.
If the air in your bathroom or kitchen is less than sparkling, consider the source. While deodorizing the air can help, cleaning sinks, disposals, and drains can offer a longer term odor-busting solution. Sprinkle baking soda liberally inside your stainless steel sink, scrub with a sponge, then pour white vinegar over the surface. The chemical reaction will break up any remaining residue and scum. Plus it will give your drain and disposal a deep clean. For porcelain sinks, use hydrogen peroxide instead of vinegar.
Cleanse the air while you sleep! According to the Sleep Foundation, lavender has been shown to decrease heart rate and blood pressure, helping people sleep more soundly and wake more energized. Get the sleep-enhancing effects of lavender, plus the air-purifying powers of baking soda, with this recipe by The Frugal Girls. Combine ½ cup of baking soda with 20 to 25 drops of lavender essential oil in a small jar. Leave the lid off, or cover with a square of cheesecloth for gentle aromatherapy and air purification throughout the night.
Just Add Water
A pressure cooker has many uses, one of which is purifying the air. Try this Lifehacker formula: Fill your crock pot or Instant Pot half-full with water and add 2 to 3 tablespoons of baking soda. Turn the heat on low, and keep the lid off. You can easily place this DIY air purifier/humidifier in your kitchen, but don’t feel confined—use it in the bedroom or even the basement to banish musty smells. Just make sure the pressure cooker is monitored, and never leave the home (or the vicinity) while it’s still plugged in.
Cooking smells, body odor, and pet dander can settle into fabric and furniture, but you can easily deodorize curtains, upholstery, and carpeting with baking soda. Blend a cup of baking soda with 30 to 40 drops of essential oil. Consider oregano oil, for instance, which has antibacterial properties, but avoid tree oil if you have pets, as it can be toxic to animals. Sprinkle the mixture onto fabric surfaces, including carpeting, and let sit for 30 minutes or overnight. Vacuum up the baking soda mixture, and with it, those bad smells.
That Fresh-Baked Scent
Whether entertaining guests or staging your home to sell, smell matters. Real estate experts often advise homeowners to sweeten their indoor air with scents that have a universal appeal. Avoid heavy perfumes and florals, and go for lighter, botanical notes like lavender, grapefruit, or ever-popular vanilla. Mix half a cup of baking soda with a few drops of vanilla extract in a jar and place on a windowsill, so the sun can release the fragrance as it warms. No need to make cookies to get that fresh-baked scent!
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