You walk into your home after being gone at work or out shopping, and whoa … something smells funky! But where is it coming from? You sniff. Your search. You’re stumped. Has this ever happened to you?
Your home can be filled with all sorts of things that can make it smell downright yucky. When that happens, you may be tempted to quickly spray a commercial air freshener or light a candle, but those are just temporary cover-ups. You’ve really got to get to the root of the problem to remove that horrible stench from your home for good.
Tip #1: Homemade Room and Furniture Deodorizing Spray
This simple recipe is a snap to make and safe to use either by spritzing into the air or spraying directly on that smelly couch or recliner. This spray uses your favorite essential oil. If you haven’t used essential oils, I encourage you to check out my episode How to Use Essential Oils in Your Home to learn more about their natural, non-toxic benefits. Here’s the quick and easy recipe for deodorizing room spray:
- 1 Tablespoon baking soda
- 2-3 drops of essential oil – I like lavender, lemon, orange, cinnamon, or peppermint. Use a scent you like or mix and match to create your own personal scent.
- Distilled water
Mix the baking soda and essential oil thoroughly. Using a funnel to add this mixture to an 8-12 ounce spray bottle. Add distilled water to fill and shake well. Now, it’s ready to use!
Tip #2 Simmer Pot Air Freshener
For a long-lasting wonderful aroma that permeates your entire home, try my simmer pot recipe. Use this around the winter holidays to create a warm, homey ambiance. It’s also great in summer to get rid of stinky, sweaty smells that seem to come from everywhere. Mix and match your ingredients for a unique scent. Here’s the basic recipe, but you should feel free to change it up:
- 1 orange, sliced
- 1 lemon, sliced
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 4 whole cloves
- 1 bay leaf, fresh if possible
Add all these items to a medium pot or a small crock pot. Add water to fill about halfway. Turn the burner on to low and let this simmer all day. If using a crockpot, set it on low and let it freshen the air. Periodically check the water level and add water as needed.
Variations: Try adding pine needles and fresh cranberries during the holiday season. Use lemon and fresh mint for a light, summertime scent. Fresh lavender and oranges make a nice combination, too.
Tip #3: Carpet Refresher
If you don’t currently use baking soda as a natural cleaner in your home, I urge you to give it a try. It’s easy, non-toxic, safe, cheap, and gets the job done fast:
1 cup baking soda
1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
Mix these two ingredients well. Add to a shaker container – a clean parmesan cheese dispenser works well. Sprinkle liberally on your carpets and let stand for 30 – 60 minutes. Vacuum as usual. Your carpets will smell clean and fresh (and your family will think you just baked some delicious cinnamon concoction!)
Tip #4: Home and Car Fresheners
Here’s another easy way to use baking soda to kill stinky smells. These little freshener jars are great for bathrooms, closets, any room in the house, really. These make great car fresheners as well.
- ½ cup baking soda
- 4-6 drops essential oil
Mix ingredients in a small glass jar. Either poke holes in the lid using a nail and hammer or if using a mason-type jar, stretch some fabric (I like to use burlap) across the mouth of the jar and secure with the ring lid only. Set these little deodorizers anywhere. Refresh every few weeks with 4-6 drops of new oil.
Tip #5: Natural Room Diffuser
You know those oil room diffusers that have the bamboo sticks in them? Sometimes they smell good but…sometimes they smell, well, weird. What’s in there anyway? Here’s a super simple way to create your own room diffusers for just pennies.
- Wooden bamboo skewers
- Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day All Purpose Cleaner (Lemon Verbena)
- Small jar or glass
Simply add enough cleaner to the jar or glass to fill it halfway. Take 8-10 bamboo skewers and trim to the right height, if necessary. Trim off the pointy ends and make sure the skewers are no more than twice the height of the glass. Add skewers to the glass and set wherever you want a fresh, clean scent.
Tip #6: Natural Air Freshener Gel
Here’s another option for an air freshener that you can set wherever you need the air sanitized. This gel freshener is a good option if you’ve got small children, rowdy teenagers, clumsy husbands, or crazy pets. Since this air freshener is in gel form, it can’t spill! Here’s what you need:
- 20 drops of your favorite essential oil(s)
- 2 Tablespoons salt
- 4 packets of plain, unflavored gelatin (I used Knox brand)
- Empty glass food jars with screw-on lids
Bring 1 cup of water to a boil, remove it from heat, and gently stir in the essential oils and the salt. Continue stirring while carefully sprinkling in the gelatin. Once dissolved, slowly stir in 1 cup of cold water. Do not stir this vigorously or it will foam up and create a cloudy gel.
Place the jars on a cookie sheet and carefully pour the gelatin mixture into each jar. Move to a location where they won’t be bumped or messed with and let sit for 2 to 3 days to set up. At this point the fresheners will smell very strong but don’t worry; the scent will mellow out once you’ve got the lids on.
Tip #7: Smelly Shoe Deodorizing Spray
This is a stink that invades just about every household. Here’s a quick remedy to spritz on those smelly shoes:
- 2 teaspoons essential oil (thyme or tea tree oil work best)
- 2 cups water
Mix thoroughly and add to a spray bottle. Liberally spray shoes with this mixture and allow to completely dry before wearing.
Tip #8: Deodorizing Discs
These powerful discs work well in garbage cans, diaper pails, gym bags, and closets. This recipe is enough for 24 discs:
- 2 cups baking soda
- 1-2 cups water
- Several drops of essential oil
- Silicone muffin pans, enough for 24
Heat the water to boiling and add the oil. Mix the liquid slowly into a bowl containing the baking soda. Add only enough liquid to make a spreadable paste. (The more water you mix in the longer the discs take to dry and harden.) Spoon the paste into silicone muffin pans. Let the discs dry completely. This may take several days. Once completely dried, remove the discs carefully from the muffin pans. Store in a jar or Ziploc bag until ready to use.
Put a disc in the bottom of your trash can or diaper pail to absorb odors. A disc added to a gym bag or gym locker keeps stinky smells at bay. Use wherever sneaky smells tend to get overwhelming.
Tip #9: Linen Spray
This DIY linen spray freshens towels, bedding, clothes, and fabric-covered furniture. Pour 1 tablespoon vodka into a liquid measuring cup, then pour into a reusable spray bottle. Add 35 drops of essential oil (you can use a combination of scents if desired), then fill the bottle the rest of the bottle with distilled water. Attach the spray bottle lid, and shake to mix well.