Cool weather approaches and soon our windows will be shut tight against the cold, so it will be more important than ever to keep our homes smelling clean and fresh. But we donít want to rely on artificial air fresheners: they contain chemicals that can be toxic. Instead, we can use all-natural ingredients to make our homes smell fragrant and inviting.
We offer many fun, inexpensive, luscious-smelling ideas for making your home smell homey, cosy, and sweet, safely. Itís all right here:
Try a Simmering Potpourri
1. Home heating dries out the air, which can lead to sinus problems, dry skin, and more. But this handy air-freshener restores humidity while making your home smell absolutely divine. Just pop a tablespoon or more of ground cinnamon in a pan of simmering water and keep adding water as it boils away.
2. Another variation: 1 cup of apple cider or orange juice added to the water, and ground cloves instead of or in addition to the ground cinnamon.
Essential Oil Fixes
1. Dab a drop of your favorite pure essential oil on a cool light bulb. When you turn on the light, the scent will fill the room.
2. Add 10 drops of your favorite pure essential oil to a spritz bottle filled with water and shake vigorously, then use to spritz furniture and curtains, or simply spray upward in the center of the room. (Make sure the spray doesnít affect the color of fabrics: test a swatch that doesnít show before you try this.)
3. Essential oil added to a bowl of dried flowers, leaves, or seedpods makes a lovely potpourri. When the scent disappears, simply refresh with a few more drops of oil. (Favorite autumn blends include cinnamon, sandalwood, and orange or clove and orange.) Place the bowls at key spots in your home so the fragrance can waft about.
4. A few drops of essential oil added to a bowl of water may be place on a radiator or on top of the fridge, where the warmth will cause the scent to spread nicely.
Herbs, Spices, and more
1. A small dish filled with ground cinnamon will make the surrounding area smell sweet.
2. Some of us like to use a coffee-grinder to grind allspice or cloves before company comes. The fragrance is simply luscious, and the spices can be used in baking or simply placed in a dish.
3. A small dish with pure vanilla extract in it will neutralize unpleasant odors and add a sweet fragrance of its own. (Vanilla is anti-depressant, too.)
4. Try burning smudge sticks or small dishes of sage, thyme, rosemary, or juniper. These are all traditional purifiers, with antimicrobial properties. They also smell lovely when burned. (But do be careful of fire hazards.)
Try burning beeswax candles. Recent research has shown that beeswax candles actually remove impurities from the air, and they add a sweet honey fragrance of their own.
by Cait Johnson, author of Witch in the Kitchen (Inner Traditions, 2001).