Now that your house has been sealed up against the elements for a few months, you may be looking for ways to spruce up that stale air smell. Be wary of conventional air fresheners, sprays, and heavily scented cleaning products, since many of these contain harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that break down into nasty things such as formaldehyde, benzenes, and trichloroethylene.
Lucky for us, a variety of chemical free ways to improve your indoor air exist. I will focus on what is available now in the month of February.
1) Drying herbs and eucalyptus:
I love going to a florist or even the florist section at Safeway and asking for a large bunch of fresh eucalyptus branches. I place these in a vase without water and allow them to dry out. The eucalyptus branches will give of a revitalizing, fresh scent for up to two-three months after they dry.
You can do similar things with rosemary sprigs if you happen to have access to a live plant this time of year, or buy a small box of fresh rosemary at the store and place these small cuttings in small, decorative vases around the home.
2) Essential Oil Air Spritzers: Essential oils are fragrant, highly concentrated natural oils from plants. They are often made from a variety of distillation processes. They provide a safe alternative to chemical air fresheners.
Good essential oils are sometimes expensive and depends on how expensive the plant itself is to distill into an essential oil. I recommend slowly building up your essential oil collection to avoid sticker shock or buyer’s remorse. Stick to just a couple your first purchase and expand from there.
The basic recipe: It is easy to create a spritzer with essential oils and water. First, you need to get a few decent spritzer bottles pictured here:
Next, add 4-6 drops of your favorite oil or 4-6 drops of a few different oils, and fill the remainder with water, shake and you are ready to spritz!
Some of my favorite blends:
- Rose essential oil mixed with ginger essential oil.
- Geranium essential oil mixed with rose and/or lavender
- Eucalyptus with lemon grass essential oils
- And of course, just single essential oils in a spritzer.
My favorites may not be yours, so I encourage you to play around in the essential oil section of your local grocery store or health store and find your favorite oils and pairings of oils. There really are endless possibilities.
3) Winter potpourri
You can place small bowls or jars of aromatic, dry and drying herbs around the house, such as mixtures of cloves, orange, tangerine or grapefruit peel, and cinnamon sticks. A drying rosemary sprig with clove would also be a nice blend. If you feel like spending the money, using a vanilla pod in your mix can add that longed-for sweet scent. If you have any other recipes for winter-available potpourri feel free to post them in the comments section.