Wednesday, June 12, 2019

4 Safe, Chemical-Free Ways to Eliminate Foul Odors

Whether you live with pets, children or you have a bad habit of letting your compost bin overflow just a little more often than you'd like to admit, unpleasant odors have a way of finding their way into the home almost daily!

Eliminate Foul Odors Naturally

When cleaning your house isn't enough to rid the air of odors, many people reach for an aerosol can of air freshener that was designed in a lab.  However, chemical air fresheners are not just problematic for people with respiratory sensitivities; they can be troublesome for everyone and the environment.

Inhaling petro-chemicals, dyes and synthetic perfumes can cause long-term health problems.  Time Magazine has reported that many chemical air fresheners contain phthalates, a type of chemical that can cause cancer.

A safe room mist is actually hard to find on the shelves of the average big box chain store.  Not sure what's ok to use in your home?  The Environmental Working Group has put together a very helpful Guide to Healthy Cleaning so you can review ingredients of common cleaners.

There's no need to expose yourself to unsafe chemicals if you want your home filled with fresh, clean, odor-free air.  Try these 4 effective non-toxic options instead.

1. Decorate with Air-Purifying Plants

Plants add a beautiful touch to any room, but these living things can also purify air!  Back in 1989, NASA and the Associated Landscape Contractors of America discovered that Spathiphyllum - also known as Peace Lilies - were one of the top three plants for removing common household toxins (including ammonia!) from the air.

Some other great natural air purifying plants include Lady Palm (Rhapis excelsa), Snake Plant/Mother-in-Law’s Tongue (Sansevieria trifasciata), Aloe Vera (A. barbadensis), Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema), English Ivy (Hedera helix), Rubber plants (Ficus elastic), Bamboo palms (Chamaedorea seifrizii), Chrysanthemums (Chrysanthemum morifolium), Spider plants (Chlorophytum comosum), Devil’s Ivy/Pothos (Epipremnum aureum), Philodendron, Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata v. Bostoniesis) and Ficus/Weeping Fig (Ficus benjamina).

More fragrant herb-family flowers and stems - even when dried - also work wonders and offer odor neutralizing benefits.  Plants like lavender (of course!), mint, jasmine and rosemary are great choices.  Plus, a live herb in the kitchen serves double-duty by also offering readily-available flavor to add to soups and broths, meats, roasted veggies, desserts and teas.

Consider hanging some dried eucalyptus branches in the bathroom, setting a vase of dried lavender near baby's changing table, or keeping a pot of rosemary or jasmine near the kitchen sink to shew away stenches wafting up from the drain.

Eliminate Foul Kitchen Odors with Lavender      Eliminate Foul Bathroom Odors with Lavender

2. Try Linen Waters and Carpet Deodorizers

The absorbent fabrics we surround ourselves with can readily harbor odors.  Frequent vacuuming and laundering will help carpets, rugs, curtains, throw blankets and pillows, and bathroom and kitchen towels stay odor-free.

To boost the efficacy of cleaning your carpets and upholstery, sprinkle the fabric with a safe household odor absorber like baking soda or, even better Lavender Carpet Freshener, and let it sit for at least ten minutes before vacuuming.  With the latter, the friction and heat of the vacuum cleaner releases the natural oils into the carpet fibers.  These natural oils also discourage common household insects, especially fleas and distribute a fresh fragrance throughout the room.

For machine-dryables, toss in a few wool dryer balls with a couple drops of Organic Lavender Essential Oil on them.  Lavender's natural antibacterial properties and strong fragrance will breathe new life into your fabrics.  You can compound its effects with a douse of Lavender Linen Water on your freshly-laundered items - or use it while ironing!

For items that can't go in the dryer, Lavender Linen Water is still a great alternative to add fragrance.  Spritz your throw pillows and living room upholstery with linen water to perk up the air or place an odor-fighting Organic Lavender Sachet or two in your cupboards and drawers with your tea towels and bath towels.

Laundry and Clothing Care with Lavender

3. Diffuse Some Fragrance-Packed Essential Oils into the Air

We love ultrasonic diffusers because they are highly effective and efficient.  The use of ultrasonic vibrations, rather than heat, means they use less essential oil in a more controlled dispersion than other styles of diffusers.  They are also safe for homes with curious sniffing noses, tiny exploring fingers and generally clumsy folk.

Still, heating essential oils is an effective option and can be oh-so-cozy when there is a chill in the air. For example, you can add fragrance to your living space by burning water-soaked Organic Lavender Stalks in the fireplace.  Or alternately, a large pot filled with water, a few drops of essential oil, some slices of oranges and a few drops of vanilla extract kept on a low simmer will do the trick, as well.

Lavender Home Fragrance

4. Create Movement

When all else fails, make the air flow.

Nothing quite beats the scent of wild air from the great outdoors - remember your last hike and the deep breath you drew in at the top of the trail peak?

Unfortunately we can't bring that sweet aroma home with us (though we can dream!), but you can open adjacent windows and doors to create a natural breeze through the space.  No breeze?  No problem.  Create your own refreshing gale with a few strategically placed fans.

Natural Air Freshening from Pelindaba Lavender

Exhausted by the thought of all this cleaning?  Give yourself a therapeutic home spa treatment and let the bath steam permeate the house with its fragrance.  Move over, potted herbs, now you're doing double-duty.  (And winning points for creativity - you're welcome!)