Scented candles and air fresheners can provide relief from stale winter air — but have you ever wondered is in those fragrances?
According to the American Lung Association, when your house is buttoned up with closed doors and windows during those cold winter months fresh air flow and exchange in your house is reduced. This means that your exposure to indoor air pollutants, from everything to new carpets and furniture to some cleaning products and scented candles, is increased.
Winter is a great time to pay more attention to the products you are using around your home and family. One way to help with this is look for cleaning products and air fresheners that disclose ingredients, including fragrance ingredients, right on the product label. You can also DIY and give your home a fresh start with these uplifting scent experiences:
Instead of scented candles, try a simmer pot
A simmering pot of fruit and spices gives off the same cozy feeling as a candle, and you know exactly what you’re putting in. Plus, you can make one for pennies out of items you already have in your kitchen.
- 1 orange, sliced (or peel from 2-3 oranges)
- 3-4 slices ginger root (or 1 tsp. ground ginger)
Fill a large saucepan or crock pot with water. Add the ingredients and bring to a low simmer. Keep adding water as it evaporates to avoid burning.
Instead of plug-in air freshening devices, try diffusing essential oils
Closed-off areas like closets and bathrooms are especially hard to keep fresh during the colder months. Since essential oils are highly concentrated, it only takes a few drops to make these spaces smell good.
- Cotton balls
- 3 drops lemon essential oil
- 3 drops tea tree essential oil
Place essential oil on a cotton ball. Tuck the cotton ball in a drawer, in the trash can, or pin to the vent in your car.
Tip: Lemon and tea tree oils are great for a clean scent, but you can use any combination of essential oils you like.
Instead of solid air fresheners, try coffee grounds
Research shows that the scent of coffee can give you an energizing jolt without even taking a sip. Plus, this coffee air freshener is a great way to upcycle used coffee grounds.
- 1 cup used coffee grounds
- Small mason jar and lid
- Coffee filter
Let the coffee grounds dry out completely. Pour the coffee grounds into the jar. Place the filter on top and secure with the band from the lid. Poke holes in the filter.
Place the air freshener wherever you need it. When the scent starts to fade, shake the jar to refresh it.
Instead of heavily-scented deodorizing sprays, try baking soda
Throwing the windows open for fresh air isn’t an option in February, but baking soda can help absorb stinky odors. If you prefer to avoid fragrance altogether, leave out the essential oil.
- 1 tbsp. baking soda
- 10-15 drops essential oil (optional)
- 8 oz. spray bottle
Add the baking soda to the bottle and fill to the top with water. If desired, add essential oils. Shake well and spray on carpets or anywhere that needs freshening.
Instead of potpourri, try an herb sachet
This updated herb sachet is anything but old-fashioned. The herbs give off a subtle scent — ideal if you're sensitive to strong smells.
- 1 tbsp. dried lavender flowers
- 1 tbsp. dried mint
- 1 tbsp. dried thyme
- Peel from 1 lemon, dried
- Cloth napkin or small fabric square
Place the herbs and lemon peel in the center of a cloth napkin or small piece of fabric. Grab the corners of the fabric, gather it into a bundle, and tie with the twine.
Tip: You can often find lavender in the spice section of specialty stores or buy it online. Or, add 5-10 drops of lavender essential oil to your sachet instead.