Any time the kitchen or living room reeked in my old apartment (my neighbors smoked in the hallway), I pulled the trigger—of bottled air freshener, that is. My trigger-happy habit lasted until I read this Time magazine article. As it turns out, purchased air fresheners contain unhealthy ingredients that can cause more harm than good. Luckily, it's possible to fight even the nastiest of odors with one of these natural remedies.
When I go a little heavy on the garlic while whipping up dinner, I open up my patio doors and let soft breezes air things out. After all, what could be easier than that?
Plop a bunch of your favorite posies in a vase and let their sweet fragrance waft through the room. Bonus: You'll get a pretty shot of color too.
Sweaty sneakers and musty suitcases don't stand a chance if you stuff them with wads of moisture- and odor-absorbing newspaper.
If you've got a nasty stench coming from your microwave, get rid of it by pouring vanilla extract in a bowl and microwaving it for one minute. To eliminate fridge odors, soak a few cotton balls with vanilla extract.
Lessen the unpleasantness of a freezer failure by leaving a few bowls of coffee grounds in the freezer overnight—it'll put spoiled food smells in their place. (According to this blog post, mixing a few grounds into hand soap can eliminate nasty food odors that reside on your hands. Sweet!)
Whenever my garbage disposal smells funny, I grind leftover lemon or orange peels because it leaves behind a fresh, fruity scent.
Essential plant oils
Dab a few drops of clove, peppermint, or eucalyptus oil on a cool light bulb. When you turn the light on, the heat infuses the room with fresh fragrance. Learn how you can make your own essential oil-based air fresheners here.
The last time I had a mystery smell coming from my dishwasher (after it had been emptied, mind you), I ran a load with 1 cup of baking soda and was greeted with a fresher scent when I opened the door. Baking soda also works wonders if Fido has a little accident on your carpet. Sprinkle a little on your carpet, let it sit overnight to absorb odors, and sweep up as much as possible before vacuuming the rest. Also use it to stop smells in the fridge, trash can, and closet.
For more odor-eating ideas, check out this Reader's Digest article.
Until next time,
The Home Know-it-All