March 23, 2010

Eco-Cleaning: Smelling Good

This is my absolute favorite part of the entire week, teaching you how to make your house smell delicious with the simplest of ingredients. It's also one of the hardest to find photos for, since our sense of smell just doesn't seem to translate well visually. Ah well.

Here's a quick and simple recipe which will use: some of your produce that's past the point of eating, but not the point of redemption, fresh herbs, fresh flowers from your garden (or just go for a walk and take a few here and there, like I do), and a few spices you'll likely have in your spice cabinet.
  • The simplest variation on this recipe is a starting point - you'll find what you love as you play around with it; but do start here so you get the idea: citrus peel, cloves, cinnamon sticks, 1-2 twigs of fresh rosemary, and perhaps the petals from a fragrant rosebud. Toss into your smallest saucepan with water, and bring to a simmer on the stove. Replenish water as necessary. Should last approximately 6 hours for a 1500+ sq.ft house (even with the windows open!)

  • If you aren't going to be around the house for a while, but you've just got some lingering smells - like in the bathroom - or maybe the kitchen after a particularly smoky, meaty meal, than I suggest an odor capturing Fragrance Spritz: 8 oz spray bottle filled with distilled white vinegar and 30 drops of your favorite organic essential oil. Since we aren't trying to kill germs here - and we're just trying to make the place smell lovely, feel free to go CRAZY and choose an essential oil that truly appeals to your sense of smell. I'm a huge fan of Ylang Ylang, it makes everything smell better. *Bonus: it's antiseptic as well! Oh, and in case you were thinking, "But now my whole house is going to smell like vinegar!" - it won't - the vinegar smell dissipates in about twenty minutes, and the essential oil sticks around. That goes for all the cleaning solutions as well. 
  • And here's a bonus for freshening up your car without that awful dangling cardboard tree: In a small jar, soak a cotton ball or two with the essential oil of your choice. Place the jar under the seat of the car (no lid). When the scent wears off - the cotton ball has dried off. Just repeat with a new cotton ball. No more pine-scented parabens making their way through your car.
And a quick product plug from my Etsy shop, if you'd like to try my Simmer Sachets, please take a look - they are made on the premise of the first recipe I've shared with you; but I've been doing this for a while, and they are heavenly.

Finally, a word about the big "why" as to making the change to these forms of air fresheners vs. incense, scented candles, plug-ins, air-sprays, etc.: 
  • Incense smell lovely - particularly the Japanese ones. I used to be quite the fan, until I found out all that smoke was also packed with resin. I just didn't want that for my lungs or Marley's developing lungs. I have missed you lovely Japanese incense, I really have.
  • Scented candles, those little diffusers with the tea lights and the yummy "fragrances", plug-ins, and air-sprays all have one thing in common - synthetic fragrances. Synthetic fragrances, just like perfumes, include dangerous chemicals to achieve the fragrance - which have been linked to allergies and asthma. For more information on "Fragrance", see this link.


Renai said...

I just started using mulling spices and on-the-verge oranges in a pot of water on the stove as an air freshener about two weeks ago! I read your post last night and went "SEE SEE SEE!" to my boyfriend who still thinks I'm a little kooky.

flora said...

Hey there.
I'm commenting, since you made that post about people not giving you feedback this week...
Actually I never came to you blog before, and I found it today, linked in onepearlbutton(

I'm a 22 year-old, living by myself since 19, and although I'm already used to keep the house tidy, the whole eco-clening thing is quite new (and awsome) to me.
I first saw it in a while ago and got charmed.

So, this was to say thank you.


Tara said...

thank you so much ladies! i really appreciate you sharing your experiences with me (and letting me know you're still out there)!

For a great spring-time smell - try pear, basil, and cardamom seed pods with some orange peel. Holy freshness! mmmmmmm.....