Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Nose Knows!

Everyone takes pride in their home - it is where we lay our hat, where we welcome friends and where we find sanctuary from the razzle dazzle of our bustling lives.

Be honest though - do you ever wonder about those mystery scents (everybody has them!) coming from under the sink and the shoe cupboard? Luckily we don’t have to be stuck between the musty dog smell or the ancient potpourri of Grandma's house.

After a quick study, we dug up a few tips to help your home smell pretty nice. After all, a fresh smelling house makes it a nicer place to be. It isn't simply about making your house smell better, it’s also about the air you’re breathing. Cleaning the air indoors is just as important as living a healthy life that’s more in sync with nature. So here are some tips to make your home smell fresh and delicious while conserving money, using natural products, and having some fun along the way!

1.Fresh air: this may sound simple, but open a window! Unless you live in sub-zero temperatures, even in winter the windows should be opened for a few minutes each day. Especially in winter, the indoor air can be more polluted than the air outside due to the outgassing of different plastics, paints and surfaces in our homes. So let the air circulate and refresh the oxygen.

2.House plants: our favourite weapon against unclean air. In addition to purifying the air, they make any room feel more alive and cheerful. You can never have enough plants! Keeping plants of all different sizes and types while sticking to the low maintenance varieties are an absolute must for any living space.

3.Odour absorbing miracles: baking soda and vinegar. Most readers will probably have some idea about the powers of these two wonder products. Unpleasant odours in your fridge, closet or bathroom are typically caused by strong acids. Baking soda neutralises odours by balancing the pH levels of the air, and using it can even be pretty! There are plenty of creative DIY baking soda container ideas, so spread them around the house. You can put them in closets, the fridge and freezer, under the sink, shoe cupboards and bathrooms. Just be sure to remember to replace the baking soda every month or so to keep the air fresh. Dislike the smell of vinegar? If you plan to leave the house for a few hours, pour vinegar in a shallow bowl. While you're away the smell of vinegar evaporates, taking much of the unpleasant scent with it by the time you return.

4.Quick fixes: if you’ve got company coming over soon, candles can work wonders. Make sure they’re made from sustainable beeswax or soy wax, which can not only zap away odour particles but also improve the air quality. Lighting these candles in a bowl of cinnamon sticks or coffee beans not only looks beautiful, but the heat from the candle can warm the cinnamon or coffee and give the room a nice aroma. But be sure to avoid paraffin candles because they often do more damage to the environment and add even more nasty chemicals to the air, especially the scented ones!

Another quick fix to have on hand is a spray bottle filled with essential oils to give your house a quick burst of clean scent. As a general rule, the measurement would be 35 drops of your favourite essential oil (we would suggest eucalyptus or sweet basil) for every 500 mL of water. Combine these in a spray bottle and spritz as needed. Essential oils have natural anti-bacterial qualities so they can purify the air and last a long time in the bottle for any quick fix moment.

5.Finally, potpourri: like fashion and hairstyles, the classic potpourri recipes have also been updated and modernised. Life is fast paced and busy, and we don't always have the money to spend on dried flower petals or the time to dry our own. But there are always things in the cupboard and by using some fresh ingredients now and again like leftover herbs, you can make a spontaneous air freshener recipe and breathe happy.

Check out this method: Bring a pot of water to a boil and add the ingredients. Reduce to a simmer and let the aroma fill your house. Simply replenish the water as it evaporates for a heavenly scent around your house. Recipes for summer days are adding fresh basil or rosemary, sliced lemon pieces and bay leaves for a refreshing and rejuvenating smell. Alternatively, fresh mint and ginger with quartered mandarins and limes is another stellar combination. If you have a little more time up your sleeve in winter, slice an apple and orange, and combine in a pot with vanilla extract, cinnamon sticks, whole cloves and some water. Feel free to experiment with what you have in your garden and fridge.

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