So Fresh and So Clean: Four Ways to Freshen Your Air

Make your home smell great with these tips!

New Year, new you, right? But sniff sniff… what’s that smell? Are you still using gross old conventional air fresheners? How very 1998 of you.

Commercial air fresheners can contain a toxic brew of chemicals, including formaldehyde, naphthalene, xylene, phenol, phthalates… the list goes on. Even fresheners labeled as "all natural" or "unscented" typically contain phthalates. None of them have a place in a modern, organically-oriented home.

You might find your home smells fresh and clean on its own after you’ve been using natural cleaning products for a while. For the times when it doesn’t, any of the following approaches will help clear the air.

  • Put bowls of baking soda or vinegar at key spots around your home.

  • Simmer your own air freshener on the stove. Just about anything aromatic works here—try lemons, mint, cloves, or cinnamon sticks. Place in a small pan and cover with water; turn heat on low. Check them every so often so they don’t boil dry.

  • Make a natural air freshener spray. Simply combine about a half cup of water with 30 to 40 drops of your favorite essential oils. Place in a spray bottle and use as desired. Be sure to shake well before using.

  • Add some greenery. Plants are a great way to freshen the air—their leaves, roots and even the microbes in the soil help purify the air as they take in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen. Plants to try include several palms, like Areca, Lady, Dwarf Date, and Bamboo, as well as Rubber Plant, Dracaena, English ivy, Boston fern, and Spider Plant.

Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Organic Living by Eliza Sarasohn and Sonia Weiss

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