Up until very recently I was a candle fanatic. I love the look, smell, and decor of having candles in and around my home. I'd have several lit at the same time, and had candles as decorations in most of the rooms in our home. Then I did a little research and didn't quite like what I found.
Turns out, both candles and air fresheners contain tons of chemicals and toxins you probably don't want wafting around your home. After reading up a bit, I found several articles and studies that showed air fresheners and candles often contained carcinogens, caused increased difficulties with asthma and reproductive development. While I still have a few candles sitting around the house as decoration, we've slowly phased out most and will eventually phase out all of our candles and air fresheners for these reasons.
But I still want my house to smell pretty, though! Which leads me to my next Tip & Tricks entry:
After deciding that candles and air fresheners were out, I scoured the internet in search of more natural ways to freshen our home, and found a few good techniques. The two that I found to be the best use common items I often have laying around the kitchen: orange peels, cinnamon, and vanilla extract.
The first natural air freshener I use is a combination of the orange peels and cinnamon.
Little man has been on an orange kick for a few weeks, so orange peels are left over almost every day. After peeling an orange, I put the leftover peels into a pot of water with a bunch of cinnamon sprinkled into the pot. Other ladies on the internet recommended cinnamon sticks, but I find the powdered cinnamon to work just as well. I then bring the concoction up to a boil and reduce to a simmer. As long as you have enough water in the pot, you can simmer this for hours of citrusey-cinnamon goodness wafting through your home. It smells so good!
I've heard you can also use lemons and other spices as a simmering air freshener, but I've never personally tried this. Also, with two small babes in the house, I only keep this going when I am in the room and it is only on the back burner where little fingers and hands are unable to reach or touch it.
The second natural air freshener I use is vanilla extract.
I read a few tutorials that recommended putting a few capfuls of vanilla extract into a coffee mug and then heating in the oven at 300 degrees for a bit until it starts to smell lovely. I tried this in our toaster oven, and the vanilla promptly burned into the cup. I don't know if it would have had the same effect in the real oven, but I've found better success by adding a few capfuls of vanilla to a half full coffee mug of water and then heating at 300 degrees.
But again, almost instant amazing smelling house!
What are some other natural ways you bring lovely smells into your home?