Let’s talk about smells in your house: lingering food smells, old trash, spoiled food in the fridge. It happens! And the smaller the place you live in, the worse some of these smells can be, especially if there is poor ventilation.
I’ve lived in spaces as small as 560 square feet and I can tell you firsthand that the last thing you want to be smelling at night when you go to bed is the remnants of your dinner (fish is the worst!). Not only can some of these odors be unpleasant on the olfactory system, they’re also not good or healthy for you.
You want to be breathing fresh, clean air, not toxic leftover food smells like burnt oils. It can also clog up your nasal passages and make you feel like you have a cold.
At the same time, you may not want to cleanse the air with harsh toxic chemicals that exist in most of today’s conventional air fresheners and cleaning products. Most of these include a variety of artificial scents, some of which you may actually be allergic to!
If all of this sounds like you, keep on reading because I’m going to share a few of the different natural air cleansing remedies I typically use whenever we need to rid our apartment of unpleasant smells.
This is by far my favorite air cleansing tactic and it’s so easy. All you need for this is:
Once you have those ingredients, fill the pot at least halfway water, or full enough that it will boil without spilling over.
Squeeze the equivalent of one full lemon into the pot and add the peels as well. If you want an additional lemony scent, take a second lemon, squeeze the juice separately (keep for your water or cooking) and add the peels. Also, you can skip adding the juice and only add the peels — whatever your preference is.
Next add cinnamon. If using sticks, start with 8-12. If using powder, use 1-2 tablespoons. You can always add more if it’s not potent enough.
Place pot on the burner and turn the stove on to medium-high heat. You want to bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce it to maintain an even simmer for about 20 minutes. I usually set a timer because I end up losing track of time and I don’t want all of the water to evaporate and start burning the peels and cinnamon sticks!
Sit back, relax and breathe in the delicious cinnamon citrus aroma.
This is another highly effective yet easy remedy — it may be the easiest one yet. All you need for this is a sprig or two of fresh rosemary. We are lucky enough to have a plethora of rosemary bushes right outside of our apartment complex, but you can also buy full sprigs in the produce section at your local grocery store. Rosemary smells like Christmas to me. It’s one of my favorite herbs to cook with, too.
Turn on your oven to a very low temp (around 200-250 degrees Fahrenheit) or you can also use the “keep warm” setting if your oven has that.
Place the rosemary sprigs in the oven and let them cook for about 20 minutes, or until the sprigs have dried out. Again, I recommend setting a timer so you don’t overcook them, or worse.
Did you know match smoke is great for neutralizing odors? I didn’t, until I did. If you need to rid your house of a particular odor STAT, you can light a few matches and wave them around for a few seconds.
Why does this work? Well, lighting a match produces sulfur dioxide, which masks certain odors. But beware of that word: masks. It does not actually cleanse the air, like some of these other remedies do. Also, be careful what you “Google” for…
The internet has some pretty interesting (and smelly) use-cases for lit matches. I’ll let you figure it out on your own 🙂
The last option is to diffuse essential oils in your home. Now, this air cleanser requires some special items, so it may not be an option for everyone, as it is not something you can easily “make” but I thought it worth including because it is highly effective and can be good for the mind, body and soul. Essential oils (better known as aromatherapy) have long been used as part of meditation and restorative processes to heal the mind and body. Read up on all of the benefits here.
For this, you’ll need a diffuser, but you can buy them on Amazon for pretty cheap, and good quality. I have the VicTsing 300ml Cool Mist Humidifier Ultrasonic Aroma Essential Oil Diffuser and it only cost about $25, It has adjustable color lighting, and if you don’t want to diffuse scents, you can use it at night as a humidifier. This has been clutch for our move from the east to west coast where the air is significantly drier.
Once you have a diffuser, you’ll need to invest in some essential oils to put in it. This part is important…you want 100 percent therapeutic grade, which means it is a pure extract, not watered down or mixed with other chemicals or additives.
Unfortunately, even if you find oils in the store with the “100 percent therapeutic grade” label, there’s still a chance the actual scent is article and not a pure extract. Womp.
Two brands that I love are Ancient Apothecary (by my homeboy Dr. Axe) and Plant Therapy. I’ve also heard great things about doTERRA essential oils, and I follow that account on Instagram, however, I’ve never bought them because they are quite expensive. On that note, I think a good rule here is the more expensive AND smaller the bottle, the more pure. You get what you pay for.
The most cleansing essential oils are:
You can also combine some of these for an odor crushing elixir. The key is to go for citrus (lemon, orange), wood (tea tree, eucalyptus) or cooling scents (peppermint). These are very potent so you’ll only need to add 1-4 drops to a diffuser.
While I don’t wish bad house smells upon anyone, I do hope that the next time you’re in a stinky situation, that you find these natural remedies helpful.
Do you have other natural air purifying tips and tricks? I’d love to hear from you! Sharing is caring after all.