Have you ever gone on a cleaning kick around the house? You go into overdrive and vacuum top to bottom, dust like there’s no tomorrow and maybe even give your windows a long overdue wash. It feels good, right? Then you top it all off with a zesty air freshener. Your house goes from smelling like a bear cave to a field of flowers in about four seconds, and your cleaning mission is complete. Perfect, right?
Not necessarily. If you’re using store-bought aerosol fresheners to create that springtime smell, you may also be spraying two toxic chemicals around your house: benzene and formaldehyde. Both of these chemicals are harmful to humans and animals, and can cause problems such as eye irritation, respiratory trouble and – at higher exposure levels – more serious conditions like cancer.
Luckily, there are plenty of natural air-freshener options that will keep your home smelling just as wonderful without the hidden addition of toxic chemicals.
Here are three of our favorite DIY air freshener recipes:
This is a great seasonal choice for fall and winter. All you need is ginger, lemon juice and a big handful of apple peels. Place your ingredients in a pan and cover them with water. Bring the concoction to a boil and then let it simmer until the water has evaporated.
If you’re looking for something with a bit more kick, mix one ounce of cinnamon sticks with one can whole cloves and one can allspice in a Ziploc bag. Take one teaspoon of the spice blend and mix it with one cup of water on the stove. Let the mixture simmer to create a spicy potpourri.
For an easy, all-purpose air freshener, combine a few drops of vanilla extract with a cup of water and put it in a spray bottle. You can use this anywhere in the house to dispel those funky smells. Tip: Try spraying a little bit of this in your empty vacuum bags – it will freshen up your carpet while you work!