Want to keep your home smelling awesome but not a fan of chemical air sprays? Take a look at these healthy, non-toxic odor control ideas.
I do a lot of cooking with pungent ingredients like garlic and onions; I also have a cat who, while very clean, still makes a stink when she hits the litter box (cats are tiny creatures with an extremely effective waste elimination system–that’s why they smell so strong!). This wouldn’t bother me overall, but my partner is especially sensitive to smells, and so I have to keep the house as fresh as possible without all the artificial scents in air sprays, because he also has asthma.
So, what to do to keep his nose happy and my home smelling clean? Let’s have a look at some natural, non-toxic and cheap ways to reduce or eliminate odors.
Good old baking soda
There’s a reason why baking soda is an odor-busting staple. It works.
And it works better than just in your fridge, although it is more effective in closed places.
If your town has a composting program, spray a little baking soda at the bottom of your bin every time you clean it. It’ll help reduce the smell while you wait for the next pick-up. Do the same with your trash can, if you don’t compost.
Smart cat owners also add baking soda to the litter box every time they top it up. Although my wheat litter does a great job of sealing cat smells, baking soda still helps a lot.
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I don’t drink coffee, but if I did, I would use the grounds as a way to control odors in small, dry places like cupboards, the bag of onions or even clothes drawers.
If you’ve ever been to a perfume counter, you might have noticed the jars of coffee hanging around. Coffee grounds neutralize 0dor particles, so you can smell each perfume with a fresh nose. They also neutralize strong odors in the air.
Every morning, let your coffee grounds dry, and then put them in small fabric bags, the kind you would use for pot-pourri, for example. As long as the space is dry (to avoid mold), your coffee grounds will help keep odors at bay for a while.
An old trick I’ve learned from my partner for removing odors from plastic tupperwares is to let them soak with a vinegar-water mixture. It works wonders!
Well, vinegar and water can also be an efficient (and super cheap) way to replace artificial odor sprays. Vinegar doesn’t leave a vinegary smell; on the contrary, after spraying a little bit of vinegar and water in the air, the room will smell fresh and clean.
If you do enjoy floral smells in the air, all you need is a few drops of essential oil in the bottle before you spray. Bonus: you can build your own scent with a combination of oils! (And let’s not forget the many benefit of essential oils and aromatherapy.)
Charcoal and volcanic rocks
Some minerals have natural scent-busting properties. Volcanic rock and charcoal are two well-known smell control items you can use safely in your home.
Put volcanic rocks at the bottom of the litter box or the trash can to control nasty smells; leave them outside in the sun once in a while to renew their properties. They’re cheap and practical!
Charcoal is an effective odor controller and toxin filter; hospitals use it to remove toxins that patients have ingested, and it’s the main item in human and pet water filters. Charcoal is also inexpensive, and some companies actually sell charcoal for odor control use by sculpting it into beautiful shapes for display on counters and in fridges.
Even though you can control odors with all these natural, non-toxic products, my favourite way to freshen up the home is to just open a window. Not only do you get a nice burst of fresh air (the air inside your home is more toxic than the air outside), but the smells tend to just.. fly away.
How do you control smells?
Are you an avid user of natural odor control solutions? Got any other tips for our health and toxin-conscious readers? Let us know your techniques and favourite products in the comments!