I do love buying candles (especially during that financially dangerous time of year between Halloween and Christmas), but I’d go bankrupt if I bought every single candle or scented wax contraption I found attractive. Also, I know many of my customers in NYC can’t even light candles due to policies in their apartment complexes. So I’ve complied this list of more affordable and more innovative ways to make your home smell much better without having to use pricey sprays or devices. These are some of the top hacks I’ve tried: Some will introduce a new great scent, and others will take away bad scents.
Infuse Better Scents With Simmer Pots
Once upon a time, this practice used to be far more common. I remember seeing these a lot as a kid. All it involves is putting a small saucepan or pot on the stove, placing ingredients in it, and then letting it warm (or simmer, hence the name) and infuse the whole house with a nice smell. It’s one of the things grandmothers like to do around the holiday season, but it seems like it could be coming back in style. During the summer months, you can mix rosemary and lemon to deodorize your house. During the winter, mix cinnamon sticks, orange peels, bay leaves, a handful of pine needles, and cloves for an amazing Christmas-like smell. (Just be sure to remind your guests that that pot is not for eating or drinking. It’s almost gotten me into a lot of trouble.)
Use the Pure Power of Baking Soda
Baking soda is magical. It is the deodorizer and can make just about anything stop smelling bad. As I’ve pointed out on my blog before, you can sprinkle it on a carpet or bit of furniture and then vacuum it up for a deeper clean and a better smell. Some people have taken to leaving it cooking in a slow cooker all day so it can suck up the bad smell of an entire room.
Hack Fans or Air Filters to Blow Your Favorite Scent Around
Put nice-smelling dryer sheets on top of your fan. You can also add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to your air filter. It will blow around your favorite scent for a few weeks.
Make a DIY Spray
I’ve seen a bunch of recipes for this and have tried a handful of them. Simply mixing some essential oils with water works perfectly fine. I also like this recipe; it mixes lime juice, water, and the all-powerful baking soda.
Use the Best Part of Waking Up
Coffee beans offer a cute way to decorate, and they also can infuse your home with a fresh scent. Get a plain glass container (almost any shape will work here) and put whole coffee beans in it. For added power, put a tea light in it. When the light is lit, it will warm the beans.
Sew Simple Sachets
Here’s another thing that fell out of style and is gaining steam again: sachets. I’ve made some, and I like to leave them around in my dresser or closet. Some people put them in their shoe rack, which is a good idea, too. Fill a small cloth bag with whatever herb you like. I tend to just mix rice with a few drops of essential oils. Sewing these things is pretty easy.
Create Smudge Sticks
Smudge sticks tend to have a spiritual component. They’re for basically smudging out bad spirits from the home. But for a humble cleaner who tends to follow his nose, they just infuse the home with a great smell. Just bundle rosemary and sage together into a stick using string, then either hang it up or burn it for a smell so good it’ll chase away spirits (spirits of stink)!
Hang Eucalyptus in Your Shower
This trick has been circulating online for a while, but it works! Hang a bundle of fresh or dried eucalyptus from your showerhead. It’s like a menthol tablet for your bathroom.
Make Your Own Potpourri
Mix dried lavender and rose petals. Sometimes, potpourri is that easy. A cheaper alternative might include bringing in fresh pine cones and arranging them artfully in a bowl.
Desperate Times, Desperate Measures: Use Vinegar
For when your house is incredibly stinky, leaving out a bowl of vinegar can suck the smell out. It’s super-powerful for when you’re in a bad-smelling situation. It also stinks itself, so don’t do this right before friends come over, please.
Target Your Worst Offenders With Cat Litter
Some places in the home naturally become horribly stinky over time. Leaving out fresh cat litter might seem a bit strange if you don’t have a cat, but it works just as well as baking soda. Put some in a sock and then put it in your mud room or with your stinky shoes.
Use the Cheapest Hack Ever
Something that works as well as baking soda and cat litter is something that might be hanging around your house as garbage: newspaper. Crumple up newspaper in balls and stuff them in your most stinky containers to get bad smells to go away.