Natural Air Fresheners: How to Make Your Home Smell Good

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Toss toxic air fresheners and make your home smell good with safe and natural air fresheners, odor eliminators and room deodorizers. We spill the scent secrets here!

Toss toxic air fresheners and make your home smell good with safe and natural air fresheners, odor eliminators and room deodorizers. We spill the scent secrets here!

There's nothing worse than walking into someone's home only to be hit in the face with the gnarly scent of kitty litter. I am mortified to admit, my house was once one of those homes.

Of course, only my mother was bold enough to tell me my house reeked to the high heavens like a litter box. But, after I got over my initial embarrassment, I was so glad she did.

Matt and I immediately set out on a mission to get rid of the litter box smell, along with any other nasty household odors that might be lingering in the air, like trash (anyone else ever made the mistake of not emptying their trash before they go on vacation?! Blech!), clogged drains (if you smell rotten eggs, this is usually the culprit), mildew, must and smoke.

And even food. As much as I love the smell of bacon or garlic and onions sauteeing away in butter, when a few days have passed and the aromas are still lingering, it's… shall we say, less than pleasant.

Though admittedly, I'd take old bacon over old cat pee any day. Ha!

But I digress…the point is, I wanted our house to smell clean, fresh, pure. The exact opposite of a litter box.

And I wanted to do it naturally. Because, of course, most conventional air fresheners are loaded with toxic chemicals, as we discovered in our Test Drive review on diffusers.

The Truth About Toxic Air Fresheners

For those who need a quick refresher, the most common air freshening techniques usually involve plug-ins, room sprays, air freshening pots and scented candles, nearly all of which have been proven to cause cancer, disrupt our hormones, induce asthma and allergies, irritate our skin AND harm the environment. It's the perfect storm of toxicity and not something I want in my home.

Read More: The Dangers of Store-Bought Air Fresheners

But I knew there had to be some safe, natural air freshening options out there that would make my house smell fresh and clean. And after lots of research, real-time trial and error and testing, I found the holy grail of natural air fresheners.

The answer lies in a combo of storebought appliances, DIY and homemade air fresheners and a few natural products that purify the air, absorb odors, add a subtle, non-toxic scent and keep your house smelling great! Check it out:

Toss toxic air fresheners and make your home smell good with safe and natural air fresheners, odor eliminators and room deodorizers. We spill the scent secrets here!

Cleanse the Air with an Air Purifier

One of the best ways to clean, deodorize and freshen the air in your home is with an air purifier. We splurged for the GermGuardian 3-in-1 Pet Pure Tower, which uses a HEPA Air Purifier system and UV Sanitizer to cleanse the air and reduce odors. I promise you, this thing works! Not only do air purifiers like this one capture allergens, like pet dander, dust mites and pollen, but there's also charcoal air filters (this one has an added antimicrobial agent) that inhibit the growth of mold, mildew and odor-causing bacteria, too! I also liked that the GermGuardian purifier used UV-C light technology with Titanium Dioxide to kill airborne bacteria, viruses, germs and mold spores. This was worth every single penny we spent, and I think it's likely one of the best things we could've done not only for our home, but for our overall health, as well.

Eliminate Odors with Charcoal Air Filters

In addition to the air filter in the above purifier (which I keep in our bedroom, near the bathroom with the litter box), I also wanted to eliminate odors throughout our house. A fairly inexpensive way to do so is with charcoal air filter bags (I recommend Moso Natural), which act like sponges by absorbing excess moisture, thereby preventing mold, mildew and bacteria from forming, along with odors, allergens and harmful pollutants. I love these bags, which are filled with non-toxic, fragrance-free, environmentally-friendly bamboo charcoal. They're small, but powerful and come in a pretty linen bag, so they're not too unsightly to leave out where they can be seen. I have a bag in every room of our house and I've noticed a big difference.

Purify the Air with Plants

What's more natural than using nature to keep your house smelling great? Indoor plants are a fantastic way to purify and naturally freshen the air (many even help remove formaldehyde, which is found in our furniture and household products, and indoor air pollutants) in your home. Some great options include Boston Ferns, Rubber Plants, Peace Lily and Golden Pothos. Great purifying flowers include Florists' Mum, Gerbera Daisies and Tulips. Learn more here. An added benefit of houseplants: they're beautiful to look at and they've been proven to improve mood and reduce stress. Triple threat!

Clean Indoor Air with beeswax candles

Almost everyone I know uses scented candles in their home–I used to use them, too. Until I found out that candles made from paraffin, a petroleum waste product that is a known carcinogen, release toxins into the air that are the equivalent of those found in diesel fuel fumes. Then consider lead candle wicks release five times the amount of lead considered hazardous for children, and I knew I had to make a switch. Now I use 100% pure beeswax candles, which burn with almost no smoke or scent and clean the air by releasing negative ions, which then bind with toxins and common allergens like dust and dander, removing them from the air. They also burn slower (read: last longer!). These tea light beeswax candles are an inexpensive way to use beeswax throughout your home, but if you'd prefer something larger or scented, try Big Dipper or Bee Raw, which use essential oils to add natural aromas.

Deodorize with Essential oil diffusers

Most of the above options are great for cleaning indoor air, reducing allergens and pollutants and absorbing odors. And while having a fresh, pure smelling house is wonderful, sometimes I like an actual scent. This is where essential oil diffusers come in. Most diffusers use high-frequency ultrasonic electrical vibrations, rather than heat, to create an ultra-fine aromatherapy mist that lightly scents the air. They also double as a humidifier. My favorites include the ZAQ Noor Essential Oil Diffuser and the Now Solutions Ultrasonic Real Bamboo Oil Diffuser.

What essential oil brand do I recommend? I love Plant Therapy–their oils are 100% pure, free from any additives, adulterants, or dilutions. Their essential oils come in varieties like synergies, singles, organic, and pre-diluted roll-ons, and their facility is USDA Certified Organic. Their prices are also super reasonable, plus you can get 10% off your order of $50 or more sitewide with the coupon code ROOT10!

BONUS TIPS: Eliminate Pet Odors + Litter Box Smells Naturally

While our two kitties, Scout and Boo, are absolutely adorable, their litter box is decidedly less so. After experimenting with a few different litter boxes, we found success at eliminating most of the odors with a few different products. I recommend using a litter box with a cover (we use this domed litter box) to trap odors. I also add one of the charcoal filter bags right on the top, in addition to the built-in filter pad the litter box comes with. And every few cleanings, we add baking soda to the litter itself to help absorb odors. I also recommend this litter.

Have you tried any of these natural air fresheners? Share your experience in the comments below!

8 thoughts on “Natural Air Fresheners: How to Make Your Home Smell Good”

  1. In response to the question about whether you can smell vinegar left out in bowls, let me tell you my experience. A few years ago, we had the joy (?) of dealing with a skunk who sprayed right outside our bedroom window twice in three nights. I was ready to sell the house and move!

    Instead, first suggestion, leave all your outside lights on to discourage the darn critters from hanging around. Second, against my better judgment, I followed a suggestion to set out bowls of vinegar. There was the faintest scent of vinegar in the air, but it really worked to clear out the skunk scent!  I’d say it’s a great way to diffuse serious odors but probably not something I would want to leave out all the time.

  2. I really like the recommendation to purify the air with plants and to use oils or other forms of fragrance to improve the scent. It makes sense that it could be beneficial to use products designed to improve the smell of a home because it would allow for the most effective solutions. It’s something I’ll have to remember just to make my home that much more comfortable.

    1. Thanks, Tyler. Yes, naturally good smelling items are always going to be better than synthetically produced chemicals. Hope this helps make your home smell great and fresh 🙂

  3. I found that bowls of Vinegar left in rooms, removed odors. especially in my parents house that has been closed up for awhile.

  4. I cook apples, cinnamon and cloves with water on the stove to purify the air and leave a smell of apple pie throughout the house. You basically bring it to a boil and let it simmer on low for hours. I also add orange peels in there sometimes.

    1. Thanks so much for sharing, Claudia! That is such a great idea, and I’m definitely going to try that when the Fall comes. Appreciate the tip 🙂

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Tips for a healthier home

Here are some eco-friendly home care tips for a healthy and green living:
  • Switch your cleaning products to eco-friendly options. You can find many of these in the grocery store and online.
  • Use sustainable materials for furniture, such as wood instead of plastic or metal. This will help create less waste and reduce the amount of natural resources that are used to produce them.
  • Choose lightbulbs with little or no mercury. These not only create less waste but also have an impact on climate change by using less electricity.
  • Plant trees around your property. Trees benefit the environment by providing shade, absorbing carbon dioxide, and purifying the air with their leaves. They also provide fuel for firewood during colder months and a habitat for wildlife. The benefits of planting trees go far beyond what you see right in front of you!

Green cleaning products

One way to make your home more eco-friendly is by switching over to green cleaning products. These products aren’t as harsh on the environment as traditional household cleaners and are less likely to cause allergies or other health issues. Plus, you can find a variety of green cleaning products that work for every type of surface in your home.

Switching to eco-friendly cleaning products

There are many cleaning products that you can use in your home that are environmentally friendly. One of the best ways to start is by switching to eco-friendly cleaning products. Many people don’t know that there are many types of eco-friendly cleaning products on the market today, including laundry detergent and dishwasher soap. A switch to green cleaners can be a simple way to create an environmentally friendly living environment.

Safer and more environmentally friendly ways to clean your home

If you want to make your home safer and more environmentally friendly, then you can switch from using toxic cleaning products to using eco-friendly alternatives. For example, if you want to clean your toilet, then you could use vinegar instead of bleach or other harsh chemicals. Vinegar is a natural disinfectant and deodorizer, so it will do the job without harming the environment. You can also use baking soda as a healthy alternative to many household cleaners. Baking soda is an abrasive cleaner that breaks down dirt and grime; it’s also non-toxic, so it won’t harm people or the environment. It’s also inexpensive, so you can use it liberally without worrying about running out of supply too quickly.

Sustainable living

Most people are more aware of the environment these days and want to do their part to make it a better place. Homeowners and renters alike are doing everything from switching to environmentally friendly cleaning products, to using sustainable materials for furniture. Here are some tips for living an eco-friendly lifestyle in your home:
    • Clean with white vinegar – You can use this as a natural disinfectant that is also eco-friendly. It is also inexpensive and easy on your pipes because you won’t be putting harsh chemicals down the drain.
    • Avoid aerosol cans – Aerosol cans contain harmful chemicals that will release into the air when sprayed. Try switching to an eco-friendly product or find another way to clean.
    • Use reusable napkins – Napkins, paper towels, toilet paper, even facial tissue all come wrapped in paper (or other packaging). Reusable napkins or dish towels will give you one less thing you need to throw away every day!
    • Put up a clothesline – Even if you live in an apartment or condo where putting up a clothesline isn’t possible, there are many ways you can still dry your clothes without using electricity or gas. For example, hang them outside on a sunny day or turn your oven on low heat and hang them from the top rack.

Living with less waste in your home

One of the best ways to reduce your ecological footprint is by reducing the amount of waste that your household produces. Take a look at what you’re throwing away and try to find alternatives.
For example, instead of buying disposable napkins, use cloth napkins that you can throw into the wash. If you need face wipes for removing makeup, consider making them yourself from reusable materials like cotton rounds. And if you want to stop using plastic bags, use canvas bags or have bags made from recycled material. There are many other ideas for eco-friendly alternatives in your home as well.

Sustainable materials for furniture

Did you know that the average American generates over 4 pounds of waste every day? This means that we are throwing away a lot of furniture and other items in our homes. To stop contributing to this problem, it is best to use sustainable materials for furniture. Sustainable materials are made from recycled materials which can be up-cycled into new products. Not only are these items better for the environment, but they also save money because the items will last longer.
Sustainable materials for furniture include:
      • Recycled plastic
      • MDF
      • Plywood
      • Timber reclaimed from old buildings or driftwood
      • Bamboo
      • Faux leather (made from cotton)
The pursuit of a healthy, green and sustainable home is achievable for anyone. It will require more time and effort, but the payoff will be worth it.
Start with the small things. Make a conscious effort to recycle, turn off appliances and lights when you’re not using them, and check your thermostat. It’s easy to get into a routine of living without giving it much thought, but the more you make an effort, the easier it will be to live sustainably.
After you’ve made changes in your everyday life, look for furniture that is made with sustainable materials. You can also buy an eco-friendly houseplant for your home that requires little care.
    1. Tips for a healthier home:
      • Turn off appliances and lights when you’re not using them
      • Check your thermostat
      • Make a conscious effort to recycle
    2. Green cleaning products:
      • Switching to eco-friendly cleaning products
      • Safer and more environmentally friendly ways to clean
      • Sustainable living:
      • Living with less waste in your home
      • Sustainable materials for furniture
  • Sustainable materials for furniture:
    • Consider buying furniture made with sustainable
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