Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, February 13, 2015

Natural room scents

Do It Yourself

April Sherrill

For as long as I can remember, I have been obsessed with ensuring my home smells nice. I do not aim for an overbearing smell, more like that of a clean, fresh home. The problem is, mine is literally an unhealthy obsession.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), most store-bought air fresheners consist of formaldehyde, petrochemicals, p-dichlorobenzene and aerosol pollutants (source: EPA). The agency’s “Indoor Guide to Air Quality” also notes that air fresheners “release pollutants more or less continuously” (source: EPA).

I find it silly that I continually try to eliminate products that are full of chemicals out of my family’s everyday lives, but I still use store bought aerosol fresheners. So naturally, I set off to find great homemade recipes to freshen my living space. 

I found many great sources to start with a base for recipes. Making your own room scents is quite pleasant and inexpensive depending on which recipe you make. Some of the ingredients can be slightly pricey, but are cheaper than the medical bills later in life we could possibly have from breathing the “freshening” chemicals constantly present in our home. 

I am going to share the top recipes I tried and loved. I wish I had thought about this sooner. I actually had a large whole dill pickle jar that I saved, so I cleaned it up and made a huge batch of my favorite scent so I can just pour and go. 

The first and favorite scent I made consisted of oranges, cinnamon sticks, and whole cloves. This smells amazing and the scent had an incredible staying power, which I loved. It also seemed to move around the different rooms the best. The fragrance traveled nicely throughout all main areas of the home, including the children’s bedrooms. This scent can be reheated and used for a couple of days as well. 

The second scent includes lemon, rosemary, and vanilla. This scent provides a lovely freshness that made me think of fresh, crisp spring air. It truly smelled heavenly. 

The third scent consists of lime, thyme, mint, and vanilla extract. This combination provides a fresh and pleasant scent. The mint extract really makes this aroma quite noticeable. Fresh vanilla bean could be used, which would cost more but would provide an amazing scent. 

The last one I wanted to share was my second favorite. It consists of pine or cedar twigs (I used pine because I was able to get them from behind the house), bay leaves, and whole nutmeg. A whole nutmeg is not necessary; however, I found the scent was fuller than when using ground nutmeg. If a whole nutmeg is used, make sure to grate off the outer surface to release the scent and add the grates to the water. 

All of these scents can be heated in multiple ways. I recommend either using a small crockpot, a pot on the stove, or a wax warmer. The pot on the stove works great. Simply add the ingredients and water into the pot, bring it to a boil, and then allow to simmer. The scent will immediately float through the air and continue until turned off. 

Make sure you watch the water level with any of these methods. The water does not need to boil down where the ingredients start to burn. The next thing you know it will smell like burnt citrus instead of fragrant citrus!

The best part of these homemade fragrances is they will keep in the fridge for 1 to 2 weeks as long as they are uncooked. I have found that they store well in mason jars. 

They can also be stored in the freezer for up to a month. If the freezer option works best for you, make sure to use freezer safe mason jars. 

These recipes are guidelines to use, but everyone’s nose is different. Think about all the wonderful scents and make them to your preferred smell. The recipes can be as fragrant or light as preferred. Add either more or less of the ingredients to find your preference. 

Make it a smell good day!

April Sherrill is a staff writer for the Hamilton County Herald. Contact her at april@dailydata.com.