DIY Natural Air Freshener

Got a house full of musty winter air? Rather than pull out the store-bought scented candles or those cloying “air fresheners” that pollute your indoor air with phthalates (synthetic-fragrance ingredients that, researchers are finding, interfere with reproductive hormones and even promote childhood obesity), head to your kitchen.

This recipe for an all-natural air freshener is as organic as you want them to be, and can be made in virtually no time!

Simmering Potpourri

The herbs, spices, teas, and flavoring extracts in your cabinets are the easiest, fastest fix for musty air. It’s also a great use for spices that are a little old and have lost their flavor, and for kitchen scraps like orange peels that would otherwise get tossed.

Here are a few suggested kitchen cabinet blends to get you started, but feel free to experiment with what you have on hand that suits your nose.

1-inch section of cinnamon stick, broken, or 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon whole or ground cloves

1 teaspoon whole or ground allspice

Peel of 1 lemon and 1 orange

1 bay leaf, crumbled

1 teaspoon freshly grated gingerroot or ground ginger

The last apple no one will eat because it’s gotten mealy or wrinkled, chopped

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ cup dried mint, rosemary, thyme, and/or sage

In a saucepan, place your selection of ingredients in at least 2 cups of water, bring the water to a boil, and turn the burner down to ultra-low so the fragrant steam will be released slowly over a long period (add water as needed so the pot doesn’t burn dry). Or pour the hot mixture into a small slow cooker or a fondue pot over a candle.

If the mixture is still fragrant when you need to leave or it’s time for bed, pour it into a jar with a lid and keep it in the fridge for up to two weeks. The fragrance will reignite whenever you simmer it again. Once the fragrance has all been released, dump the dregs into the compost.

More simmering options: Buy (or harvest from your garden and dry) fragrant rosebuds or petals, lavender flowers, fragrant evergreen needles (these work fresh too), or other fragrant natural materials and use them in your simmer pot.

You can also buy pure essential oils and add a few drops to your simmering water, but I prefer to use them—especially the more delicate ones—in a diffuser that doesn’t expose them to heat.


One Response to “DIY Natural Air Freshener”
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