Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Bad Cook's 9 Best Homemade Air Fresheners

As I said my previous post, I am not a good cook, which is why my husband has dubbed me Salmonella Sally. Yeah, real supportive, Dear. Anyway, because of my tendency to use the smoke alarm as a dinner bell, I've become somewhat creative at masking the smell of burned food. Why buy air fresheners, which contain oodles of chemicals, when you can make your own with a minimum amount of effort at a fraction of the cost?

Now, some websites will tell you to simmer a mixture of fruits and seasonings on the stove. I've got enough to remember without thinking about something new on the stove. And, honestly, with my luck, I'll burn the air freshener which is trying to mask the odor of burned food and then have to mask the odor of the burned air freshener. I am, therefore, eschewing anything you have to actively watch in favor of less, shall we say, active recipes. This includes scented candles, which are particularly attractive to our very curious feline, and using the crock pot for simmering scents; sorry, but my crock pot is too busy feeding the family to be used as an air freshener.

So now, dear reader, I present (drumroll, please): The Bad Cook's 9 Best Homemade Air Fresheners.  I've divided them up into two categories:  room sprays and non-sprays.  Please remember to always keep any kind of air freshener away from small children and label the bottles/jars so you know what's in them.  

Room Sprays 

Recipe 1: Combine 1 teaspoon each of baking soda and lemon juice with 2 cups of water. This mixture will fizz a bit; when it's done, stir it well and pour into a spray bottle that sprays a fine mist. Spray smelly areas two or three times a day. This is my favorite air freshener for when I've burned something and company is coming. I keep a bottle of this near the cat's litter box and spray it every time I see Cossette leave her “potty.” Another benefit: spray this before someone comes in and they'll think you've cleaned the house! That's especially true if you substitute pine oil for the lemon juice.

Recipe 2: Add 10 to 20 drops of essential oil (use one or a combo of two or three) to a clean spray bottle that's filled with 3 parts of water to 1 part of cheap vodka. Apparently the ethanol in the vodka dilutes the oil to make it easier to spray. Great for bathrooms, bedrooms, and for gatherings in which you've served chili.


1. Fill a container with plain white rice (not instant) and add a few drops of oil.
2. Fill several small dishes with white vinegar or coffee grounds. Yep – that's it. Leave it overnight.  This works really well when you've burned microwave popcorn or for especially pungent odors.  
3. Use foam peanuts and add a few drops of essential oil or spray with remnants of perfume. Even better, the next time you're served coffee in those styrofoam cups, shred the cup, put the pieces in a clean jar, add oil, and use it as an air freshener.
4. Place a few cotton balls in a bowl and add essential oils.
5. Buy sprigs of eucalyptus and place in vases around the house.
6. Grab some cheap felt from the craft store, cut into shapes (heart, flowers) and poke a hole through; then add a ribbon (so you can hang it) and add a few drops of oil. Great for the house, in the porch, closet, or in the car.
7. Fill a dish or clean jar with ¼ of a cup of baking soda and add 8 or so drops of essential oil. If you're using a jar, poke a few holes in the lid to release the smell.

Lastly, I've seen tutorials on making your home smell fresh by putting vanilla extra or oil on light bulbs but, honestly, I'm not sure either method is 100% safe; somehow, putting something on a piece of glass that gets hot just doesn't feel right to me. And there are ways to make homemade gel air fresheners. I didn't include them here because, after all, I am the Lazy Mom and, in my humble opinion, they require too much effort. However, here's a great “how to” should you feel so inclined:

People form a first impression of you based on their sensory experience and that includes smell. Plus, there's something nice about coming home to a house that smells pleasant and not like last night's fish dinner. I hope the ideas above help make your surroundings far more pleasing to your nose!  Happy sniffing! 


As always, thanks for reading! Please check back in with me in a day or two for Chinese New Year craft ideas!

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