365 Simple #25 – Simple Home Deodorizers

Slide1Did you ever see those commercials for Febreeze where the person is lying on the floor with his/her nose in the carpet?  There is a look of utter bliss on their faces while their noses are buried deep into the plush pile.

Am I the only one that was grossed out by those commercials?  Carpet is full of dirt, dust, dust mites, animal hair, human hair, animal skin cells, human skin cells and everything that animals and humans have stepped in outdoors and brought onto the indoor carpet!  If those carpets were stinky then spraying them with chemicals won’t change the fact that the carpets are dirty and need cleaning!  I always hoped those people had a forest of nose hairs to catch all of the ugly stuff they were vacuuming up their nostrils and into their nasal cavities.  Blech and double blech!

Have you ever walked into your house and been punched in the nose by the smell of last night’s dinner still lingering around?  That happened to me yesterday.  I hadn’t been home for dinner, but when I walked into the hallway from the garage I knew exactly what had been on the menu.  While lamb chops are one of my favorite dishes to eat hot off the griddle, the greasy pungent smell of lamb is pretty nauseating several hours after the fact!  Do we need to even discuss cat box odors, boiled cabbage, or dirty diapers?  Yeah, my nose is wrinkling just thinking about those scents.

I do not like having chemicals sprayed in my home.  Have you figured that out already?  I am super duper sensitive to chemicals due to the immediate affect they have on me.  I feel nauseous and get headaches very quickly, especially with smells like diesel fuel, gasoline, paint thinner, and bug spray.  My mom is in love with stainless steel cleaner and I have to leave the kitchen when she whips out the can to polish the stove top (I’ve found that cooking oil or my homemade olive oil/beeswax polish works just as well, but…..oh well, she’s 93 and still has severe doubts about all of my DIY products – pick your battles people, pick your battles).  If I am immediately affected in such a harsh way it makes me wonder if there are long-term effects from exposure to every day chemical-laden cleaning products.  Hmmmm, wanna bet the answer is yes?

So this morning I Googled homemade home deodorizers and I found a great website called Clean My Space (cleanmyspace.com).  She has a great article on natural home deodorizers that you can see here.  I thought I’d try a few out for you and see which ones actually work!  Remember, just because you read it on the internet doesn’t make it true, except for here, of course (wink, wink).

My first attempt at DIY home deodorizer was an easy one I saw in a pingback to a previous article in the comments section of the webpage you link to above.  The recipe called for 1 tsp baking soda to 1 cup water.  Add 10 drops of a favorite essential oil.  Put in spray bottle and spray as if it was Febreeze.   Um, it was okay temporarily, but it didn’t do anything for that lingering greasy meat smell.

I then tried the spray with 3 parts water to 1 part vodka and 10-20 drops of essential oil.  I didn’t have vodka, but I did a search on the top shelf of my pantry and found an old, forgotten bottle of rum that I bought years ago for a rum cake recipe. (I figured clear alcohol with little scent is pretty much the same, whether rum, vodka, or even tequila.  I know that’s the case when making your own vanilla extract.)   Much better, but still it was just a very temporary solution.  It would be great in a bathroom though and would replace those cans of air freshener that aren’t very fresh and can be harmful if ingested or sprayed in the eyes – just read the warnings on the label!

It was time to pull out the big guns and assemble some ingredients to simmer in a pan on my stovetop.  I love Fall and all the wonderful spicy smells associated with pumpkins and apples and baked goodies.  I decided to go with the Gingerbread recipe.  Except I didn’t have any cinnamon sticks.  Drat!  I looked over the recipes again and chose the William-Sonoma recipe which called for 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary (I have that growing wild), a teaspoon of vanilla extract, and one sliced lemon.  I put all of the ingredients in a saucepan, filled it 3/4 full of water and set it to boiling.  When it came to a boil I turned it down to a simmer.  Soon my kitchen smelled amazing!  The rosemary was very pungent, though.  I had to turn it down to a very low simmer.

Rosemary lemon & vanilla.  Its even pretty to look at!
Rosemary lemon & vanilla. Its even pretty to look at!

The real test was to see if the smell would permeate down the hallway and overcome or negate last night’s lamb.  Just so you know, I have no windows in the hallway.  In fact, since our apartment is cut into the side of a hill there are no windows at all on one entire side, I mean who wants a view of dirt, right?  The bedrooms are off of the hallway that leads to the garage.  No airflow whatsoever.

I let the ingredients in the saucepan simmer for about 3 hours then turned off the heat and let it sit while I was out to dinner (yes, two nights in a row!).  Upon opening the door from the garage my nose was immediately assaulted with……………………………………wait for it …………………………………………..nothing!  There was no overpowering scent of rosemary and lemon.  But, and most importantly, there was no lingering odor of greasy meat either.  I’d say that’s a win!

Oh, and before I forget, I was simultaneously simmering some chicken for use in a recipe tomorrow.  At first the boiled chicken smell was revolting, but soon the smell of the simmering herbs and citrus took over and my kitchen was singing an Italian aria worthy of the late, great Pavarotti himself.  Translation:  It smelled molto buona!  Very, very good!

I don’t mind having an attractive pot sitting on my back burner during times of cooking stinking food.  Even the most minimalistic among us would agree that stink does not enhance a minimalistic experience and that one can endure having a pot out during the day if the end results are so darn great smelling.  So take a gander at Clean My Space’s list of ingredients and make your own sweet smelling home deodorizer.  It really is very simple.


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