Household odors

In the past twenty years consumers have been inundated from shiny, media-driven ad campaigns, to FEAR odors. I guarantee if you sit down and watch 30 minutes of TV, you will see everything from odor controlling garbage bags, aerosol room sprays, to contraptions that emit froo froo smells every time it senses movement. The ads are intriguing and meant to play on all sorts of emotions-A HAPPY home smells good, A well organized home isn’t complete without vanilla apples, (and my favorite,) What must your neighbors think! So for 25 seconds you watch an over joyed housewife running through the bedrooms, to family rooms destroying all evil odors.

Air fresheners

What most of you don’t realize is these marketing gurus are carving out a money train, putting the fear of odor in your brain, that must be replenished every thirty to sixty days, Cha-Ching! Kinda like those prescription drug ads: Does your house have dirty socks? How about a trash can? Does your kitchen smell like food?….OMG! They are talking about me, I have that! So you run out and buy up every apple cinnamon air freshener on the shelf. The good news is your home will now smell like cinnamon apple dirty socks, and kitchen trash! yummmm!

Commercial air fresheners are toxic. They contaminate the air and have major health hazards thanks to petroleum distillates, chlorinated hydrocarbons, ketones and other dangerous solvents. Some will deaden unwanted odors but as Carla Emery states in her book, Country Living, “most are designed to deal with you.” Air fresheners basically mask natural odors by overpowering them with highly concentrated commercial chemicals, or worse designed to COAT your nasal passages with an oily film to impair your ability to smell. Some even consist of nerve-deadening agents called phthalates, that attack your nasal passages so you may not be able to smell that cat box, but your guests can. Phthalates are starting to be phased out of the US and Canada thanks to birth defects, infertility and being carcinogenic. Not to mention the Center for Disease Control did a test on numerous women of child bearing age and found 7 different types of phthalates in their urine….but that was in 2006 and you can still buy apple cinnamon and a myriad of other flavors at your local market.

The Solution:

Instead of buying the commercially driven, air freshener death wish, opt for a homemade, DIY, environmentally safe option instead.

Air freshener alternative

What you’ll need:

1C vodka or isopropyl alcohol

1C water

1 Spray bottle

essential oil or oils of your preference

I always make my DIY linen and room sprays with vodka because it is one of the most prevalent ingredients at the Gates Interior Design office, and at home…but isopropyl alcohol works too! In a large container mix all the ingredients together and add in your essential oils last. Gently shake or stir the ingredients. With a funnel pour what you’ll need into a small 2 or 3 oz bottle and keep the remainder in an air tight container in a dry cool place. Will keep up to two years if stored properly.

Simple and easy to make, safe for you and the environment.

images: Debbie Atwood, Time health,

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