Removing Odor Naturally
I'm always surprised at the chemical companies that offer a product for removing odor. They show illustrations of dirty things that smell good, without ever talking about how clean things don't have a bad smell to begin with.
That's not to say there aren't occasions when we need to neutralize odor, but it's about cleaning and freshening up, not "covering up odors", which is what products such as Febreze actually do - they don't remove the molecules causing the odor, just 'trap' it within chemicals so that you can't smell it anymore.
And then, of course, are the dangerous effects of using chemicals in our home. As explained in this article on Febreze, such products contain chemicals that can be linked to everything from cancer to auto-immune disorders.
And think about this: We're not suppose to inhale chemicals, but the entire purpose of air freshners, such as Febreze, is to inhale it in order to smell it!
There is a healthy alternative. Below are the natural ways of removing odor without having to resort to using a dangerous chemical in your home, especially one whose entire purpose is to inhale it.
How To Remove Odors Naturally
The first step in knowing how to remove odors is knowing how to prevent them. Remember, odors are caused by bacteria. And bacteria need damp, dark places to grow. So a big part of removing odor is to remove habits that cause odor. Hanging towel bars to keep them off the floor, drying wet items on a line before throwing them in the hamper and taking out the trash are some more obvious examples. But look for other areas where moisture may collect and fix any leaks or condensation you might find, such as under sinks or with bathroom rugs hat can be hung after showering.
Use these techniques by themselves or mix and match to find what will work for each item.
- Wash It: This is obviously your first step if it can be done. Many things that we don't think we can wash can actually be washed: the covers of throw pillows, large bed spreads (can be taken to the laundromat), and over the covers of couch cushions, for example, can all be put in the washing machine on a gentle cycle or handwashed or spot-cleaned with a mild soap. For non-machine washable items, such as trash cans, washing it out with hot soapy water is still the first step.
- Use Baking Soda: Baking soda is a natural deodorizer. Stick a bowl of it in your fridge to eliminate odor, sprinkle it in work boots, add it to your hot soapy water while cleaning the trash can, soak items in hot water with baking soda or sprinkle it on the carpet for an hour or so before vacuuming (you can even put it down after vacuuming since it won't hurt the carpet).
- Use White Vinegar: Vinegar naturally neurtralizes bacteria that cause odor, so any cleaning shoud be done with vinegar added to the mix.
- Air It Out: Hang blankets from your clothesline, set the smelly shoes outside, or open the windows to bring fresh, clean air into your home.
- Grow Household Plants: Household plants naturally clean the air and can help by removing odor from the air as well. You can also opt for fragrant herbs that can be grown in a sunny window, such as rosemary, lavendar, basil or mint.
- Opt for Natural Materials: Plastic will absorb odors easier than stainless steel utensils or wooden cutting boards, which naturally neutralize odors. (You can even rub your hands on stainless steel to remove odor after cutting onions or garlic!)
- Choose Natural Fragrances: When you would like to bring in some pleasant smells, choose quality essential oils (not to be confused with fragrance oils, which aren't 100% natural) or incense. Create your own air freshner by adding several drops of your favorite oils to a bottle of water and spraying throughout your home. You can also use a diffuser for the oil or even try dropping a single drop on the lightbulb. The purifying essential oil blends have actually been found to remove odors and disinfect the air by removing harmful pathogens. Another option is to hang dried herbs from the garden throughout your home, tucking sachets of them into drawers, closets, shoes, etc.
With a few good habits and some natural alternatives for removing odor you'll never find a need for chemical spray deodorizers.