Thursday, January 21, 2010

Freshen up your home...naturally

We all know aerosol sprays aren't the best for the environment or our health. And plug-in fresheners are not only a waste of electricity, but, according to a firefighter friend of mine, are also the cause of electrical fires that travel behind your walls. Most room fresheners are full of chemicals we could do without.

So I thought it would be nice to pass along some hints for naturally freshening your home.

As I've said before, houseplants are an essential. I recently read that every tree releases enough oxygen into the air for two people. In the same way, there are many plants that can seriously improve your indoor air quality. Formaldehyde is one of the worst household culprits, linked to severe headaches and problems with breathing.

According to NASA, an average home should have 15 houseplants dispersed throughout the rooms to combat the most common indoor culprits: trichloroethylene, formaldehyde and benzene. Plants produce oxygen, add moisture in the air and suck up the harmful chemicals residing in your home.

I've listed the best plants in a previous post, but here's another list for you:

Areca palm
Bamboo palm
Boston fern
Chinese evergreen
Dwarf date palm
English ivy
Florist's mum
Gerbera daisy
Indoor dracaenas
Moth orchid
Snake plant
Spider plants

Okay, you may be thinking, plants serve a purpose, but they don't smell as good as a Glade air freshener.

Fair enough. When you're looking for a quick fix, try soaking some cotton balls in vanilla extract (go with the imitation vanilla for an economical solution), or an essential oil. Arrange the cotton in the bottom of a decorative vase of a pretty bowl.

While this next suggestion does involve the use of electricity or gas, simmering some cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and or other herbs in a pot of water does wonders. Add some essential oils for an extra kick.

You can still use a air freshener spray by making your own green concoction. Try mixing equal parts of lemon juice and water in a spray bottle and spritz it around as needed.

Those who know me, know that I'm a candle fanatic. While that might not be the greenest solution, I love the soft glow of candlelight. Lightly scented ones are my favorite, as stronger scents tend to send me into a good asthma attack.

Nicely scented homes are important to us -- emotionally and physically.

If you have any other suggestions for green alternatives to commercial air fresheners, please post a comment. I look forward to discovering more ways to make my home more inviting to my family and friends.

Keeping it green,



  1. A citrus plant/tree would add a nice light aroma. Plus, you could take shavings from the little fruits that grow off them to boil or use in your own way to create a stronger scent.


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