Useful, fun and decorative: air-friendly reuse projects
Is it time we banished pungent commercial air-fresheners from our lives?
While some might argue that all the spritzing, spraying, puffing, diffusing and oil-burning is the quickest way to mask stale odours, many people find their overpowering scents irritating rather than soothing. Plug-ins versions waste energy, quietly adding around £5 a year to our energy bills per device. Perhaps more worryingly, commercial household air fresheners have been linked to a range of negative health effects, particularly in children and those who suffer from seasonal allergies, and are proven to actively pollute our household air with nasties such as formaldehyde.
So, what are the natural options for an odour-free home?
Our first go-to is the simplest: get that fresh air circulating as much as possible. Throw those windows wide in the summer and leave trickle vents open or prop windows slightly ajar during the daytime in the winter. The best household smell? Neutral!
Secondly, don’t allow cooking odours and excess moisture to linger indoors. Shut the doors to the rest of the house, then use extractor fans or open windows to ventilate the space until it’s dry and clear again.
If tricky-to-clean items such as leather accessories, suitcase linings, car mats, mattresses and seat pads are troublingly musty... one of the best cures for ingrained smelliness is direct sunlight. Providing you’re not bothered about any potential colour fade, site the offending object somewhere bright with good airflow and within a few hours you should smell the difference.
DIY your own eco-friendly and air-friendly fresheners
Help scrub the air clean of pollutants and fragrance your life without toxins with these naturally-inspired reuse projects for the house and car…
Make a mini vertical garden to help clean indoor air
Reuse an existing frame or pick an appropriately sized one up for pennies at your local car boot or charity shop.
For the underlying box arrangement in which the plants sit, local wood yards and timber merchants will often have ply offcuts available for free or very cheaply.
Remove stale smells with this air-freshener jar
Bicarbonate of soda is a natural odour-eater, so this clever jar reuse combines a dose of powder with a few optional drops of a natural essential oil for immediate smell-busting power.
Pop one of these air-freshener jars by the loo, under the sink, under the stairs or anywhere stale air tends to gather.
Spruce up the car with this hanging felt fragrancer
Natural wool felt is the perfect eco-friendly carrier for a few dabs of essential oil. The surface absorbs the oil rapidly, yet the thick fibres hold the fragrance for weeks. Check eBay or make a request via your local giveaway group to find small pieces of leftover felt from someone’s school or crafting project.
(The festive season is still way off, but imagine using Christmassy oils to infuse DIY felt tree decorations!)