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Natural +healthy ways to make your home smell better

The EPA announced that indoor air can be 100 times more polluted than the air we breathe outdoors. Improve indoor air quality with these green odor-eliminating tips.

Essential oils

“The best non-toxic, green way to scent one’s home is with essential oils,” says Jacquelyn Ramsey, founder of WoodSprite Organic Body. “They can be used in a heated diffuser or a passive diffuser (which does not use heat).”

Meg Roberts, president of the Molly Maid cleaning franchise, dabs cool light bulbs with scented oil. Try jasmine, eucalyptus, sandalwood, tea tree or patchouli.

light bulb with plant

Image: Getty Images

Plants and flowers

“You can naturally scent a home by growing aromatic herbs indoors,” says Ramsey. Consider basil, bergamot, catmint, fennel, hyssop and sage.

“I have a rosemary plant in one corner of the living room and another on the lanai,” says writer Cynthia Fabian. “My clean home smells even cleaner.” Fabian also dries small pieces of the rosemary to use as incense.

rosemary plant

Image: Getty Images

Fragrant, fresh-cut flowers (“hopefully organically grown,” says Ramsey) are always a good idea. Fabian takes one stem for her bedroom, one for her bathroom and another for the guest room. For a potent scent, try roses, lilacs, lavender, peonies or hyacinths.

red rose in vase

Image: Getty Images

All-natural room sprays

Rather than mask unpleasant smells artificially, look for products that break down and remove the odor-causing molecules naturally. Natural HomeLogic products are 100 percent plant- and mineral-based. The Odor Eliminator Spray in Jasmine Mist or Citrus Grove eliminates odors without sulfate, phthalates, chlorine, bleach or formaldehyde. (, $8)

natural homelogic room spray


Fabian lives in Florida, where she has to deal with moldy, musty smells. “I use a lot of vinegar to freshen the entire house, without chemicals,” says Fabian. Vinegar is a magical odor eliminator — find 20 genius uses for vinegar here.

vinegar cleaner

Image: Getty Images


Elaine Kollaja provides fabulous home tips on her blog FixitStageitSellit and recently wrote about using just two lemons to clean the microwave, dishwasher and garbage disposal:

  • Squeeze the juice of the lemons into a glass bowl and microwave for one minute. Leave the door shut for five minutes, then remove the bowl and wipe the microwave with a soft cloth. Dried-on foods come right off.
  • Now, pour that lemon juice into a dishwasher-safe mug. Place the mug upright in the bottom rack of the empty dishwasher, and run the dishwasher through a hot-water rinse cycle. Clean and lemony-fresh!
  • Cut the leftover lemon rinds into small wedges and drop them into the garbage disposal, followed by 1/2 cup baking soda. Let sit for five minutes. Turn on the water and run the disposal for one minute to let the citrusy rinds do their magic. Clean and fresh smelling!

two lemons

Image: Getty Images


For instant coziness, Roberts likes to sprinkle fresh coffee beans into a plate or bowl and top off with a vanilla candle. Smells good enough to drink!

Bonus: “Not only do the coffee beans add a glorious, natural bouquet to the room, they also absorb existing household smells, like the dog or last night’s burnt dinner,” says Robin H-C, author of Life’s in Session.

coffee beans in bowl

Image: Getty Images

Vanilla and cinnamon

Two of the nation’s most popular candle scents, vanilla and cinnamon, make a house smell like a home. But why settle for artificially scented wax when you can have the real thing?

“A few drops of vanilla in boiling water smells like freshly baked cookies,” says H-C. “I keep a small pot on the stove ready to go to create ambience when I’m expecting company or simply to help with relaxation. It has a calming effect.” Boiling cinnamon sticks or ground cinnamon works just as well. Mmm.

cinnamon and vanilla sticks

Image: Getty Images

More home tricks and tips

How to make your own natural cleaning products
10 Gorgeous household plants that improve indoor air quality
How to keep your mattress smelling fresh

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