A great way to freshen your space before you have guests is to place a few drops of your favorite organic essential oil onto a cotton ball and vacuum it up. As you finish cleaning your floors, the vacuum's exhaust will pick up the scent of the oil and diffuse it into the air. It's so simple but works really well.
This is also a great alternative to using commercial air fresheners like Lysol or Febreze, which contain an incredible variety of toxic chemicals that you end up spraying all over your home. Air fresheners are known to cause severe allergic reactions, respiratory issues, headaches and other very unpleasant problems. I recently read an article on the hazards from Grist and they outline it pretty well:
The EPA says the air fresheners’ chemical cocktail has four main ingredients (none of them, sadly, rum or grenadine): formaldehyde, petroleum distillates, p- dichlorobenzene, and aerosol propellants. As you note, any “natural”-ifying of earth-unfriendly aerosol propellants still leaves the three other offenders:
- Formaldehyde, an ear, nose, and throat irritant and possible carcinogen;
- Petroleum distillates, with their oil-intensive production and ill effects on the respiratory system; and
- p-dichlorobenzene, a hazardous waste “reasonably be anticipated to be a carcinogen” that gives mothballs and urinal cakes their lovely scent (and is, incidentally, also a registered pesticide).
Are you as freaked out as I am right now? It drives me nuts that it's legal to put ingredients like this into products. If you're interested in taking action, The Environmental Working Group has a really great Twitter feed about current issues and legislation regarding toxins and chemicals in our products. I follow their Toxics Team @EWGtoxics for the latest!
We'll also be doing some tweeting of our own @brooklynHAVEN. Follow us for more Small Steps weekly tips!
Looking for a germ-killing, odor-neutralizing room spray without the gunk? Check out our Organic Lavender AIR & LINEN. Great for air, hard surfaces and fabric!