No doubt you’ve heard about essential oils, but perhaps you’ve been wondering how to use them? Wonder no more.
A little while ago, a friend was telling me about the power of scent. She went into a local branch of her bank and just inside the door, there was a smell that was likely from a cleaning product. The smell brought her right back to the old fashioned elevator in her grandparents apartment building, in France. It was a place she had visited a half a dozen times in her entire life but the memories were strong, not the least of which because this was the first elevator that she had been allowed to ride in by herself!
Our sense of smell is the strongest of the five senses. Not only is it powerful in triggering memories, some long forgotten ones or some more recent, but our sense of smell is also tied to emotions, a fact that businesses in the perfume industry have banked on.
“Marcel Proust, in his ‘Remembrance of all Things Past’, wrote that a bite of a madeleine vividly recalled childhood memories of his aunt giving him the very same cake before going to mass on a Sunday.” SOURCE
Leveraging the powerful sense that is smell with essential oils can do a lot to add some soothing calm to your home, as well as some downright practical scent control.
Essential oils as deodorizers
From pets to cooking smells, our homes are filled with odours. Neutralizing unpleasant smells in rooms, carpets and furniture, without the use of chemical air fresheners, is ideal.
Adding a few drops of your favourite essential oil to a spray bottle of water is a natural way to freshen stale air in any room of the house. In addition, essential oils, particularly when mixed with baking soda, can make a power deodorizer for specific locations. The room by room list below details which oils work best in what circumstances!
Essential oils in cleaning products
Some essential oils are particularly useful when added to natural cleansing products. Anything in the citrus line has detoxifying qualities and will leave behind a natural, clean scent that most everyone will appreciate over a chemical smell.
For very specific spills, like pet accidents on the kitchen floor, add ten drops of essential oil to a combination of hot water and your favourite floor cleanser to remove any residual smells. Lemongrass is a great option here!
And for fresh smelling laundry, add some drops of oil to a cloth and pop it into the dryer with your clothes. Just don’t choose a scent that is too strong or sweet smelling: the heat of the dryer will enhance it, so you don’t want it to become overpowering. If you love the idea of scented laundry detergent but can’t tolerate the chemicals, buy unscented powder and add a few drops of your favourite essential oils for an easy, homemade version.
In the bedroom
The key in this space is to promote relaxation and lavender is perfect in that capacity, though rose, sandalwood or jasmine work well too.
- Add your favourite scent to a piece of tissue or cloth and place it in your underwear and sock drawer. You’ll get a refreshing whiff every time you reach in.
- Put a few drops of lavender oil on your pillows, for a calming effect, or if you find that too strong, use a spray water bottle with a few drops of oil mixed in and spray the sheets lightly.
- Mix essential oil with baking soda when you’re cleaning and sprinkle some on the mattress before you make the bed. Ten drops in two cups of soda will neutralize any lingering odours and all you have to do before you make the bed is vacuum up the remaining powder. Throw some of the same mixture on the carpet and let it dry before vacuuming for a similar effect.
- Add a few drops to your vacuum filter too.
In the kitchen
There’s a reason that real estate agents bake cookies or boil apple cider before an open house: the scents evoke powerful feelings of being ‘at home’, which is just what you want when someone is deciding whether to buy your home!
In day to day usage, instead of masking cooking odours, enhance them. Essential oil scents that are in line with cooking, such as cinnamon or clove, are delightful. Just add some to a pot of simmering water and let the oils do their job!
To manage refrigerator smells, take some lemon peel and lemon essential oil and mix these with a little baking soda; fill little jars with pierced lids with the combination. The scent will do it’s job in the refrigerator! A few drops in the garbage bins will help with any lingering odours there!
In the bathroom
Scents are not at all uncommon in this part of the house and people have different ways of coping: spray bottles of chemical air freshener, or even lighting a match when certain deeds are done. Neither option is ideal nor are they particularly pleasant.
Instead, keep a dried floral arrangement or a jar of cotton balls on the shelf and add several drops of essential oil to it. For the bathroom, light, fresh scents like pine, lemon or grapefruit are perfect!
In common areas
Living rooms, dens and other common, high traffic areas can benefit from a little scent too. If you have forced air in your home, add a few drops to the floor filter. The oils will warm up with the air flow and blow a lovely scent around the room, neutralizing any unpleasant odours.
The spray bottle of water and essential oils mentioned earlier can also be used to freshen fabrics like sofas and chairs, when washing isn’t really an option.
What scents you choose ultimately come down to your personal preference but it’s best to avoid anything too heavy or sweet smelling in common areas to ensure that neither guests nor family are bothered by it.
A fresh, light scent throughout your home goes a long way to contributing to good memories: those from the past, and those to come!