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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Housewife--Stretch a Buck

I love a house that smells nice, but the chemical air fresheners just don't cut it for me. Yes, I do have them occasionally, but they smell manufactured and fake. I also think that they contribute to indoor air "pollution" thus causing environmental illnesses and allergies. About 5 years ago, I discovered the world of essential oils while taking a soap making class. For a fraction of the cost of an air freshener, you can fill your rooms with natural scents with the use of these oils. And because they're all natural, you don't have to worry about polluting your indoor environment.

I also don't use a lot of highly scented cleaning products. I make almost all of my cleaning products and sometimes, I just want a little good scent to them. Clean doesn't have a smell. That's one of the hardest things to get used to when you start to make your own cleaners. Essential oils can be used in them as well. Just a drop or two and you have a sweet smelling clean!

I get my essential oils at my local health food store, which is about a minute from my house. You can also find them online just by searching. I like to sample the scents, so I haven't purchased any new scents online. Today, I picked up lime and clove. These two oils are very inexpensive. Others can be quite pricey, but because you only use them in very small amounts, they last a very long time.

How to use them? Here are some of the ways I do:

  • Sprinkle a little on a bowl of potpourri. Your room will fill with the scent.

  • I have used them to refill liquid, electric air fresheners, but I will say, do so at your own risk. Wear gloves and be sure to dilute the scent as directed by the manufacturer.

  • If you need a quick pick me up or need to relax, give the appropriate oil a quick sniff! I was such a nonbeliever of aromatherapy until I really tried it.

  • Make your own mist style air freshener. In a clean, small spray bottle, mix water and your favorite essential oil(s). Shake before using. I like to use these in the bathrooms and I keep one with my cleaning supplies. Occasionally spraying the dog beds is a great use!

  • Simmer water on the stove and add a little essential oil. This is especially great in the winter when the air needs to be humidified.

  • Place a drop on a light bulb. Yes, the lamp has to be on! Your whole room will smell delightful..

Be cautioned: some essential oils are toxic and those toxins can enter through your skin. Know the oil that you are using and never apply directly to your skin unless you are fully educated on that individual oil.

Daily Shower Spray

If you're like me, you hate to clean your shower. I used to buy those expensive daily shower cleaner sprays. I even invested in the Scrubbing Bubbles one that automatically dispenses the shower cleaner and then my thrifty self stepped in. I began to refill the Scrubbing Bubbles bottles with cheaper spray concentrate. Then, I decided to make my own. The automatic dispenser bit the dust, so now I just use a spray bottle. The rubbing alcohol scent takes some getting used to at first. Essential oils do help, but be cautioned: if you use too much of an oil, you can make your shower slippery!

8 ounces of rubbing alcohol

distilled water, enough to fill the spray bottle

your favorite essential oil

Place all in a clean, preferably recycled spray bottle. Shake before using. Use daily and your shower will stay clean. You must start with a clean shower and periodically, you will still need to deep clean your shower, but this cuts down on cleaning time, tremendously. I've found it keeps my shower doors crystal clear!

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