Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Air Freshener Rant

I hate air fresheners, room scents, and anything created by the Glade company. Strong words, but carefully considered.

I should mention I do not have a problem with scents, even artificial scents in general. I am an avid collector of perfumes, and I wear one almost every day (but never at the office, because I'm a stickler for rules). The difference is that for perfume we're talking about a half drop selected by myself that no one else can smell. I frequently do checks on this with either Boyfriend or other friends, "Can you smell me now? How about now? No? Good!" A scent can be a very personal thing. Room scents, on the other hand, fill the air, and everyone has to smell them. Moreover, I find most of them unpleasant. Scented oils are heavy, incense is smokey, and those awful aerosols and plug-in things just smell like a chemical swamp. I was excited by the claims of febreeze when it first came out, as it was advertised as a product that would eliminate smells without covering them up. I imagined a sort of spray baking soda. It's not. It smells like febreeze, which smells awful. I recently read about a woman who, when she was too busy to clean would squirt windex into the air to trick guests into thinking she had. It always worked and I bet smelled better than febreeze.

I don't see what's wrong with having your house smell like it does naturally. I open the windows as often as I can and I clean regularly. My house smells fine. I use baking soda in the fridge, the garbage and anywhere else that a bad smell might have a chance to grow and that takes care of that. I have the added advantage that I bake frequently, so my house often smells like baking. That's all the perfume it needs.

There are times, however, when the house gets a bit stale. I experienced this a few weeks ago when we had some pretty warm weather. There was no breeze coming in through the windows and, even though the house was clean, the air was heavy and sticky. I had guests staying with me and I knew they would be tired when they arrived. I wanted my house to be fresh and refreshing, I wanted it to smell like lemons. There's an easy and cheap way to do this without using lemon scented air wick. (I can only assume that whoever created this product has never actually encountered a lemon)

The only room-scenting technique I have ever employed comes from an old "Hints from Heloise" column. One of the few that doesn't involve re-using old containers. Basically, boil some cinnamon. It makes your house smell like cinnamon. Duh. So simple, and so perfect. Now, the cinnamon part has never quite worked for me, as the smell makes me crave it so badly that I usually wind up dropping whatever I was busy with to make a coffee cake. But this technique works with almost anything. The evening my guests were to arrive I put a few drops of lemon juice in bowls which I placed around the house. I then boiled the kettle and poured the water into the bowls. The cold bowls increased the steam, which quickly dispersed through the air. Each room was immediately freshened, and had just a slight hint of real lemon. Less than five minutes, barely costing a penny and no huffing mystery chemicals. Ta da!

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