Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wednesday's Cleaning: Air Fresheners

A few weeks ago when I decided to have a schedule for my blog, I added a cleaning section. I didn't know how difficult it was going to be until I got to today and was still not sure what I was going to write about. All the other days I have difficulty too. But the difficulty is waiting until the designated day so I could share. Last night I was racking my brain trying to figure out what to say. Hadn't I already addressed most issues? I could talk about how I need to clean my craft room. I could talk about rearranging my bedroom so now it looks roomier (or now my small bed that I share with my husband looks even smaller). As I walked around the house making mental notes of possible topics, I spotted the saucepan on the stove that was simmering with lemon peels. Ah ha! I have found my topic for today: air fresheners! Although it's not really cleaning, it is something that goes hand in hand with the cleaning process. So here are my tips on making things smell...well...clean and pleasant!

1. Citrus freshener: (part one)
I mentioned this in the post about Summer Pancakes, and I really think this is one of my favorite ways to make my house smell lovely. Any time you have citrus in your house, you have such a great opportunity to make your house have that clean smell to it. Have you ever noticed how many cleaning products have that "Lemon" smell added to it? Did you also know that the smell of lemon increases alertness , is linked to less health problems, and can encourage creativity? One of the easy ways to distribute natural citrus smell throughout your house is to simply boil the peels. When you eat that orange, don't throw away the peel! Set it in a saucepan, cover with water, and just let it boil for a while. Do the same thing with the lemon you use on your chicken or the lime you used in your margarita. You could also place a few of them in a small crockpot and let it go while having a party. When your kids are working on their homework or trying to create a craft, boil a little citrus and let the "juices flow", so to say.

2. Citrus Freshener: (part two)
One really quick and easy way to finish your kitchen cleaning process is to leave the room smelling slightly of lemon, lime, or orange. Our brains automatically associate those smells with something clean. Even if you have a few more dishes set out that you didn't wash or your counters are a little cluttered, the smell of citrus will actually trick your brain to thinking your kitchen is spotless! (at least for a little bit) This suggestion only takes a few seconds. Take that lemon, lime, and/or orange peel and grind it in your garbage disposal. That grinding releases that natural citrus essence into the air. NOTE: I wouldn't do this too often, and it may be better (as it in my house) to boil the peel a little before you dump it in your disposal. Some disposals cannot handle that much hard stuff. So softening the peel a little will still have the same effect, but won't hurt your appliances as much.

3. Fresh laundry:
Have you ever put in a load of laundry into the washing machine to forget about it? Then your clothes smell funky! Of course, wash your clothes again, but this time add about 1/2 cup of white vinegar to your wash. The vinegar acts as an additional cleaner, as seen on this website, and removes that icky smell from your clothes. I'm not really sure how it works, but I know it does, and it has saved me quite a few times when my brain gets overloaded with tasks, and I forget to put the wash into the dryer.

4. Fresh carpet:
One of my favorite, favorite, favorite ways to make my house smell lovely is to add spices to my carpet. As a kid one of my chores was to vacuum. My mom had this "carpet freshener" stuff to sprinkle on the carpet and then vacuum up. Years later, as a young married lady, I couldn't afford to buy those deodorizers, so I made my own! I grabbed a bottle of nutmeg, sprinkled my carpet, and vacuumed it up. My house smelled GREAT, and I didn't have to spend money on something I could use for only one thing. I did some research to make sure that sprinkling spices on my carpet isn't harming it, and found that what I've been doing for years is actually recommended by a few sites, such as this one. Another great thing about using spices on your carpet is that it can help trigger brain activity. If you have ever noticed teachers handing out peppermints during the SATs or other tests, it's because the smell can trigger memory and help with test anxiety (I wish I had known that 15 years ago!!). One note, though, is that you have to have the peppermint smell while studying and while taking the test for it to work to its fullest potential. So, before you child sits down to study for that math test, sprinkle cinnamon on your carpet and then vacuum it up. Make sure you ask the teacher if it is okay if your child chews on a piece of cinnamon candy or cinnamon gum while taking the test. The brain connects the smell to a memory and then can help your child recall the studied information! Isn't it amazing how God made our brains work?! As for it working as a natural air freshener, here's a little anecdote:

Last year during the Christmas season I was having a few people over for a little soiree. As usual I sprinkled a little nutmeg and cinnamon on my carpet before I vacuumed. An hour later, one of my first guests arrived. She said as she walked into the door, "I thought you were cooking something yummy!" (I was, but it wasn't cinnamon or nutmeg based) "I could smell your house before I ever got in it!" And she meant it in the nice way! :) I shared with her my secret, and now she is a believer as well!

So that's it. For now. I love, love, love to make my house smell great, as I'm sure you do as well. Doing a few of these simple little tips will make an incredible difference in your home!

Do you have an air freshener tip you would like to share? If so, please comment. I would love to hear what great ideas all of you have!

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