Arriving home from an extended trip, I stood in the entrance hall of my home and paused for a moment, ‘what did it smell of?’. The fact that my Eco Fairy warrior has been in and removed more than 6 weeks of dust is such a treat to me, but as she doesn’t use any cleaning chemicals, I was trying to identify what does my home smell of?
I am fanatical about Aroma, well, aspiring to be an apprentice alchemist/perfumer I would have to be. But if you can, just imagine the immediate jolt of smell when you walk into someone’s home. A new arrival has us whiffing baby powder and sending us straight back in time to when our babies were little. I lived next door to an Indian lady in Algeria and the smell of garlic was overwhelming at times, but always forgiven by the plate of samosa she stood at the back door with, asking if the kettle was on.
Take a sniff as you enter your front door. What’s your first impression? Furniture polish? Chlorine? A flowery carpet cleaner? A synthetic plug in thing promising you ‘orchid delight’, or ‘gardens of Eden’? Or maybe it smells of your pets? or your teenage boys? (now how universally distinctive is that?!) Or is it what you cooked last night? How appetising does your kitchen smell between meals? How does your laundry cupboard smell? My kids associate the smell of clean sheets with Imperial Leather soap. A legacy handed down from my Grandmother to my Mum to me from the days when ‘Cussons’ used real sandalwood in the soap, alas…no more. Does your home smell like you? We have taken to adding gorgeous essential oils to the logs for our fire; try Douglas Fir, Cedarwood and Cassia/Cinnamon for a warming, comforting hug of aroma.
As far back as ancient times, people sought to sweeten their surroundings, often for medicinal as much as aesthetic purposes. Greeks and Romans used fragrant woods for storage cabinets, scented clothing and bedding with herbs and flowers and sweetened the air of their homes and temples with aromatic candles. I have a camphor lined chest made in Malaysia over 20 years ago which still smells fabulous and keeps the moths away.
Until the turn of the 20th Century, people carried pomanders in public places and wore cloth ‘sweet bags’ to ward off germs and shield sensitive noses from rotten smells and unwashed bodies. Many modern products attempt to imitate what our ancestors used to scent their homes. Lemon and pine scented cleaners for example trace back to past centuries when the real substances were put to such uses. Never mind the synthetic powder to vacuum your carpet, try a little bicarbonate of soda mixed with lavender brushed in and breathe a sigh of calm.
There are so many ways to spread the ‘good smells’, fresh fruits, living herbs, fragrant woods, ground spices, essential oils diffused to give us that feel good peace of mind and pleasure scents of nature.
You don’t need to be an Aroma expert to benefit from the powerful qualities of nature’s own secret remedies. Studies have shown that certain odours can induce calm or sleep, ease feelings of depression and help us to concentrate or reduce pain.
Don’t wait until Christmas to have the glorious aroma of cinnamon, cloves, cassia and nutmeg wafting around your kitchen. Mind focusing scents of basil, ginger, rosemary and mint are effective and reviving along with all the citrus zing of lime, lemon and grapefruit. You may know that eucalyptus and lavender can make us feel better when we are not very well with colds and flu, but these oils along with the pungent melaleuca and pine oil are also disinfectants and can be used to clean surfaces in the sick room and help to kill the germs.
Try making your own cleaning products; they are so effective, healthy on the nose and easy on the purse.
Empty squirty bottle 500ml
80 drops Essential Oil, Lemon, Grapefruit……Lemongrass…
50 ml white vinegar
Top up with water
Give it a shake and you have a very effective fresh smelling anti-bacterial cleaner suitable for the bathroom and kitchen too.
Fresh Air Air Freshner
Cheap and simple, this natural air freshener will provide the perfect scent to help keep your home feeling clean and fresh.
Just combine 100ml of distilled water to 20 drops of citrus or any oils of your choice in an 200ml spray bottle. Shake before each use.
This super simple recipe is great for removing grease, adding shine, and waking up your senses.
Fill a large, clean bottle with 2 cups castile soap (dilute according to instructions if using a concentrate)