I am a sucker for a beautiful smelling home. You name the (typically expensive) scent-based product and I've tried it. Lacy bags of imported French lavender in my drawers; scented candles that cost a day's work; room sprays that promised to transport me to Caribbean beaches. I've tried aerosols, plug-ins, candles, incense, room spray, wax melts, scented cleaning products, oil burners, carpet powders, laundry scent boosters and more. This proliferation of perfumed products has not come cheap and has usually left me feeling disappointed. Where are the enchanting scents I've been promised?
For years it would not have occurred to me that using products I made myself was the answer to this conundrum. Not only have I saved a not-so-small fortune along the way, but the products I use are tailored to my own preferences, they're significantly more environmentally friendly and they never irritate my various allergies.
Essential oils have become my go-to product. Their uses are seemingly endless, but today I am going to share five of my favourite ways to use EOs to keep your home smelling fresh and fabulous.
If you are new to essential oils, I would recommend starting with a beginner's kit. These are available to buy online. In the past I have used and loved these brands:
Once you have your essential oils in place, get ready to have the most wonderful, fresh smelling home! Here are my five top tips and favourite recipes.
1. Adding essential oil to candles
Scented tealights and pillar candles can often be a disappointment. Many are lacking in a strong scent or cost an arm and a leg. I use cheap, environmentally friendly unscented candles and add essential oils to them. Simply light the candle, leave to burn for a few minutes then add a couple of drops of oil to the melted wax. This way, one unscented candle can take on a different scent combination on each burn.
My personal favourite is an imitation of Jo Malone's lime, basil and mandarin candle which retails at £45. Yes, really, forty-five of Her Majesty's whole pounds. I add two drops each of lime, basil and sweet orange oil to a cheap fragrance-free tealight and voila! A great imitation for a miniscule fraction of the price.
For safety, please make sure that you never drop oil directly onto a flame! Oils will burn very easily. Make sure to drop just small amounts of the oil into the melted wax, avoiding the flame.
2. Room spray
This tip couldn't be easier if it tried. Mix approximately 30 drops of your favourite oils with water in a clean spray bottle. You can add a little witch hazel if you like. Shake well and use as you would normally use a room spray. That's it. I find these DIY room sprays to be far more effective than traditional room sprays and they really are just a tiny fraction of the cost.
For a summery mojito inspired scent, I mix peppermint, grapefruit, lemon and lime.
For a fresh, crisp woodland scent, I mix eucalyptus, pine and cypress in equal parts.
3. Pillow spray
I'm a sucker for aromatherapy products that promise to help you achieve a better night of sleep. I have found nothing works better than simply using essential oils in their purest form. Try dropping 5 drops of lavender and frankincense oil onto your sheets before bed or mix up in a spray bottle with water.
4. Scent jars
Sometimes we want products that not only bring beautiful scents into our home, but that also eliminate bad odours - pets, food, teenagers, etc. Mixing essential oils with baking soda can help to do this.
Add a large tablespoon of baking soda to a small glass jar (any clean leftover jar should do). Mix in 15 drops of essential oil, mix thourougly and cover your jar using a cloth - do not put the plastic or metal lid on the jar - it won't work if you do this! You can then place the jar wherever needs deodorising. A stinky fridge, bathroom, teenager's bedroom or anywhere in need of freshening can benefit from this tip!
I love to use lemon and ginger oil in my baking soda mixes. Both smell so fresh and clean that I soon forget the bad smell.
BONUS TIP: lemongrass and eucalyptus work wonderfully to get rid of the smell of old, stale cigarette smoke. Great if you've moved into a new place and need to get rid of the previous tenant or owner's cigarette smoke, or if you're a smoker yourself. If you are a smoker yourself, nothing works better than taking it outside though!
Perhaps the absolute easiest way to use your essential oils, is in a diffuser. Rather than burning the oils, this uses cool water vapour to spread them safely through your home. This can be particularly useful when you want to use essential oils for their antibacterial effects.
I particularly love using oil diffusers as they are perfectly safe to use overnight, so unlike oil burners I don't need to worry about house fires or smoke. I keep one next to my bed each night while I sleep for constant all-night aromatherapy. I also use them to ensure I wake up to a fresh, clean smelling kitchen and to boost my mood or improve focus during my workday.
I cannot recommend the mix of black pepper, geranium and bergamot oils enough. Each has mood boosting properties that will put a smile on your face as soon as the diffuser switches on. Add this to your daily morning routine for a little ritualistic self-love boost to your day.