3 Natural Air Deodorizers You Already Have in Your Kitchen

The short, cold days of winter make the season a vulnerable time – we get sick, we tend to feel languid and slow, and we become more sensitive, both emotionally and physically. I’m talking quite literally; I become sensitive to how my skin feels, to tastes, and especially to smells. It makes sense, given that we tend to spend more time inside during the winter months. Personal grooming and comfort are paramount, and sometimes your feet sweat in your wool socks or you cook a spiced-up dish that turns out to be a combination of all the wrong spices. This is normal, and we are only human! When something tickles my nose unpleasant, I do have a modest collection of essential oils to mist around the house, but they can be expensive. So, when I’m feeling frugal and want to freshen up the house, I turn to what’s already (more often than not) in my kitchen.

1. Cinnamon

This familiar, warming spice is not overwhelming and is lovely and festive around the holiday season, especially.

How to use it: Some folks prefer to boil a couple of cinnamon sticks in water, which works great. Since I seldom have cinnamon sticks in my cupboard, I simply sprinkle a half-teaspoon or so of ground cinnamon in a small cast-iron pan placed on the lowest heat. Toasting the cinnamon a bit releases the comforting fragrance, and you can even reuse the cinnamon in a batch of banana bread or oatmeal if you like.

2. Lemon (or any citrus)

The fresh rind of any citrus fruit has a crisp, clean feeling unlike any product infused with the scent. Lemon is my preference, but orange is in season and oh-so-refreshingly ripe during the winter months.

How to use it: The boil method also works nicely for citrus rind, generally with a smaller lemon-to-water ratio for a more concentrated smell. After I zest and/or juice half a lemon, I’ll throw the rind in a bit of boiling water on the stove to freshen the house up a bit. If you have a garbage disposal, tossing citrus rind down there can also freshen it up nicely!

3. Onion

This may sound funny, since an onion’s odor when cut is sometimes overwhelmingly emotional/pungent. It is actually the “potent” nature of onions that is responsible for cleansing the air of nasty bacteria, and maybe even preventing the flu by boosting the immune system.

How to use it: Simply cut a whole onion in half and place it, open flesh side up, in a bowl or on a plate in the location that smells funky. It may smell like onion for a while, but the thiosulfinates in the onions will cleanse the air (of both odors and some harmful bacteria) within about 24 hours. (Please don’t reuse the onion after this one…it won’t likely look appetizing, anyways.)

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