Infuse your home with the essence of autumn with these all-natural air freshener recipes.
The faintest hint of burning leaves in the wind, or the scent of warm cinnamon and sugar in a welcoming home can instantly transport us back to treasured moments of autumns past, conjuring images of cozy sweaters, carved pumpkins and gold-dappled forests. “For the sense of smell, almost more than any other, has the power to recall memories and it is a pity that we use it so little,” wrote Rachel Carson, author of the book that inspired the modern environmental movement, Silent Spring. Maybe that’s why so many of us run out to ye old candle store as soon as the nights get cool, ready to envelop ourselves in all of those delicious nostalgic smells. Too bad we’re also inhaling toxins in the form of petrochemicals, artificial fragrances and lead (contained in many candle wicks.)
There’s a way around all that. Making your own fall room scents is super easy and scent can be disbursed in a variety of ways, including simmering stovetop scents and room sprays. Try these six recipes that incorporate autumn fragrances like caramel apple, figs, nutmeg and vanilla. Bonus: research has shown that many of these scents have major brain-boosting stress-reducing benefits.
The smell of pumpkin pie is more about the spices than the pumpkin itself. Just add about a tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice, two cinnamon sticks and a teaspoon of vanilla to a pot of boiling water and let it simmer on the stovetop over low heat. For a spicy room spray, add 5 drops of cinnamon essential oil, 5 drops of vanilla 3 drops of clove to 1/3 cup alcohol (low-quality vodka is a popular choice) in a mister bottle, shake vigorously and spritz where desired.
Hands down, the best (and tastiest) way to make your home smell like caramel apples is to actually cook them in a slow cooker, letting the fragrance slowly take over throughout the day as the apples soften. Buttery Yum has a recipe that incorporates dark brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. You can also do this simmer-pot style using apple cores left over from other recipes.
A site called The Yummy Life has a range of natural room scent recipes that can be stored in pretty jars and reused 2-3 times. This one, with oranges, ginger and cinnamon, has a powerful fragrance that can help banish bad odors in the home. These jars make great gifts and can be warmed in a variety of ways, from the stovetop or slow cooker method to candle warmers.
Cranberries, Cinnamon and Rosemary
Add three sprigs of fresh rosemary and two cinnamon sticks (or a tablespoon of ground cinnamon) to two cups of cranberry juice and simmer on the stovetop over low heat. The addition of fresh or frozen cranberries, a touch of lemon juice and a little sugar would easily turn this into a delicious cranberry sauce with an herbal twist.
The signature smell of Williams-Sonoma, this blend is bright and fresh. It works great as a year-round natural air freshener. Get the recipe at Inspired to Share.
Lavender Nutmeg Cardamom
Nutmeg and cardamom extract can be found, along with many other relatively obscure essential oils and extracts, at Mountain Rose Herbs. Mix three drops of each with six drops of lavender and 1/3 cup alcohol, shake and spray. On the stovetop, add 4 tablespoons of dried lavender flowers to 2 cups of water along with a teaspoon of each spice.
Top photo: evilerin
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