We all love a clean, fresh-smelling home, but we sometimes don’t get it. Smells from cooking, pets and the general wear and tear of daily life can get in the way and leave our homes smelling mustier than we would like.
I love to have my windows open so that bad odour can escape and fresh air can blow throughout my home. However, when the weather is temperamental, this simple trick isn’t always possible.
Of course, the best way to combat odours is to get at them before they have had a chance to spread. Dirty dishes, an overlooked spillage, and old food in the fridge just exacerbate the odour issue.
Keeping on top of removing odour-causing material will help keep your home smelling fresh and clean because it is fresh and clean! I’m also a firm believer in maintaining strict no shoes in the house policy.
Shoe track in dirt, dirt gets ground into the floor, and that dirt smells. Ensure you regularly vacuum your carpets and upholstery, take out the rubbish before it gets too smelly and follow a regular cleaning routine. Here are a few more ideas to keep your home smelling fresh year-round:
ADD SCENT BOOSTERS TO YOUR VACUUM This is one of my favourite tips. If you follow my social media, you will have seen me do this plenty of times! Vacuum up a few laundry scent boosters and allow them to sit in the collection drum of your vacuum. As you vacuum, the scent will be released. Remember to change them weekly, each time you empty out your collection drum, and only use a few.
MAKE YOUR OWN CHEMICAL-FREE AIR FRESHENER This is very simple: fill a spray bottle with warm water and 10 drops of your favourite essential oil. You can play around and mix a few oils together to achieve your preferred scent.
MAKE YOUR OWN FABRIC REFRESHER SPRAY You can make your own fabric refresher spray to refresh your carpets, curtains and fabric surfaces. Half fill a spray bottle with boiling water, add 2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda and a few drops of your favourite essential oil, shake to mix and leave for about 30 minutes for the mixture to infuse. Always spray items from a distance of at least 20 cm/8 inches and be careful around pets and children.
CREATE ASPAEXPERIENCE IN YOUR BATHROOM Dried eucalyptus stems are great for creating a sense of tranquillity in your bathroom. After taking a hot bath or shower, tie a bundle of eucalyptus together, hang it up and the steam in the bathroom will release the plant’s oils, creating a fresh, clean smell.
HOMEMADE REED DIFFUSER I really struggle to find good reed diffusers; even with the expensive ones, I find the smell only really lasts a few days, so I have stopped wasting my money. Instead, I create my own diffuser using water, almond oil, and my favourite essential oils, mixed together in an open-topped glass jar.
HOUSEHOLD PLANTS Having a few natural plants in your home will purify the air and keep your home smelling fresh and clean. The best ones to look out for are aloe vera and spider plants.
WAX MELTS I jumped on wax melts last year; I am only sorry that I didn’t discover them sooner. They give off an amazing smell and are so much safer to use than candles. If you are yet to treat yourself to an electric wax melt burner, then you must. You can programme them to give off the scent at a set time. I tend to have mine on all the time and change the melts every few days.
COOK SOMETHING DELICIOUS Consider baking bread, a batch of cookies, or banana bread. Toast fresh rosemary in a dry pan or place some cinnamon sticks in your slow cooker. Their scents are amazing.
MAKE A CARPET POWDER One of the most overlooked spots where unwanted smells accumulate is in the fibres of your carpet. Eliminate these odours by making your own deodorising carpet powder with bicarbonate of soda and your favourite essential oil. Sprinkle the powder onto your carpets, wait for 30 minutes, then vacuum as usual. Not only does the powder help pick up dirt and hair, it also leaves behind a light, fresh scent.
ON THE HOB Fill a saucepan with water, add some slices of lemon and a few of your favourite herbs, then simmer over low heat to create a fresh smell and eliminate any cooking odours.
Some of my other favourite combinations are Orange slices, star anise, cinnamon sticks, cloves, 1 tablespoon vanilla extract Rosemary sprigs, lemon slices, 1 tablespoon vanilla extract Cranberries (frozen or fresh), orange slices, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon sticks Cranberries and cinnamon sticks COTTON BALL TRICK Lightly dampen a cotton ball, add 6 drops of your favourite essential oil, then pop this in the bottom of your bin.
How to look after beauty products
Dirty make-up brushes, clogged with old make-up, dust, dirt and oil, can cause skin irritation problems and a break-out of spots or red patches. Make-up brushes do need to be cleaned on a regular basis to stop the build-up of bacteria that is not good for our skin.
This is an important task – if you wear make-up daily, make cleaning your brushes a weekly cleaning task. As well as keeping your make-up brushes clean, keep your make-up bag or storage boxes clean, too.
Bacteria love dark places, so make-up containers and bags are the perfect breeding ground. Most make-up bags can go in the wash and boxes should be cleaned out at least once a month. In this way, you can take care of make-up spillages and ensure that all the make-up is in good condition with the lids on and in some sort of order.
TOP TIPS FOR CLEANING MAKE-UP BRUSHES
When cleaning your brushes, never soak them. You want to avoid water getting into the handle and harming the glue that holds the brush together.
Apply a small amount of baby shampoo or gentle washing-up liquid to the palm of your hand, then swirl the brush around in it, ensuring it gets right into the fibres.
If you want to soften and moisturise the bristles, repeat the process using a small amount of hair conditioner. Rinse under cold running water, holding the brush downwards and pulling the product out very gently with your fingertips.
Remove any excess water with a clean towel. Lay the brush flat on a clean towel or piece of kitchen paper to dry.
Reshape while damp, if you need to. Don’t ever stand the brush up to dry. The water will drip into the handle and potentially damage the glue.
Don’t forget to do this on a regular basis. Brushes can take a few days to get properly dry, so ensure you have plenty of spares to hand.