« Nick's Notes

Nick’s Tip: Freshen It Up

by Nick Vitrano

Hey - do you smell that? What is that? Why have I never smelled that before?

Ahh yes. Summer. And with the warmth and humidity come a host of household odors that you knew not lurked within the friendly confines of your abode. There's just something about that first hot and damp day, isn't there?

You can reach for the air neutralizer or some other chemical spray. Or you can just use this easy, inexpensive tip.

Open the pantry or the cabinet door or wherever you keep your cooking/baking additives. You're looking for the vanilla extract and even some leftover cinnamon sticks or dried herbs or peppercorns or cloves - really anything typically found in a mulling spice mix.

Let's start with the vanilla extract. Oh, and this is not a high quality, pure vanilla extract type of deal. We're not vanilla extract snobs here on Nick's Tip. We're after the scent, not the taste. Before turning on your lamp or overhead fixture, dab several drops of vanilla extract on the bulb. Then just flick her on. The effectiveness of this method has diminished with the new, energy efficient bulbs, but it still works. It's simply not as powerful as it used to be with the ol' incandescent jobs.

Ok, to the mulling spices: Just a few inches of tap water simmering on the stove, coupled with the addition of whatever spice cocktail you'd prefer, is a great air freshener. Add some citrus rind and youre really crackin'!

Speaking of citrus - my grandmother used to do this one. Ring out an orange or lemon and scoop out the pulp as best you can. It's really not a big deal to scoop it out all meticulous-like.....just get most out. Pour in some salt and set it in a bowl. That's it. Per my grandmother (and backed by countless others) the salt reacts with the natural oils and creates a very pleasant aroma.

This one is a little more controversial, as there is a very vocal camp that is anti-dryer sheets (and there is some scientific evidence that the chemicals in dryer sheets can aggravate respiratory conditions in some and can be tough on those with allergies), but dryer sheets placed against the furnace filter will fill the whole home with whatever pleasant aroma you have selected off the shelf.

So there you go. Forget the sprays. You've got plenty of air fresheners sitting around your home.

Tease Image: By Glane23 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons