A home that smells clean and fresh is a pleasant place to be. but there's no need to reach for a commercial air freshener when you want to sweeten your surroundings. Homemade herbal solutions are not only much cheaper than their artificial counterparts, they also smell beautiful, do not rely on an arsenal of possibly harmful chemicals and do their job rather better, working to neutralize unpleasant odors rather than simply masking them.
As far back as the 12th century, sweetly perfumed herbs and flowers were salted and left to ferment or rot into potently perfumed mixtures, which were then used to disguise household odors and, it was believed, help prevent the spread of disease.
The dry potpourri mixtures on these pages still have a heavenly scent but they are somewhat easier to prepare. They also have the advantage of looking much more attractive than their mediaeval counterparts. Display them in decorative bowls and stir them gently once in a while to release their scent.
Rose and lavender potpourri This is a classic potpourri recipe -fragrant, spiced and pretty to look at.
1 cup (10 g) dried rosebuds and/or petals 1 cup (30 g) dried lavender flowers
1 cup (10 g) dried rose geranium leaves peel of 1 orange, cut into thin strips before drying
2 tablespoons whole cloves, lightly crushed
1 tablespoon whole allspice
(pimento), lightly crushed
5 cinnamon sticks, broken into pieces
2 tablespoons orris root powder
6 to 10 drops lavender essential oil 'I2 teaspoon rose geranium essential oil
1 Combine all the ingredients and mix well. Put in a sealed container and leave for a few weeks to mature.
2 To use, transfer to open bowls and stir gently to release the scent
Lemon-scented potpourri If you like a citrus scent, you'll love the fresh perfume of this colorful mixture. If you have other lemon-scented leaves, such as lemon-scented geranium, lemon-scented tea-tree or lemon-scented gum, feel free to add them.
1 cup (15 g) dried calendula flowers
1 cup (20 g) dried chamomile flowers V2 cup (10 g) dried lemon balm
'h cup (10 g) dried lemon verbena '/? cup (15 g) dried lemon thyme V2 cup (10 g) dried basil V2 cup (80 g) finely diced dried lemon peel
2 tablespoons orris root powder
V2 teaspoon lemon verbena essential oil G drops chamomile essential oil
Mix and use as for Rose and lavender potpourri. This mixture makes a lovely, scented filler for placing inside cushions on chairs and sofas.
Mix a few drops of antibacterial essential oil (such as lavender, tea-tree, rosemary or peppermint) into some baking soda. Pack the mixture into a sock or stocking, and stuff it into your sneakers. Leave in overnight to deodorize them. When re-using the mixture, add extra oil.
Rosemary potpourri This combination of fresh peppermint and aromatic rosemary is a good mix for bathrooms or sick rooms.
Vh cups (100 g) dried rosemary leaves 'It cup (5 g) dried peppermint leaves V» cup (30 g) whole cloves, lightly crushed 'It cup (20 g) crumbled cinnamon sticks '/« cup (60 g) orris root powder '!« teaspoon rosemary essential oil
Mix the ingredients together and use as for Rose and lavender potpourri.
Simmering or steaming potpourri deodorizer As its name suggests, a simmering potpourri is simmered gently on the stove in order to release a sweet fragrance that will pervade the whole house. Vary the spices to suit your taste. Simply keep topping up the water until the fragrance has disappeared, or allow the spices to dry out on a tray between uses.
'/« cup (40 g) dried or fresh lemon peel 'li cup (80 g) dried or fresh orange peel 1 cup (120 g) whole cloves, lightly crushed ' cup (100 g) whole allspice (pimento) 1 cup (75 g) coriander seeds, crushed handful of dried or fresh bay leaves, roughly crushed (optional) 5 cinnamon sticks, roughly broken 1 cup (250 ml) boiling water
1 Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and store in an airtight container until needed.
2 Simmer the spices in a small saucepan of water on the stove, topping up the water as needed. Alternatively, place 2 tablespoons of the potpourri mixture in a heatproof container, cover with boiling water and leave in the room that needs deodorizing until the spicy fragrance released by the steaming potpourri replaces the unpleasant smell.
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Air freshener spray
Lightly mist this delicious-smelling air freshener in a room whenever you feel the need.
1.5 oz. (50 ml) vodka V* teaspoon bergamot essential oil 8 drops clove essential oil
5 drops lemon essential oil
6 fl. oz. (200 ml) distilled water
1 Put the vodka and oils in a spray bottle and shake to disperse the oils. Add distilled water and shake again to thoroughly combine.
2 Leave for a few days to mature. Spray briefly to refresh a room.
Continue reading here: Room fresheners
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