Try this: Waste not the peel
Create a zero-waste, practically zero-cost homemade air freshener by repurposing fruit peels destined for the trash or compost. You can add a little flair with some herbs or spices, and the simmering water releases essential oils into the air for all-natural, permeating scent.
You know that little boost you get when peeling an orange? When that cheerful scent reaches your nose, it's pure sunshine. That's because our sense of smell (the olfactory system) is closely linked with the part of the brain that controls emotions. Yep, there's science behind why we love sniffing those jars at Yankee Candle.
But you don't need to spend a lot of money to fill your halls with relaxing scent. Next time you find yourself with some fruit peels and you're going to be hanging at home for a while, throw them in a pot with some water and you’ll have an instant all-natural air freshener. Today I’ve added in some cloves (I bought some to put on a ham once and have been looking for another way to use them ever since) and cinnamon. Keep it on a low back burner to simmer away, making your home smell like a happy memory. Just don’t forget to periodically check the water level and don’t leave the house with the flame still on. If the water runs low, just pour in some more.
Now, I am as big a fan of scented candles as the next mama, but the truth is that we really don’t know what we’re breathing in. With this method, the heat evaporates the water and releases the essential oils in the food, so you are breathing humidified air enhanced with whatever homeopathic benefits these natural compounds have to offer. However, unlike diffusing bottled essential oils, your homemade brew is practically free! You’re using peels that you would otherwise throw away.
Try these DIY air freshener components:
Any kind of citrus peel (orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit)
Apple or pear peels
Fresh ginger peels
Nutmeg (like those nubs that are too small to grate!)
A drop of extract (vanilla, almond, etc)
Herbs like lavender, rosemary, or mint
I love having a pot bubbling as my family comes through the door, especially in the winter. Everyone is at ease when the house smells nice, and there's something so cozy and old-fashioned about this invitation sent from the warm heart of your home: your stove.
Of the five senses, smell is the one with the best memory.
- Rebecca McClanahan, "Word Painting"