Thursday, August 03, 2006
The scent of the house says a lot about the attitude of the homemaker and the family. It can smell like no one has ever washed their hands or their clothes, or it can emit a scent of fresh flowers, or spices used in home cooking. It all depends on the care that goes into it. Spraying scented water around the house will do no good unless the house has a basic cleanliness. Before you can add the delightful touch of scent, you have to roll up your sleeves and get to work cleaning all those areas which seem to collect unpleasant odors. These odors will prevent even the strongest bouquet of flowers from permeating the atmosphere of the home. There is a wealth of ideas in bookstores and on the web, for making the home smell good. Here are a few of them:
The kitchen trash can: It is best that this recepticle be small, and emptied daily, than large and emptied once a week. Bits and pieces of things can sit and accumulate bacteria, which then wafts into the house. Clean the trash can with soapy water and let it dry in the sun, then bring it in, spray it with a pleasant room scent or linen water,or wipe it with some kind of scented oil, like lemon. After that, add a trash can liner. This can be anything from a purchased roll of scented bags, some in colors, to the leftover bag you brought your groceries home in. Hook it over the edges of the trash container, and tie it with a wired ribbon or anything to hold it in place. For smaller trash containers around the house, Emily Barnes suggests in her book, "The Spirit of Loveliness," the idea of putting a pretty paper doily just inside, or over the edge. If it is something you are going to throw away anyway, it can be used to make things prettier.
The laundry: Naturally, laundry done daily is not going to create a smell, but if for some reason you are not able to keep on top of the huge amount of laundry that is accumulated daily in your home, there are some great laundry sorter bags made of mesh, which allows the air to circulate around the clothing while you are waiting to wash it. Dish towels and bath towels can be thrown into their separate sections, making it easier to throw in a load of laundry without sorting every little things. These mesh laundry sorters come with a metal frame that they hang neatly on, and it is very easy to set up and use. If your family is not allergic to scent, a small amount of scented dryer sheets or anti-static softener can be used.
Bathroom: This area must be cleaned daily, and it is helpful if there is an outside window to provide the best ventilation. Bathrooms tend to be very small, and this adds to the problem of odors, but with daily cleaning, they can be the most sanitary rooms in the house. The bathroom can be stocked with a small container which holds disposable cloths and cleaning agents to use on the appliances and the floor. One expert suggests that a person can clean some spot in the bathroom every time they take a shower or wash their hands, with the "clean-as-you-go" method. Unwrapping a new bar of ordinary bath soap, creates the best kind of scent for the bathroom.
Kitchen: One woman wrote that she likes to light a small tea light or votive candle in a pleasant scent, and let it burn in a candleholder in the kitchen while she cleans the area and washes the dishes. It lasts just long enough for her to get the job done, makes the work more pleasant, and helps eliminate the odors. Having clean dishes and a clean sink will prevent bad odors from building up. Happily, there are some wonderful scented detergents on the market now, and some for under a dollar. Green apple, berry, lavender, and many other scented dishwashing liquids are available. Of course, the best scent for the kitchen is the scent of food, or cooking!
Living Room: There is an endless variety of scented tea lights, wax melts, or tarts (short candles) for the home, and they don't necessarily have to be lit. Just buy the highest quality type you can find in the scent you like best, and wrap it in a bit of tissue paper, then place it inside a glass holder. It will scent a room for a long time. Fresh flowers provide a fresh scent for the home. They are not expensive if purchased at a grocery store, and sometimes a rose is a little more than a dollar. Windows with screens are a must, to help keep a fresh smell in the living room. Even a clean house will develop staleness, if closed up all day long without fresh air circulating.
Bedrooms: Closets are a problem with stale odors in bedrooms, mainly because of shoes. For this reason, it might be better if only shoes that are worn for special occasions, such as dress shoes, be stored in the closet, and the shoes we wear the most, can be kept on the back porch near an outer area of the house. Cherly Mendellson, in her book, "Home Comforts," recommends turning down the bedding each morning and letting the sheets air out, and not making the bed til later on. Clean sheets help keep the room smelling fresh, and women in the past changed the sheets once a week. You can avoid sour mattress smells by never letting your body actually touch the mattress. Purchase a foam mattress cover or any kind of mattress protection, to put under the sheets, and nothing will stain the mattress.
Home Office and Library: This room tends to be the most neglected, but old books and papers can get an unpleasant smell after awhile. One technique that was used in the past, was to put baking soda or talcum powder between pages of old books and letting them sit for a few days, then shake the soda out. Cleaning out bookshelfs and wiping the bindings of books can help make the office areas smell fresher. The tops of the printers, desks, clocks, and equipment seem to be overlooked when cleaning.
Live house plants are known for their ability to keep the air fresh and sweet. Some research suggests that: " some house plants are efficient in purifying indoor air. These plants filter out pollutants and toxins, replacing them with oxygen. One plant will purify approximately 100 square feet.Plants for indoor air purification include: Golden PothosSpider PlantHeart Leaf PhilodendronChrysanthemumGerbera DaisyAloe VeraChinese EvergreenFicusEnglish Ivy (see http://d21c.com/Sherry727/seasonal/pgs/houseplants.html)
Every woman's house is uniquely her own. One of the ways to express our love for the home is by attention to details like scent.