Not only are air fresheners a waste of money, most of them also contain a lot of multisyllabic chemical ingredients that are not healthy for you. Many fragrant candles also contain toxic chemicals. If your house is clean, it does not stink. You need to find the cause of odor and eliminate it, rather than try to cover it up.
More than a decade ago when we moved to a new Chicago suburb, we decided to rent out our old house rather than sell it. It seemed like a good financial decision at the time, but the renters trashed the place. When they moved out, the stench was horrible. The house was so badly messed up that it required some remodeling, and when we pulled out the kitchen cabinets, we discovered one of the main sources of the odor—dead mice and mouse excrement. Once the mice and the excrement were removed and the area was cleaned, the house again had a normal smell.
Pet urine is one of the worst odors to deal with and one of the reasons we don’t have carpet. If a dog or cat repeatedly pees on a section of carpet, it may need to be replaced. In the meantime, baking soda sprinkled on it will absorb some of the odor.
When my oldest child was a toddler, I purchased a child’s wooden table and chairs for her at a garage sale. It appeared to be in perfect condition sitting in the sunny driveway, but when I took it home and put it in her bedroom, the room quickly smelled of cigarette smoke. I diluted vinegar with 50 percent water, spritzed every surface with it, and wiped it down, eliminating the odor.
Savings: If you currently buy air fresheners, you will save whatever you’ve been spending on them by simply eliminating them from your purchases.
This is an excerpt from Ecothrifty: Cheaper, Greener Choices for a Happier, Healthier Life by Deborah Niemann.