Baking Soda Freshener

In even the best-kept homes, there might be found an occasional…odor. Nobody likes to mention it, but there it is. Odors. They’re part of life. This is especially true in a home like mine, which contains a baby, a puppy, and a small boy. But even in a home with fewer sources for unpleasant smells, you’ll still find some: in trash cans, refrigerators, old carpets…Smells tend to saturate fabrics or plastic and just hang around.

There’s a solution. It’s inexpensive, nontoxic, and has been used for a long time: baking soda. I sprinkle it into the bottoms of trash cans before adding a bag and over half-filled trash cans, in diaper cans, and over carpets before vacuuming. In the refrigerator and freezer, some baking soda in a little cup can absorb that unpleasant stale smell that can build up. It really is that simple.

But you know me. Simple is great, but sometimes just a little more attention to detail can give even better results. I make an easy mixture that adds a light scent to a room as well as absorbing unwanted odors, and it has the bonus of being a laundry booster as well.

I start with a glass canister with a shaker lid — the kind you see in diners, holding sugar or powdered coffee creamer (ewwww). Fill it halfway up with borax, which, like baking soda, is another odor absorber as well as helping improve laundry detergent efficiency. Then fill it the rest of the way with baking soda. (I always have plenty of baking soda on hand because I buy in bulk, as I use it a lot — for bath soak, laundry stain remover, and other useful purposes as well as baking.) Finally, add a few drops of essential oil and mix it well. I usually use a bit of lavender and some lemon, but whatever you like should work fine. Don’t do too much! Essential oils are very concentrated scents, and you can get an overpowering aroma quickly. Just to give you an idea: I put in 6-8 drops of each oil for this batch, and yes, it was a bit strong.

So, a little pouring, a little stirring, and — Voila! A quick room freshener. Where to use it? I sprinkle it over laundry hampers, over the carpet before vacuuming in Niko’s and Sofia’s rooms (both of which have that distinctive small-child odor), and under Niko’s area rug to release a little scent each time we walk across it. I sprinkle a bit into the Diaper Genie each time I drop in a diaper — we do cloth diapers, and the Genie stores them beautifully before washing. It tries hard to block out odor, but it’s not perfect. The baking soda/borax mixture with a little essential oil helps absorb odor, but it also helps get the diapers clean when I wash them. Anywhere you want a little freshening is a good place to sprinkle some of this.