When we first entered the boy’s dorm room, before we moved anything from our car into his new space, we noticed the smell. It was not terribly overpowering, but resembled what my husband refers to as, “teenage boy smell”. The boy is the one who said something first. “Do you think you could bring me an air freshener? This room kind of smells”.
I knew I had a challenge, as the boy is like me and doesn’tcare for chemical-filled perfumed artificial scents. When added to a smelly space, you are left to breathe a combination of stinky air and perfumed air. Double yuck! Additionally, my go-to scented candles were not an option, as candles are not permitted in the dorm rooms.
I set out to find a natural air freshener. Nothing overpowering. Just something to help neutralize the air and maybe provide a bit of “ahh”.
Rachel Herz wrote an article for Scientific American describing how odors affect “our moods, work performance, and behaviors in a variety of ways…” Since birth, our brain associates smells with experiences, whether pleasant, or not. When we experience these smells later in life, our mind takes us back to grandma’s kitchen, the forest, or the emergency room. See? Some positive, some negative. The feelings associated with perceived odors impacts our current state of mind and productivity.
So you see, we needed to remedy the funky dorm room so the boy could concentrate on his studies. Welcome to our latest arts-and-crafts project!
I was drawn to Krystal’s DIY Air Freshener featured on her blog, Natural Fit Foodie. A cute, ribbon bound, burlap covered jar held natural ingredients, including baking soda, to help neutralize odors.
The science nerd in me will explain that what we call baking soda is actually called sodium bicarbonate, an amphoteric compound eager to combine with acids and bases. When this reaction takes place, odor-causing molecules are removed from the air. Baking soda also helps absorb moisture. Science lesson over.
I decided to give it a go, knowing I would have to dial down the cuteness for my version to be accepted in the boy’s dorm room. Burlap and ribbon would be out of the question. The mason jar would garner enough heckling on its own.
- wide mouth ½ pint jar (with lid and ring)
- nylon tulle ribbon
- ½ cup baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- grated orange peel
- 10 drops sweet orange essential oil
I opted for a wide mouth 8-ounce jar to increase the amount of baking soda exposed to the air. I combined the baking soda, cinnamon, orange peel, and sweet orange essential oil in the jar.
I used the ring to secure a square of tulle ribbon over the opening. The tulle provides access to the air without looking too fruffy … right? The rubber-lined lid ensured I didn’t spill in the car while transporting the jar to its new home.
* Please note: If you have a particularly foul smell, feel free to open your doors and windows. You know, move some actual fresh air into your space.
This natural air freshener will not “perfume” your air. But I will say, I made one for myself, as well, and placed it on my small meeting table at work. I notice a nice scent of “ahh”. Just what I was searching for! Nothing overpowering. Simply clean, with a hint of orange and cinnamon.
You will want to stir the powder mixture once in a while, and add essential oil drops to freshen the scent, as the baking soda will eventually neutralize that smell, as well. And as with your refrigerator, you will replace these natural ingredients a couple times a year.
I look forward to creating more fresheners with different scents. What scent will you create?
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