How to make your home smell nice without Glade

Whether it’s from our cooking, the footwear of teenage sons or our beloved pets, our homes can be subject to quite the range of smells that can stick around. It’s no surprise that scented sprays and blocks clog up the shelves in our supermarkets and bring in a healthy profit for the businesses that make them. Many of the neutralising sprays do a good job of masking unwanted smells in our homes, but they can sometimes leave scents lingering. Scent blocks and plug-ins can work well, but they are all too often created to pump out the same familiar smells, which can at times resemble anything from toilet cleaner to a major spill at The Body Shop.

The best solution to making your home magnificent is to find scents that you like and then seek out a way of introducing them, or something very similar to them, into your home. Estate agents always recommend freshly-brewed coffee or baking bread as the smells that people like most in the home, but if you don’t want to be tied to the cooker all day then you will have to think a little harder.

coffee on the table

One efficient way to get a strong scent into your home is to use joss sticks, smudge sticks or incense sticks. This means that you will be burning a scented oil dipped stick or piece of wood. Or it could, in the case of the smudge stick, be a bundle of dried herbs or leaves. You can either burn these and wave them around the room or, in the case of joss sticks, simply leave them to safely burn in a holder.

The smells can vary from rose to sandalwood, but do tend to lean towards Eastern scents and they can usually be bought inexpensively from department stores or even local Asian shops, where they may be cheaper. Do look out for ones that use all natural products, as ones using chemicals can release toxins that can be harmful in a similar way to passive smoking.

joss stick

Another product that you can burn with pleasing scents are, of course, candles. They tend to be fairly subtle in smell and you can burn them in the background to both neutralise smells and give a pleasing scent to your home. These have the advantage of being something you can use over and over again, simply blowing them out when a pleasing scent has filled your home. The main stumbling block with candles is that they can get to be an expensive habit. Cheap ones can be purchased from supermarkets, but candles with strong and distinctive scents start at around £10 and can go as high as £100.

Reed diffusers and other diffusing products have become more popular in recent years, as they can look attractive and be very effective too. Reed diffusers work by releasing scent from a set of sticks or ‘reeds’ that are dipped in a perfumed oil. Once again, these products vary greatly in price. The manufacturers of plug-ins have caught on to the trend and now make their own bargain basement products, but better looking models cost upwards of £20. You can buy attractive diffuser bulbs that can be refilled with scent and designer versions can cost as much as you are willing to spend.

cut flowers

Image source: Burrs & Berries via Flickr

Those who prefer their scents to be totally natural should stick with either indoor plants or cut flowers. Not many indoor plants will give a scent all year round, but those that flower can look good as well as giving your home the great scent you desire. Cut flowers will make an instant impact, with lilies and roses providing great, strong scents that are long-lasting.

Of course, the drawback here is that the cost can be outlandish. Unless you are good friends with your florist you will have to spend at least £20 a week to get a good room-filling scent from flowers. Beautiful as well as gloriously natural scents. But just make sure that your bank balance will allow for it.

Iain Aitch

Iain is a London-based writer who works as a journalist for a number of newspapers and magazines. He has also written two books, one of which is a hilarious lexicon about Britishness – Iain is a Brit through and through!

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  1. I use “cheap” gel blocks from Aldi, 49p a time and last for a few weeks. Also use reed diffusers which are more subtle and again last several weeks. I would prefer fresh cut flowers of course but the ones in the supermarket don’t have much smell and will only last 1-2 weeks at something like £5-10 per week. Leaving windows open ( when it’s warm enough) helps somewhat of course especially in the kitchen whilst cooking.

  2. I like the smell of fresh washed linen in my home,
    I cannot bare the smell of strong candles in shops let alone
    My home Too overpowering

  3. Another little trick is to use tumble dryer sheets by febreeze etc on your radiators, just have them on for a short while….

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