Whether you’ve just cooked a pungent meal, the house has been closed up for bad weather, or someone has been sick in your home, your indoor air can get pretty stale. Even if nothing has happened, the buildup of smells from messy kids, pets, and husbands (I kid!) can give your home a unique odor that you may or may not even notice.
Opening a window can certainly help, but for rooms with poor circulation, you want a solution that can both absorb odors and freshen the air at the same time.
A Long(ish)-Term Solution
One way to do it is with a bowl of lemons. No, don’t just put a bowl of lemons on the table — that’ll look pretty, but it won’t do much for your air (and it isn’t the best way to store lemons anyway).
Instead, cut three or four lemons in half, then remove the pulp (juice it for a recipe or freeze it for later!). Then fill the empty rinds with a few tablespoons of baking soda each. Place the rinds in a bowl in an out-of-the way spot. The baking soda absorbs the odors in the air while the rinds release an energizing, citrusy smell.
Keep the lemon halves there for a few days or until you don’t notice the citrus smell anymore. Then, if you have a garbage disposal, send the rinds down it — they’ll clean and freshen your drain on the way! (Otherwise, just toss ’em out.)
More on that stinky drain: 10 Ways to Get Rid of That Awful Smell in Your Kitchen Sink
For an Instant Fix
Another way to quickly get that lemon scent filtering through your house is to simply cut a few lemons into quarters and put them in a pot of water. Let the water boil for a while, and as that citrus-infused steam is released into the air, everything will start to smell a little bit fresher. And if you’d like, you can drop in a few other herbs or essential oils to create your home’s new — much more appealing — signature scent.