April 15, 2011

Aromatherapy: 5 Ways to Freshen Up Your Home

I'm trying to get more into aromatherapy and using essential oils from flowers and plants in my everyday life. I like that each essential oil has different properties (some help relax or some concentrate your focus or some stimulate your digestion, etc.).

I wrote a post on some simple oils to start with (like lavender, tee tree, peppermint, etc), but it's important that you like the smell of the oils you buy. Your body knows what it likes and doesn't like, so trust that (it's the same with seasonings--smell the food and the seasonings and you can get a better feel for which seasonings taste well with that food and agree with your body).

Different oils may smell good to you based on your mood. For example, if you want relaxation, lavender is a great one. If you’re looking to get rid of germs, try the antiseptic qualities of tea tree. OR if you want mental clarity, try peppermint.

Here are some uses for these oils:
1. Bath/Shower Steam.
Add 3-6 drops of your favorite essential oil to your hot water (or on a rag or in a bowl -- if you're in the shower or want to put a towel over the bowl for a simple facial steam--for sinuses). Another trick is to add the drops to a pan of boiling water. This is great if you want to relax --lavender, or great if you have sinus/congestion issues --maybe a mix of eucalyptus and tee tree.

2. Room Deodorizer.
Add a few drops of essential oils to water in a spray bottle and keep it handy in rooms that often need freshening, like the bathroom or kitchen. You can also spray freshen linens with lavender spray to help you relax or spray them with ylang ylang to make the mood more sensual. OR add some drops to freshen up old potpourri (or make your own potpourri by drying your own flowers and throwing them in a bowl-- you can change them up during the different seasons with flowers from your yard).

3. A Closet Freshener.
Add a few drops of essential oils to some pieces of cotton or wool cloth and place in drawers or on closet shelves, a little goes a long way. A cloth hankie is perfect for this. Lavender, cedar or sandalwood are nice choices.

4. Heat Diffuser.
You can make use of your heating vent by placing a few drops of essential oils on a piece of cloth/ribbons or cotton ball and place by your heating vent or just in front of it. When your furnace kicks on the blower will help spread the scent throughout your home. You can get the same results putting a saucer of water and oils on top of your radiator. This is an easy way to use heat for disbursement without investing in aromatherapy gadgets or special diffusers. Or place a drop of your favorite oil on your light bulbs but make sure to do this when the bulbs are cold. When the bulb heats up after you turn it on, it will heat the oil and fill the room with scent. For increased energy and invigoration use grapefruit, peppermint, lemon, or black pepper.

5. Cleaning Products
You can deodorize things you clean: Refrigerator Deodorizer -- drops of orange, mint or lemon oil in a bucket of warm water. With a clean sponge, use the water to clean out your refrigerator. Or a counter Cleaner -- add lemon, thyme, or eucalyptus oil to equal parts distilled white vinegar and water. Use it to clean your kitchen and bathroom surfaces as you normally would. Or for furniture polish --add four to six drops of lemon essential oil to half a cup of olive oil. With a clean dry rag, use the oil to polish wood furniture.
Essential oils are a great alternative to buying imitation air fresheners and you can have fun playing around with scents you already have. If you don't have any essential oils, why not go out and buy two simple scents you enjoy, or as listed in my other post and give it a try. You'll feel good knowing that you're providing a cleaner, healthier environment for yourself and family.

*Many ideas gleaned from www.naturemoms.com

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