If you live in a colder climate, chances are that this is the point in the year when you start to get a little cabin fever. You’ve been doing the whole “winter” thing for a few months now, your hands are dry and cracked, the air in your house is stale and stuffy, and you’ve done about all the hygge-ing that one person can take. It doesn’t help that quite a few of our friends to the south start to see some definite signs of spring at this time in the season, and we up here in the north are right in the wintery-est part of winter. All, jokes aside, some of those hygge techniques are pretty brilliant for dealing with the winter blahs, but I also love to start giving myself a bit of break and start moving my home towards a feeling of hope that spring is on the way!
If you’ve had the chance to check out my new book The Cleaning Ninja, then you know that the way your home smells can really affect how clean and welcoming it feels for you and your family and stale winter air is definitely not your friend when you’re trying to achieve a fresh-smelling home. Don’t you worry your pretty little head though, there are some easy and quick things that you can do to really freshen up the stale air in your home. Your house will smell cleaner, you’ll remember that spring is on the way, and you may even feel your mood start to brighten a little bit. It’s pretty amazing what can happen when you start to get your Cleaning Ninja tactics working for you, even just a little bit!
Here are some of my favorite methods for freshening up stale air at this time of year.
Open a Window
Wait! Stop! Only open that window if you’re having one of those amazing abnormally-warm days. As much as stale air can drive us crazy, it’s really a huge waste of energy to let that frigid air in on a cold day, even if it is amazingly fresh. When you do have one of those really warm hint-o-spring days, remember to take advantage of it and get those windows open! Even if it’s just for a few minutes, that fresh air will really help!
Without a doubt, the next best thing to opening a window is using lots and lots of baking soda. It’s just crazy how that stuff can remove odors from just about anything. Sprinkle it over carpets, rugs, and upholstery, leave it sit for a bit and then vacuum it up. It’s also great on unfinished cement floors in musty areas of your house. Even just leaving a little dish of it out will help pull odors right out of the air!
Wash Those Washable Fabrics
It maybe should go without saying, but washing any fabrics around your house that can be washed will really help. Who doesn’t love the smell of fresh laundry? Try to find a load of things that you don’t normally wash as often, like curtains, pillow covers and throw blankets. They can hold in a lot of the odors of the last few stuffy winter months without us really realizing it.
Use a Humidifier or Diffuser
Not only will using a humidifier or a diffuser help you deal with dry winter skin, stuffy noses, and all that other fun stuff that comes along with being in a heated environment, but that extra bit of moisture in the air will start to make it actually feel like spring is in the air. You may even start to believe that it could be possible that April showers and green grass are waiting for you right outside your window…. as long as you don’t actually look out there of course!
Wipe Things Down
We don’t always realize it, but hard surfaces can hold odors too. And we may not always get around to wiping down every table top, lamp base, and piece of trim work during our regular cleaning. And you don’t have to! That’s what feather dusters are for! It can be really helpful though to make sure that each hard surface in your home is getting wiped down at least every once in awhile. A little bit every day will do it! Using a vinegar and water solution will really clean most surfaces pretty well and will definitely help to clear away odors. The vinegar smell will evaporate quickly and you’ll be left with nothing but fresh air! I also like to use furniture polish sometimes or you can choose to use a scented cleaning product like the new Scentiva cleaners to clean away any surface grime and leave a fresh scent all in one step.
Scentiva is great for people who like a strong Clorox clean, but don’t love the strong chemical smell that can come along with some of those cleaners. It’s available in either a spray or wipes and comes in two really nice scents: Tuscan Lavender and Jasmine & Hawaiian Sunshine. Scentiva also kills 99% of all bacteria and viruses and also cleans, disinfects, and deodorizes.
Whichever method makes you feel like spring is in the air is the right way to go!
Add an Extra Fresh Scent with a Candle or Essential Oils
Lastly, I often like to add a little bit of an extra fresh scent when I’m doing my cleaning. It’s a nice pick-me-up and if you choose a springy scent, you can really make yourself feel like you’ve escaped winter and landed firmly in spring. Scent really is a powerful thing! Sometimes, just a scented cleaning product is enough, or other times I like to use a scented candle or add some essential oils to my diffuser or humidifier. I like to make sure that I don’t overdo it though. We’re going for the feeling of fresh air here, not the perfume section of a department store. 🙂 I like to add my extra scent in just one room of the house, that way I’ll just catch a hint of it as I’m walking around throughout the day. For the rest of the house, just the fresh smell of a clean house is enough. The key with adding in an extra home scent is to make it noticeable, the way you suddenly notice the smell of rain or fresh-cut grass when you step outside your door. The differing scents as you walk through different rooms are really what makes it feel fresh! Too much of a good thing just gets, well, stale. 🙂
If you’d like to try out the new Scentiva cleaners in your home, make sure you use the Cartwheel deal the next time you’re at Target!
How do you like to freshen up the air in your home at the end of a long winter?
Courtenay Hartford is the author of creeklinehouse.com, a blog based on her adventures renovating a 120-year-old farmhouse in rural Ontario, Canada. On her blog, Courtenay shares interior design tips based on her own farmhouse and her work as founder and stylist of the interior photography firm Art & Spaces. She also writes about her farmhouse garden, plant-based recipes, family travel, and homekeeping best practices. Courtenay is the author of the book The Cleaning Ninja and has been featured in numerous magazines including Country Sampler Farmhouse Style, Better Homes and Gardens, Parents Magazine, Real Simple, and Our Homes.