A clean home smells good, but even in the cleanest of homes, unpleasant odors have a way of cropping up, perhaps from dampness or food gone bad. There is a way to get rid of yucky odors naturally, avoiding products that contain toxic substances. The solution is using essential oils. They are antibacterial, smell good and even enhance mood. Aromatherapist Mindy Green, coauthor of Aromatherapy: A Complete Guide to the Healing Art, recommends essential oils such as eucalyptus, geranium and lavender and citrus to eradicate odors. Find out what these oils can do…

Smells like:
Menthol, woodsy, fresh
Effect: Stimulating

Smells like:
Roses, with a minty undertone
Effect: Calming, can be uplifting

Smells like:
Sweet flowers with an evergreen undertone
Effect: Calming

Smells like:
Lemon, lime, grapefruit or orange
Effect: Energizing


Mist the air. Fill a clean glass spray bottle with about four ounces of water. Add about 10 drops of the essential oil and shake. Then simply mist the air. This technique works on any type of room odor, including in the bathroom. When misting, don’t aim the spray bottle directly over wood furniture or a wood floor because the oils can stain the wood. When you’ve finished misting, store the unused portion in a cool, dark place. The fragrance lasts for about 15 minutes (or longer if you mist more heavily). To freshen air for long periods of time, use a room diffuser, an electric device that uses a cold mist to diffuse the essential oil and water into the air. Prices range from $60 to $100. One brand to try: H2EO Aircare. Clean the device often to avoid bacterial buildup.

Freshen up small spaces. Add a few drops of essential oil to small cotton pads, and leave the pads in a closet or any other small space that has an unpleasant odor. When the pad dries, the smell dissipates. If the unpleasant odor persists, use another oiled pad.

Essential oils can be purchased in health-food stores and online. Cost: Generally about $6 for one-half ounce.