Looking to eradicate many household odors? For persistent problems, use these natural remedies including eucalyptus, lemon, and vinegar.
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Household odors can be separated into two groups: acid odors, such as cigarette smoke, and alkaline odors, such as fish. Baking soda absorbs and neutralizes both types. Lemon (simmering in a pan of water on the stove) is effective at neutralizing alkaline odors. Fresh air alone will eradicate many household odors, but for persistent problems, these natural remedies (preferable to commercial air fresheners, which can contain toxic chemicals) are helpful — brought to you by Martha Stewart's Homekeeping Handbook.
Photography: Chelsea Cavanaugh2 of 8
The ancient Greeks and Romans sported leafy wreaths as symbols of power and victory. Our favorite use for them will make you feel like a champ too: Hang one in the bathroom, where the shower's steam will release their invigorating scent. We made ours from a single branch of seeded eucalyptus, secured with wire, but you could do the same with bunches of rosemary or bay laurel — the emperors' favorite.
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Ideal for scenting closets and drawers. These aromatic spheres, once carried by me-dieval kings, are prepared by studding oranges with whole cloves, spaced evenly and as close together as possible.
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To make your own, place a few drops of rose oil in a small bowl of water, then add a solubilizer (available in the cosmetics sections of health food stores) one drop at a time, to make the oil and water mix. Float rose petals on top — but change them regularly, since they turn brown within a few days.
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A bunch of tulips is more than just pretty to look at; tulips purify air by helping to remove the formaldehyde given off by new kitchen cabinets or furni- ture made with medium-density fiberboard. Bamboo palms, azaleas, and rubber plants are also believed to have this ability.
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To eliminate strong odors from cooking fish or vegetables that give off sulfur odors, such as broccoli, cauliflower, or cabbage, simmer half a dozen lemon slices and a handful of cloves in a pan of water for ten minutes.
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A small dish of vinegar can neutralize cigarette smoke, cooking odors, and musty smells. To get rid of a musty smell in old bureau drawers, fill a glass dish with 1⁄2 inch of white vinegar and set it in the drawer until the smell goes away. Make sure the dish has high sides to prevent spilling.
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Sold in hardware stores in pouches or in a shaker can, zeo- lite is a nontoxic, odorless volcanic rock. It removes smoke, cooking, and pet odors. To eliminate mustiness, hang pouches in a closet or basement, or use the powder to tackle spot odors.