Unconventional air fresheners
June 27, 2008 11:16 AM   Subscribe

Coffee beans as an air freshener?

I read somewhere on the net that coffee beans are good to leave around the house as their scent helps to clean the nasal palate and eliminate other odors.

What other natural ingredients may be used in this same way? Conventional air fresheners like candles, flowers, and sprays make me physically ill for some odd reason.
posted by cazoo to Home & Garden (12 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I've spritzed begamot essential oil mixed with vodka around, and it really seems to freshen the air.
posted by Solomon at 11:23 AM on June 27, 2008

Conventional air fresheners like candles, flowers,

Do you also mean dried flowers? Because lavender is fantastic and famous as an air freshener. You can tie a bunch and hang it upside down in your closets, or put some buds in a bit of cloth and tie it up and put it in drawers and cabinets. I just bought a large bunch and a small bunch about 10 minutes ago...see? I just hang it on a cabinet handle or the back of a chair. It's a sweet scent - not sure if you find that appealing. I definitely think that natural is the way to go. No one needs to be breathing in all the crap that's in those air freshener sprays.
posted by iconomy at 11:31 AM on June 27, 2008

To suck up weird smells, try putting out a dish of plain old vinegar. When I moved into my first apartment, one of the bathrooms had been "unmaintained cat home" for two years and smelled like a thousand kinds of cat pee death. Two days with a dish of vinegar helped immensely.
posted by phunniemee at 11:33 AM on June 27, 2008 [2 favorites]

A couple of drops of vanilla and a dash of cinnamon in a small amount of water on the stove burner.

Burnt toast is not a great smell, but it masks almost any other odour. (this one told to me by a pot-smoker. dunno about it masking that, but it sure takes care of things like when the freezer died while i was gone and when i opened it.. ouhhhghhh)
posted by reflecked at 11:39 AM on June 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

Simmering a cut-up apple or and orange, along with cloves/cinnamon/whatever, on the stove in some water works really well, although it tends to be a sort of seasonal scent. You can also do the same with pine needles or for a more subtle scent, just leave the pine needles out in a dish.
posted by stefnet at 11:43 AM on June 27, 2008

When I buy spices to replace old, stale ones, I put the old ones in a sock and throw that in my car. Cinnamon sticks, cloves, allspice, sure, but also fennel and thyme and oregano and such.
posted by MrMoonPie at 11:54 AM on June 27, 2008

buy your favorite herbs and dry them from home. But remember, with anything else, you need to put them in a dry cool place so it doesn't get moldy. I put used coffee grounds in the refrigerator which helps to eliminate odor.
posted by icollectpurses at 11:59 AM on June 27, 2008

Seconding lavender. I sprinkle around oil from the health food store. Especially if something stinks or I'm expecting guests, but anytime really.
posted by StickyCarpet at 5:08 PM on June 27, 2008

Baking soda is quite good for absorbing odours. You can leave a box out and also mix some with water and spray it in the air with a little natural scent like lemon or vanilla extract.
posted by Kirjava at 5:18 PM on June 27, 2008

Aim for living air fresheners.

Live lavender, mint, etc.

Coffee and anything dried (with the exception of heavily chemicalized potpurri, etc.) will lose strength rapidly.

Not to mention the double benefit of having fresh herbs at hand..
posted by bradly at 5:29 PM on June 27, 2008

Coffee beans are very oily so I'm not following how they would do anything but mask other smells.

What's the problem? Do you just like the idea of a jazzy scent? Or do you have something you are dealing with?

Baking soda and vinegar are the super powers of being fresh and clean. There are also some enzyme products for pet pee problems that really do a number on funkified apartments - mold, years of greasy food smells, etc. - and leave a non-cloying scent.

Grapefruit seed-based cleaning solutions are also a nice break from flowers.

Eucalyptus has a mild scent.

If go for oils, remember that they can cause problems for cats and some birds.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 8:26 PM on June 27, 2008

I'm sorry, I should have mentioned that I'm also dealing with my cat's litter box which is intensified in the Summer heat.
posted by cazoo at 9:37 PM on June 27, 2008

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