The women in air freshener commercials seem so blissfully delighted with their candles, burners, sprayers and squirters they barely can contain themselves. Naturally, they represent the typical American mom approximately as accurately as June Cleaver and Betty Anderson stood for women of their generation. No self-respecting domestic goddess ever would question the value of aromatic air freshener-especially if it has cleansing and therapeutic properties built right in. But every self-respecting super-mom must shake her ponytail in disgust at the commercial versions of floral and herbal air sanitizers, because they do as much to contaminate our indoor ecosystems as they do to cleanse them. Full of preservatives, propellants, artificial ingredients, and dissolved particulates from the cans, store bought air fresheners qualify as leaders in the "just plain nasty" league. The canned stuff has as much in common with genuine aromatherapy air freshener as we resemble Harriet Nelson or Pat Nixon.
Because worldwide economic catastrophe has rendered all of us "depression children," we should take a few pages from our grandmothers' playbooks, finding natural and inexpensive ways to make our homes happier and healthier without investing in spray cans and non-recyclable plastic gismos. And home-built aromatherapy air fresheners cost so little and work so well we ought to kick ourselves for the decadence of our old 1990's pre-processed, pre-packaged, mega-packed ways.
If you can boil water and shake the contents of a spray bottle, you can concoct and decant aromatherapy air fresheners guaranteed to make your house by far the freshest, healthiest, and way-coolest on the block.
Befriend the Vanilla Bean
The simplest, most effortless, and arguably the most potent aromatherapy air fresheners involve very little more than a trip to the pantry. Surely, you stock vanilla extract, almond extract, cinnamon, and nutmeg for your holiday baking needs; almost as surely, when the holidays pass and, thank goodness, the family goes back to work and school, you probably return your precious spices and extracts to their little cubbies. Bust 'em out. Fill your crockpot half-full with purified water, adding approximately a teaspoon of vanilla and another teaspoon of almond-no measurement required, really. Sprinkle your pumpkin pie spices liberally across the water's surface, deftly setting the knob to medium, waiting just a few minutes for your whole house to smell as though you've baked all night and day. Delicious - and amazingly comforting, because all those familiar, warm and friendly fragrances remind you of grandma's house.
Feel free, however, to take it up a notch or two. Grandma had a secret recipe for vanilla scented aromatherapy air freshener that packed more cleansing, freshening, and purifying punch than enomeno; and it came with a healthy dose of the fun factor, too. The vanilla bean remains the star of this little air freshening aromatherapy extravaganza, but vodka gives the potion its tantalizing edge. Invest in a pound of fresh vanilla beans and an inexpensive fifth of vodka. Slice each vanilla bean in half, placing the halved beans in a hefty spray bottle; add almost all the vodka, saving one properly medicinal shot for your own invigoration and edification, and then store your vanilla-vodka mix in a cool, dark, safe and secret place for thirty days. Of course, as the brew matures for a month, the vodka will free the vanilla's spirited essences as potently as it acts on yours. The alcohol makes the mix a powerful anti-bacterial and anti-viral; the vanilla makes the mix smell delectable. Spray liberally all around every room and prepare not only for pleasant scent but also profound feelings of contentment.