Air Freshener Needed? Green Tea to the Rescue!

If you're one of the millions that spends part of your grocery budget on air fresheners, you might think twice before buying any more.

Author Melissa Breyer explained that while they might make the air smell good and make us feel warm and cozy, they can also make us feel itchy, congested, achy, and woozy. I'll spare you the science, but solid research says chemical-based air fresheners contribute to a lot of serious physical ailments in all ages of folks.

So must we reconcile ourselves to living with bad odors? Nope. We can remove bad odors instead of masking them! For instance:

Open windows.

dannyboy of the odor with non-toxic products.

Empty the garbage frequently.

Burn 100 percent pure beeswax candles with 100 percent cotton wicks--they purify and clean the air.

Use an open box of baking soda for smelly rooms.

Cultivate house plants. They clear carbon dioxide and other toxins from the air. Green the place up!

And here's a clever idea. We know the latest studies prove drinking green tea is good for us on many levels. But did you know it's also a genius way to refresh your home? A wonderful read, BOOK OF GREEN TEA, by Diana Rosen, gives us the how-to.

She says that after you've absorbed the health benefits from your cup of green tea, recycle the leaves. Use them to feed your house and garden plants--green tea is high in nitrogen--and they will even ward off pests and insects.

But more to the point of this column: Tea leaves have a long tradition of being used as a deodorizer. Tea is loaded with catechins, anti-oxidants that have antibacterial properties. This makes them perfect odor-fighters.

So when finished brewing your tea, place the leaves into a large strainer or colander. Press out as much moisture as possible, and then spread the leaves on unprinted paper. Let the leaves dry thoroughly, turning over several times in the process. Then, use the amazing alternative to nasty, chemical-loaded processed air fresheners on:

Carpets and Vacuum. Sprinkle dry tea leaves onto your carpet, crush them lightly and let them sit for 10 minutes, then vacuum. The carpet will be refreshed and the vacuum bag will be deodorized.

Yoga Mats and air mattresses. A strong pot of green tea is all you need to sanitize them.

Litter Boxes. Used green tea leaves are wonderful in kitty litter as an extra boost for diffusing odors, and they help deter fleas from both cats and dogs. Pet Beds. Sprinkle dried used green tea leaves on your pet's favorite pillow or bed. Great in doghouses or anywhere troublesome pet odors occur. Although a bit extravagant, loose leaf gunpowder tea is great for dogs to roll around in. The crunching of the pellets releases a wonderful aroma, and helps to scratch wherever dogs have an itch. The pellets help give your dog a more pleasant smell.

Refrigerators. Place used green tea bags or leaves in a small bowl, uncovered, in the fridge to help absorb odors from onions and garlic for about three days. NO need to throw them out even then, just sprinkle the old leaves around your ferns, rosebushes, or other plants.

Kitchen Odors. Preparing fish? Chopping garlic? Rid your hands of the fish or garlic oils by rubbing them with wet green tea leaves, an instant deodorizer. The leaves are also great for deodorizing and cleaning the pan in which you cook fish or garlic. As well, rub wet tea leaves on cutting boards to remove odors there.

(Note: Wet tea leaves can stain, so if you are using wet tea leaves on or near a stainable surface be sure to test in an inconspicuous place first.)


    Alice Osborne
    Weekly Newsletter Contributor since 2006
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