How To Use Gardenias Straight From The Garden To Get Rid Of Funky Home Odors

Make your home smell like you should be sipping mint juleps on the veranda with gardenias, a symbol of the south and a uniquely fragrant funk-fighter. As a primary element in many perfumes and air fresheners, this popular flower has a fruity, zesty aroma that's hard to dislike. With nothing more than a bowl of water and a small bouquet of gardenias, these southern-scented summer blossoms are an eco-friendly way to tame a stinky room.

In an unfortunately large number of homes, summer weather ushers in humidity and pollen that make air conditioning a necessity for getting through the season. With closed windows and doors, you're more likely to have odors that build up. Using the famous fragrance of gardenias is an appealing way to bring summer indoors when you need a scent boost. To use them for this DIY, you'll need a pretty bowl and enough blooms to fill it from edge to edge. Add water to the bowl, trim the stems, and place enough of the blossoms stem-end down in the container so the water isn't visible. Let the iconic aroma fill your space and mask any unwanted smells. This heady bouquet may inspire southern living enough to make you paint your porch roof blue!

Fresh gardenias provide safe, eco-friendly scents

Besides the obvious visual appeal and summery aroma, freshening your air with flowers rather than commercial products is healthier for you and the planet. There's enough evidence that you should stop using air fresheners in your home immediately in favor of a natural solution. Opting for fresh-cut gardenias over conventional air fresheners limits toxins in your household and reduces your environmental impact.

There's a pretty convincing body of research on the dangerous ingredients in many air freshening products. The University of Massachusetts Amherst's Department of Environmental Health and Safety reported that using air fresheners can lead to high levels of unsavory compounds like formaldehyde, ethyl benzene, and toluene in your home. Indoor pollutants can lead to respiratory problems, nausea, migraines, and even neurological problems. Additionally, the typical air freshener you pick up at the grocery store harms the environment far beyond the pollutants it pumps into the air you breathe. Manufacturing the product and its packaging, energy-intensive shipping to retailers, and then disposal of the empty containers don't lend themselves to an environmentally responsible lifestyle.

Save the scent for later with gardenia extract

You don't have to limit your enjoyment of gardenias to just the growing season. While the flowers are in bloom, brew up some gardenia extract for an easy way to perfume your place long after the gardenia bushes have gone dormant. To make this elixir, you'll need a clean quart-sized Mason jar, three to four freshly-cut gardenia blossoms, and 6 ounces of a high-proof alcohol like vodka or grain alcohol.

Remove the petals from the flowers, tear them into pieces, and place them in the jar. Pour the vodka over the petals, cover the jar, and set the mixture in a dark place. Let the ingredients steep for eight to ten weeks. Once it's ready, strain the liquid into another jar and use it as a room spray or in a diffuser. Get the most out of your homemade scent by following our guide on how to effectively use a reed diffuser.