The best way to fake a freshly cleaned kitchen

With a little help from the bar cart . . .

Published April 6, 2021 7:30AM (EDT)

 (Mark Weinberg / Food52)
(Mark Weinberg / Food52)

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A clean house is visibly easy to spot: Everything is in place; there are no dusty corners, splatter-stained stovetops, or crumb-strewn floors. But our noses can often detect clean and dirty spaces, too. Much like the immediate comfort derived from the smells of short ribs braising or bread baking, the gratifying smell of freshly laundered linens or your favorite household floor cleaner after a morning of cleaning is hard to overstate. Conversely, pet funk, mustiness, and unwashed linen are dead giveaways of a space that needs attention.

Luckily, there is a quick way to de-stink your home and mask odors — aka, fake a clean home — in a pinch. A DIY room spray! The best part? It's so easy to make. All you need is a dark-colored glass spritzer bottle (darker bottles protect the oils better) and three simple ingredients — water, alcohol, and essential oils. And sure, you can buy an air freshener, but who needs another reason to bring a single-use bottle, not to mention chemicals, into the home.

Plus, essential oils are fun and flexible: If you don't have a standout favorite, you can blend and combine different oils until you find just the right fragrance to hit the right notes of a fresh home — paired with a good basic cleaning routine, naturally.

Put the spray to use on days when you wake up to the smell of last night's dinner, on your tired upholstered furniture (just don't drench it), or on your pillows for a better night's sleep. Here's how to make it.

What you'll need:

- A 4-ounce dark spray bottle 
- 3 tablespoons water 
- 2-3 tablespoons vodka (witch hazel or rubbing alcohol are good substitutes) 
- 30-40 drops of a single essential oil such as lavender, or a combination of oils like rosemary and peppermint or lemon and lavender (combine in a bowl if you're mixing oils)

How to make it: 

Step 1: Mix your oils in a bowl. 
Step 2: Combine the water, vodka and oil(s) in the bottle using a funnel to pour. (The bottles I use come with one.) 
Step 3: Cap the lid on tight and shake well to mix (I find that dancing while shaking helps). 
Step 4: If you're unsure, before you use this for any purpose that involves skin contact, test it first. 
Step 4: Use it. 
Step 5: Store it in a cool, dark spot.

Note: This spray will last, however the scent might fade over time, so I'd advise you to make it in smaller batches.

Of course, there are other ways to make sure your home smells amazing: cleaning out your trash can regularly, for instance, or using a DIY scented all-purpose cleaner. A sweet-smelling grocery-store bouquet or (this is easy) scented candle will do the trick, as well. 

More cleaning tips:

By Arati Menon

MORE FROM Arati Menon

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