Winter can bring on the blues, especially if you’re cooped up inside all day. But one of the greatest pleasures of winter is coming home or waking up to a cozy smelling home. If your winter scents are warm (bring on the cookies) earthy (we love a good pine tree smell), fruity (cranberries please?), or fresh (can’t say no to a good crisp linen smell), a delicious smelling home is one of the greatest pleasures of winter. But most candles, we hate to say, are REALLY bad for the planet and our health. Many candles are made from paraffin wax, which studies show can release cancer-causing chemicals and be harmful to people with respiratory issues like asthma. And since paraffin is a petroleum product (yes, you read that right), when it burns it produces potentially damaging byproducts like greenhouse gasses, which is not very friendly to Mother Nature. But never fear! We have some DIY eco-friendly winter scents that you can make in your own home which not only are great for the environment but smell delicious too!
DIY Eco-Friendly Winter Scents
Beeswax or Coconut Wax Candles
Contrary to popular belief, soy candles are not the best for the environment. Even though it’s a natural, renewable, and biodegradable wax that burns slowly and cleanly, there are many concerns regarding the massive soybean industry, like deforestation and the use of pesticides and fertilizers.
Beeswax candles are a great option, but for our vegan friends out there, not always the best solution. However, it’s a natural, biodegradable wax that burns slowly, and it naturally cleans the air by neutralizing toxins. It’s smokeless and sootless, and best in its natural, uncolored and honey scented form. The colors differ between different waxes depending what the bees have lived on.
Coconut wax candles are the purest, most eco-friendly and luxurious wax used today (hence more expensive). It burns slowly and cleanly and throws scent very well. That’s why we go nuts for coconut candles!
You can learn how to make coconut wax candles here.
Essential Oil Diffusers or Reed Diffusers
Essential oils are great as they’re not loaded with lots of hidden chemicals and has the added benefit of not being an open flame (though we can’t promise your kids and pets won’t knock this over!)
Essential oil diffusers distribute your choice of scent to the room by traveling up wooden rods that sit in a decorative bottle. With a few household items, you can easily make your own for a fraction of the cost of store-bought diffuser kits in just a few minutes. Find out how here.
You can also use reed sticks with your essential oils. Make your own here.
Potpourri is a mixture of scented dried or moist plant materials made to perfume a space in the human home. It’s a lovely way to bring nature into the home environment, to use natural materials to add both scent and color to your living space. It’s perfect for the environment, because everything in your homemade version will biodegrade eventually!
Check out how to make some stove top potpourri at home here.
Have you ever heard of a pomander? Medieval herbalists used pomanders—mixtures of fragrant, dried herbs in cloth bags or perforated boxes—to ward off illness or bring strength and good fortune. Today, pomander balls are usually a lot simpler; most consist of an orange or other citrus fruit studded with cloves and dusted with other spices. Perfectly eco-friendly!
For the ultimate good-smelling, easy DIY activity: make pomanders! Simply poke whole cloves into an orange… and you’re done! (Tip: to avoid hurting your fingertips, poke holes in the orange first with a toothpick and then add the cloves.)
Room sprays are another quick and easy way to make a room smell good, just look for products that are free of parabens/other toxins + no animal testing.
Want to make your own? Try this recipe.
No matter how you scent your home, we hope you make it eco-friendly, chemical-free, and oh, we’re a fan of anything vanilla scented. Just an FYI 😉