Home Scents

To the Marvelous Minds at The Maids, 

In addition to being not-so-strangely addicted to the freshly-cleaned home smell your team always leaves behind, I love sniffing the scents of the season. What I don’t love, however, are scented candles; they never seem to smell as good as the real thing, and I’m trying to avoid the whole open-flame-near-toddlers-and-dogs thing.  

Do you have any ideas what I could use to keep my house smelling fresh, clean, and welcoming? 

Smell you later (next week??),

Scented Sarah


Scented Sarah,

I’m so glad you wrote when you did. My teenage sons just walked through the door after football practice, and the first thing I thought of–other than reminding them I bought them all new, powerful soap and deodorant–was how much I wished my house smelled like … anything else.

When that happens, the first thing I like to do is put a small pot of aromatics on the stove. This does four things pretty much instantly:

  1. It lets me use things I would have otherwise thrown away (orange peels apple cores, expired spices, and more).
  2. It makes it look like I’m cooking. (I’m awful at it, but I like to pretend.)
  3. It makes my house smell like someone who loves it lives there.
  4. I get to say the word “aromatics,” which makes me feel fancy and sophisticated.

The best thing about simmering aromatics is there really aren’t any rules. You warm a small pot of water and add what you have on hand: ginger peels, orange peels, the bruised apple your toddler decided he didn’t want, cinnamon sticks, and more. Think about your favorite combinations and get to simmering–your house will smell amazing in no time. And a small slow cooker works, too!

Something else I like to do in spring and summer is put a few drops of my favorite essential oils on my HVAC filter. Peppermint is my favorite, but orange peel, lemongrass, chamomile, and rosemary all work well, too. Turn the fan on at your thermostat, and you can almost feel the smell filter through the entire house.

Other than that, you’ve got a great start. A regular housecleaning from The Maids goes a long way to keeping your house from being overrun by the germs, mildew, and funk, which have no problem making themselves known to your nostrils. Take it from this mom of teenagers–sometimes the best smell a home can have is no smell at all!

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