7 Easy DIY Air Freshener Ideas For Your Home

Most of us would agree that being in a clean, organized and fresh-smelling space makes us happy. Yet, no matter how hard we try, sometimes funky smells make it into our homes, whether it’s a wet dog coming in from a rainy walk or a smoker who lives next door and decides to use the outdoor patio as an ashtray. To help freshen up the air in your space, try a DIY air freshener.

All of these ideas are cheap and easy to make with just a few ingredients, some of which are as close as your refrigerator or pantry.

1. Embrace biophilic design

Windowsill of bioliphic plantsWindowsill of bioliphic plants

Biophilic design considers plants in our interior environment, and while the jury is still out on whether houseplants help purify the air or not, there’s no dispute that they do a lot of good for our mental health.

Still, some houseplants emit wonderful scents including hyacinths, gardenias, scented geraniums and lavender.

2. Dry fresh lavender

Dried Lavendar in a vaseDried Lavendar in a vase

Lavender and lavender oil have long been considered powerful in terms of helping with inducing calm, better sleep and overall mental health. Fresh lavender is delightful in any home, but you can reap the benefits for several months if you dry them, since the scent doesn’t immediately dissipate.

Arrange fresh lavender in a pretty jar or vase, and let it dry naturally to enjoy for months to come.

3. Hang eucalyptus

Eucalyptus plants hanging on wallEucalyptus plants hanging on wall

Similar to lavender, eucalyptus comes with its own host of health and wellness benefits. From warding off mosquitos to reducing some pains, eucalyptus does more than just smell great in your home.

Hang some in your shower to enjoy some zen time or weave eucalyptus boughs into a frame to enjoy its dried scent as wall décor, too.

4. DIY lemon (or lime) wheels

Table full of citrus wedgesTable full of citrus wedges

In only a couple of steps, you’ll have an easy DIY air freshener.

  1. Thinly slicing any type of citrus fruit
  2. Bake the fruit slices at 200 degrees until they’re dry to the touch (usually a couple of hours for smaller fruits like lemons and limes and approximately four hours for larger ones like oranges and grapefruits)
  3. Place them anywhere in your home to freshen up your space

You can also grind them using a coffee grinder or spice mill to produce powder and make salt and sugar scrubs.

5. Citrus spray air freshener

DIY cleaning spray made with lemonsDIY cleaning spray made with lemons

If you prefer to use a spray air freshener or to wipe down spills or clean surfaces, this citrus spray air freshener is both eco-friendly and easy to make. Bonus is that the fresh scent lingers well past the time you wash up your space.

All you need is vinegar, citrus fruit like lemon, lime or orange (pick your fragrance preference) and a jar. It does take a couple of weeks to make this green cleaning product, but it’s well worth having it on hand whenever you need it.

6. Essential oils as deodorizers

Row of essential oilsRow of essential oils

Essential oils smell great, come packed with a host of medicinal benefits and can work in both small or large spaces as an air freshener. Experiment with how many drops you’ll need or want, since some people prefer a light fragrance, while others prefer something heavier.

A good rule of thumb is to fill a wide-mouthed Mason jar with eight to 12 drops of your favorite essential oil for smaller spaces and a half cup of baking soda (that’s it). Bigger spaces will require more drops but, again, you can choose how many based on your aromatic preference.

7. Stovetop potpourri

Pitcher of fresh cinammon sticksPitcher of fresh cinammon sticks

Sometimes an air freshener is just minutes away, thanks to your pantry. Fill a stockpot with water and throw in some cinnamon sticks, whole star anise and cloves for a delightful licorice scent once the water begins to boil.

If licorice isn’t your scent style, cinnamon sticks on their own will make your home smell like you have cinnamon rolls baking in the oven.

Another way to get a sweet smell wafting throughout your apartment is with a few drops of vanilla or almond extract in a simmering pot. For spring, consider adding lemons, fresh thyme or lavender to the pot for a more a springtime air freshening scent. Experiment with scents you love to create your own signature stovetop potpourri recipe.

Keeping it fresh and affordable with a DIY air freshener

With these DIY air freshener ideas, you can keep your place smelling naturally fresh without having to break the bank.

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Source: apartmentguide.com

How to Remove Dark Stains from Your Whites

We’ve all been there. You’re on a date, wearing fresh white clothes, and suddenly a meatball rolls off your fork and onto your shirt. Or, you’re rushing out of the coffee shop on the way to work and someone accidentally bumps into you– as a result, the hot coffee spills down the front of your classic white button-down shirt.

Sometimes it seems like stains seek out clothes made of white material. You never have an accident when you’re wearing a dark shirt! Luckily, there are ways to remove stains from whites before they start to set in– and the best stain remover may be sitting in your pantry. Here’s a basic guide to get those pesky stains out.

Step 1: Keeping the stain from setting

The most important step, and this applies to any stains on any materials, is to keep them from setting. If it’s given time to set, it’s basically impossible to get the stain out later, so you need to start acting now.

The first thing is to remove any excess gunk. Liquids probably won’t have this, but anything thick enough to scrape (tomato sauce, mud, the like) needs to be removed immediately.

Next comes pre-treating, which depends on where you are at the time. If you’re out somewhere this is where it’s helpful to carry a stain pen with you – something like a Tide pen – to start treating the stain right away. If you’re at home, you can soak it in the sink, using the right combination of water and the right cleaner. There are different types of stains and materials to take into consideration, leading us to:

Step 2: Understanding different materials

Different fabrics react differently to stain removers, so it’s important to know what you’re working with before you get started. Always check your tags for care instructions before applying harsh bleaches or other solvents.

Here are a few common materials and the best stain remover method for each:

Cotton : Cotton is a very durable fabric, but try to avoid using bleach, even if it’s diluted. First try using a detergent or an acid, such as white vinegar or lemon juice in warm water.

Polyester: For polyester, it’s best not to use bleach at all. Use dish soap or laundry detergent.

Linen: Linen is generally sturdy but becomes weaker when it’s wet. Don’t use undiluted bleach on linens– either dilute it or use a more gentle, natural detergent.

Wool: Look for detergents that are specifically marked as safe for wool, mixed with lukewarm water.

Silk : The best stain remover for silk is glycerin, avoiding bleach altogether. You’ll want to rinse the entire garment, not just the stained area.

Step 3: Choosing the best stain remover for the job

Different stains, along with each separate type of light material, call for different methods of removal. You may even need to treat some stains a couple of different ways to remove both oil or grease and color. Here are some common stain removal methods and what stains they’re best used for:

Absorbents : Absorbents, including salt, corn starch, and talcum powder, are effective for leeching oil or grease out of fabric. After prepping the fabric with water or club soda, sprinkle an absorbent over the stain and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes, then scrape it off.

Mild Acids : Vinegar and lemon juice are effective on liquid stains, like coffee or tea. These acids won’t damage fabrics, so it’s a good idea to try them with any stain before moving onto harsher methods.

Detergents : Dish detergents are particularly adept at removing oil and grease stains.

Bleach : There are two types of bleach: oxidized and chlorine. Chlorine is very harsh and should be avoided as much as possible for most fabrics. Oxidized bleach, like hydrogen peroxide, is good for treating greaseless color stains– say, from sweat, makeup, or wine.

Glycerin : Glycerin can be bought at any grocery or drug store, and is also effective at removing colors. Use glycerin for treating ink or dye stains. 

Read more: Stay Safe When Cleaning

Take it to a professional

After you apply whatever you decide is the best stain remover for your particular mishap, wash the garment like you normally would. Before it goes in the dryer, check to see if the wash cycle cleared up the last of the stain, or if there’s any remaining. If the stain is still prominent, take it to a dry cleaner and let them have a go at it.

The donts of removing stains from whites

Never apply pressure when you’re trying to remove a dark stain from a white material. The pressure can force the stain further into the fabric, making it more likely to bond and set. Soak the fabric in a stain remover of your choice or lightly dab the stained area with a cotton ball or damp rag. Don’t use hot water, and no drying or ironing the fabric until the stain is completely gone.

Read more: Tips to Maximize Your Laundry Trips and How to Keep You Apartment Cleaning Earth-Friendly

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

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Source: apartmentguide.com

9 Pantry Essentials to Stock Up on if You Want to Cook More

A father cooks in the kitchen while he holds his infant daughter

Marcelo Avila holds his daughter while cooking dinner in St. Petersburg, Fla. Keeping some basic pantry essentials on hand allows you to whip up tasty meals with minimal effort. Some basics include pasta sauce, chicken broth and coconut milk. Sharon Steinmann/The Penny Hoarder

You finished another long day at work, and you’re ready to kick back.

But you’re hangry, and the last thing you want to do is stand over a hot stove and make dinner.

We’ve all been there. Saving money doesn’t mean becoming a superhuman who can ignore the stress of the day to create a three-course, budget-friendly meal.

Saving money on food comes down to working smarter, not harder. And that starts with keeping some basic pantry essentials on hand at all times, so you can whip up tasty meals with minimal effort (and thinking).

The Budget Cook’s 9 Kitchen Pantry Essentials

If you’re trying to cut down on eating out and looking to stock your cabinets on the cheap, grab these pantry essentials to build quick and easy low-cost meals.

1. Whole Grains and Breads

  • Oatmeal
  • Quinoa
  • Rice
  • Bread
  • Tortillas
Oatmeal, Quinoa, rice and tortillas in a kitchen.
Sharon Steinmann/The Penny Hoarder

Quinoa and rice are standard bases for taco bowls, curries and fried rice. What you may not realize is that oatmeal is just as versatile. In addition to overnight oats and oatmeal cookies, you can create a savory breakfast bowl by adding some cheese and an egg.

Throw anything between two slices of bread and call it a sandwich, or add some cheese in a tortilla and call it a quesadilla. These vessels are a tasty way to mix up the delivery of leftovers to your mouth.

Reducing food waste for the win!

2. Pasta

  • Spaghetti
  • Penne

You don’t necessarily need these specific noodles, but a long noodle and a short noodle will do all the things you need noodles to do.

Say that 10 times fast.

Your short noodle can make mac and cheese or a great pasta primavera with leftover veggies. Long noodles are made for a good sauce like Alfredo, pesto or marinara.

3. Beans and Legumes

  • Chickpeas
  • Lentils
  • Black beans
  • Kidney beans
Beans and lentils in glass jars
Sharon Steinmann/The Penny Hoarder

Beans and legumes cost a fraction of the price of meat, making them an affordable way to add protein to soups, chilis and tacos. Roasted chickpeas make a healthy salad topper, while lentils are great for a fantastic curry.

You can buy these canned, but buying them dry is even cheaper. Bonus: You can store them in decorative jars, and friends will think you know what you’re doing in the kitchen.

4. Baking

  • All-purpose flour
  • White sugar

All-purpose or whole-wheat flour is essential for more than just cakes and breads. You can use it to make your own pancake mix, biscuits or even fresh egg pasta. Flour is also used as a thickener in homemade sauces.

A little sugar can make a yummy sweet-and-savory sauce or quick fruit crisp in the microwave.

Sugar shouldn’t be a staple in your diet, but it’s necessary in your kitchen. You’re likely to consume less sugar when you make your sweets at home instead of buying them at the store.

5. Nuts and Seeds

  • Almonds
  • Pecans
  • Pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
Almonds and pumpkin seeds
Sharon Steinmann/The Penny Hoarder

Basic nuts and seeds have a dual purpose: They’re a great snack on their own, and they give a nice crunchy texture to salads, oatmeal and baked goods.

They’re also ultra healthy. Pumpkin seeds are chock-full of nutrients — just 1 ounce has 7 grams of protein. Nuts also contain a hefty dose of healthy fats and nutrients, so skip the chips and keep these tiny gems on hand.

6. Oil and Vinegar

  • Olive oil
  • Sesame oil
  • White vinegar
  • Apple cider vinegar

You can make some awesome marinades and salad dressings with this classic combo. Apple cider vinegar makes a tasty vinaigrette; add sesame oil to peanut butter and soy sauce to create your own peanut sauce.

If you want to expand your oil and vinegar inventory, balsamic and rice vinegars add a lot of options to your pantry arsenal.

7. Condiments and Sauces

  • Mayonnaise
  • Dijon mustard
  • Soy sauce
  • Hot sauce
  • Honey
  • Peanut butter
mustard, peanut butter, honey and soy sauce jars
Sharon Steinmann/The Penny Hoarder

Much like oil and vinegar, condiments and sauces give new life to bland meats and veggies. Mix Dijon with a little oil and vinegar for a salad dressing. I’ve found that a little hot sauce corrects all recipe mistakes.

Peanut butter toast makes a great snack — and we’ve found that, surprisingly, there are a lot of household uses for it, too.

If you’ve already got a lot of condiments to work with, don’t let them die in your fridge. There are several ways to put them to good use.

8. Herbs and Aromatics

  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic
  • Cumin
  • Italian seasoning
  • Crushed red pepper

Salt and pepper are a given. But buying pre-minced garlic saves time — and allows you to add fresh garlic to anything. Cumin is a staple in Mexican dishes.

Italian seasoning is a frugal life hack. It includes all the seasonings you want in the ratio you want them, without having to buy seven different bottles.

And crushed red pepper is an easy one to have on hand because you can always refill your container with the packets that come with your pizza.

9.Canned Goods

  • Tomatoes
  • Pasta sauce
  • Coconut milk
  • Stock or bouillon
pasta sauce, broth and coconut milk on a kitchen counter
Sharon Steinmann/The Penny Hoarder

Coconut milk, stock and tomatoes are necessary bases for many soups, chilis and curries. You can also cook rice and quinoa in stock or coconut milk to add some flavor.

It’s always nice to have a fancy pasta sauce on hand if you don’t have time to make your own — even though it’s really easy.

And if you’re embarking on a pantry challenge by eating what’s on hand before buying additional groceries, having ample canned goods will help you tie together some delicious meals.

Jen Smith is a former staff writer at The Penny Hoarder.

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Source: thepennyhoarder.com

10 Filling and Cheap Pantry Staples

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Welcome back to the collaboration between Mint and Brewing Happiness. I’m Haley, the girl behind Brewing Happiness – a blog about celebrating the small healthy choices we make in our lives, complete with recipes for everybody! I’m here to give you tips on living a healthy, happy life on a budget.

Today I am going to share with you my top 10 pantry staples that are both filling and cheap. I always keep these stocked, so that I can make a healthy and satisfying meal at a moments notice. I know that eating healthy can feel daunting and expensive, so I hope this list helps dispel any fears you may have. I promise it’s easier (and more affordable) than you think to stock your shelves full of healthy food!

10 Filling and Cheap Pantry Staples

1. Tofu

Although tofu comes with a stigma, I love it because it’s so versatile and affordable. You can make sauces, scrambles or breakfast burritos with it. Or try frying it and adding it to salads or bowls. Don’t be afraid – it’s loaded with protein and super cheap.

Tofu recipes to try: The Best Tofu Scramble, Carrot Noodle Vegetarian Ramen, 30 Minute Crispy Tofu and Squash Bowl, Cajun Tofu Nuggets

2. Grains

I choose my grains based on what is on sale, but some of my favorites are rice, quinoa, farro, buckwheat, and millet. I use these as the base for most of my meals, or put them on salads. Grains are great, healthy carbs to fill you up, instead of leaving you hungry in an hour.

Grain recipes to try: Autumn Harvest Quinoa Salad, Asian Quinoa Snack Bowls, Beet Farro Mediterranean Salad, Spicy Curried Cauliflower and Millet Bowl

3. Oats

Oats are great for breakfast, but you can also blend them to make oat flour or use them in muffins or other sweet treats! It’s both the price and versatility that make oats one of my favorite pantry staples.

Oat recipes to try: Blueberry Almond Overnight Oats, No Bake Blueberry Crisp Granola Bars, Pumpkin Ginger Breakfast Cookies, Healthified Oatmeal Cream Pies

4. Beans

Beans pair great with your grains, because together they make a complete protein. Therefore, you can get full for very little money. I always keep different varieties of beans in my pantry to throw on meals for added protein and fiber.

Bean recipes to try: Healthy Southern Baked Beans, White Bean and Kale White Wine Pasta, Black Bean and Sweet Potato Taquitos

5. Chickpeas

Chickpeas are similar to beans, but I find them to be much more versatile. I use them on nearly everything. I love them straight from the can, fried, or baked. These are my go-to protein add to all salads, soups, bowls, tacos or wraps.

Chickpea recipes to try: 5 Minute Chickpea Salad Wrap, Masala Chickpeas with Coconut Rice, Vegetarian Blueberry Cobb Salad, Chickpea Street Corn Tacos

6. Potatoes

Potatoes are a filling and cheap carb to use as the base of any meal. Stuff them with tons of veggies, protein, and herbs and you have a great meal in no time! Plus, potatoes are versatile so you get a lot of bang for your buck.

Potato recipes to try: Sweet Potato Sheet Pan Dinner Salad, Spaghetti Squash Pasta with Sweet Potato Sauce, Kale and Potato Swiss Cheese Melt, Texas BBQ Potato & Tempeh Tacos

7. Lentils

Lentils can serve the same purpose as a grain, but the great part about lentils is that they are packed with protein. This makes them even more filling and worth your money, in my opinion. Use them for soups or stews or bowls or salads!

Lentil recipes to try: Lentil Sloppy Joe Stuffed Sweet Potatoes, Lentil and Sweet Potato Vegetarian Chili

8. Olive Oil

Everyone needs a fat in the kitchen to cook with. And if we are talking about getting the best quality for a budget, I think olive oil is the best choice. It works well to cook eggs with, as well as heating lunch and dinner. The versatility and price make it my go-to cooking oil.

Olive oil recipes to try: Grilled Spanish Tomato Bread, Pumpkin Chia Olive Oil Cake, Olive Oil Granola Crumble, Moroccan Harissa Salad

9. Eggs

I always have eggs in my refrigerator so that I can eat them for breakfast, add them as protein to a meal, hard boil them for snacks or use them in baked goods. While good quality eggs aren’t always that cheap, the utility wins out here.

Egg recipes to try: Greens and Brie Egg White Frittata, Apple Fennel Fall Fried Egg Sandwich, Spicy Egg and Mushroom Wrap, Smashed Potato Eggs Benedict

10. Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are not only a superfood, packed with Omega-3 fatty acids, but they become gelatinous and pudding like when soaked in liquid. Therefore I always keep some around to make an overnight breakfast pudding or a quick dessert. You don’t need a lot of seeds to make a great meal, making them pretty cost effective!

Chia seed recipes to try: Healthy Banana Pudding, Nut & Seed Overnight Porridge, Strawberry Chia Jam, Green Tea Chia Pudding

Follow along!

Over the next few months I’ll be covering a variety of ways to be healthy on a budget. Keep an eye out for those and head over to Brewing Happiness for healthy recipe inspiration in the meantime!

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Source: mint.intuit.com