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DIY alternatives to toxic air fresheners.

Glade plug-ins, Wick air freshener beads, or heavy clouds of Febreze could seem like good solutions to pet odors. But these olfactory-pleasing mixtures may risk our pets’ health.

Chemicals in commercially sold air fresheners contain Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). Indoor concentrations of VOCs can cause headaches, sore throats, and sometimes liver damage in people. VOCs pose a greater threat to household pets who have higher metabolic rates and lower lung capacities than humans.

Since plug-in air fresheners can be toxic to your cat, consider switching to something pet friendly. You may discover that you prefer natural, gentler scents, too. Here are our favorite tips and recipes to make your house smell crisp and clean.

Spicy brews to prepare in the slow cooker.

Herbs, spices, citrus peels, or mints can simmer on a stovetop or in a slow cooker as a cat-friendly air freshener. You’ll want to check any concoction on the stove regularly, but you can switch a crockpot on low and leave it alone. Imagine coming home from work to find rich, zesty odors wafting through the house.

We love this trick so much we’re experimenting with different scents. Our favorites include:


  • Rosemary Lemon
      • One sliced lemon
      • Several sprigs of fresh rosemary
      • One teaspoon of vanilla extract
      • Two cups of water

  • Holiday Delight
      • Peels from two apples
      • Six cinnamon sticks
      • Two tablespoons of whole cloves
      • One teaspoon of vanilla
      • One orange peel
      • ¼ cup of fresh or frozen cranberries

  • Cinnamon Orange
      • Two quartered oranges
      • Six cinnamon sticks
      • Two tablespoons of whole cloves
      • Two cups of water (more as needed)

    These and other slow-cooker recipes make delicious-smelling, cat-friendly alternatives to commercial air fresheners. Try mixing your favorite herbs and spices to devise the perfect fragrance for your home.

    Make aromatic aerosol mists.

    Replace your store-bought aerosol sprays with a natural, safe mist you create yourself. A spray bottle, ¾ cup of water, two tablespoons of vodka, and 20 drops of vanilla extract can have your place smelling sweet in no time.

    Many DIY recipes call for essential oils, but these can harm cats if the animals come into direct contact with them. If you use essential oils in your home, close your oil bottles, wipe them down, and safely put them away. When working with essential oils, double check that kitty isn’t in the room. These oils can cause internal or external burns if they touch your pets’ skin or fur.

    As with any scented mixture, keep your mists subtle. A cat’s sense of smell is 14 times stronger than a human’s. That’s why it can be a good idea to set apart one fragrance-free room so your cat can retreat to it.

    Craft cat-safe sachets.

    To refresh closets, sheets, and bureau drawers, try making your own scented sachets.Pretty Frugal offers one simple recipe that’s cute and fun to make. You can drop these sachets in lots ofgreat places around the house. And if you’re a real DIYer, you can evenstitch those charming sachet bags themselves. For those folks who don’t care for strong scents, try stuffing your sachets with either baking soda or cedar shavings.

    How to clean your carpet safely, naturally, and effectively.

    Carpet traps cat hair, holds unpleasant pet odors, and gets stained from simple things like hairballs. For carpet cleaning, baking soda will be your best friend. Buy it in bulk. Use it to blot wet stains and to sprinkle on the carpet before running the vacuum. Baking soda also works as a litter box deodorizer.

    For a liquid stain remover, blend equal parts white vinegar and water. This mixture can help lift the smell and stain ofcat urine in carpet. Remember, if your cat is urinating outside the litter box, make sure the litter box is properly placed, and have your pet checked for a urinary tract infection.

    Your pets will thank you for choosing natural air freshening techniques and so will guests who suffer from asthma or allergies. Homemade deodorizers can keep your home feeling clean and smelling great as well as staying safe for the furry members of the family.