incense

Confession: I love incense! There’s something about the smell of Nag Champa that’s just relaxing and rejuvenating, but burning incense is bad for your indoor air quality and for your health. Luckily, you can still have a great-smelling home without all of that smoke!

Just like cigarette smoke, incense releases the carcinogen benzene into the air when you burn it. Exposure to benzene can cause symptoms like headaches and nausea, and in some cases even contributes to leukemia. No, thank you! Next time you’re tempted to reach for those incense sticks, try one of these methods instead.

1. Try an Oil Burner

Oil burners put out little to no smoke, and calling them “burners” kind of gives the wrong impression. They’re more like oil warmers. Your basic oil burner has a small cup or bowl suspended above a tea light. For even better indoor air quality, make sure that you choose a healthy candle.

To use it, just put a few drops of your favorite essential oil along with a few tablespoons of water into the resevoir, light your candle, and the heat from the tea light gently warms the oil, releasing its scent into the house.

You can find oil burners online or at most head shops, or if you’re feeling crafty, it’s easy to make your own from an old tin can! The instructables directions don’t call for using water, but I’ve found that it makes the oil release its scent more slowly, so you get a mellower smell that lasts a little bit longer.

2. To the Oven!

This is an old realtors’s trick, but I don’t see why you’d only want to use it at an open house. The best part? Once your house is smelling great, you can eat this incense alternative: baked cinnamon apples! The sweet apples and spicy cinnamon make your house smell so cozy.

Ingredients

  • 2-3 apples, cored and sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons of brown sugar

Method

1. Preheat your oven to 375F.

2. Toss the apples with the cinnamon and sugar in a bowl until they’re nice and evenly coated, then spread them out on a greased baking sheet.

3. Bake for 30-45 minutes, until the apples are soft, stirring a few times so that they cook evenly.

When the apples are done, your house will smell great! You can eat these on their own for a healthy treat or go decadent and spoon them over some ice cream.

3. Homemade Room Deodorizer

This DIY deodorizer is easy to make and it does double duty: the baking soda absorbs odors, and the essential oils help scent your room.

In a small bowl or a shallow teacup, combine 1/4 cup baking soda with 40 drops of your favorite essential oil. Give it a stir to combine, and place wherever you need a little aroma boost. It helps if you give the baking soda a stir once a day to release the smells from the essential oils. You can use this deodorizer for up to a month, adding a few drops of essential oil if the smell starts to fade.

Got ideas on how to make your home smell nice without the problems that come with burning incense? Let us know in the comments!

Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by ODHD