One of the most transformative ways to welcome a season into your home is through your sense of smell. This is no secret; seasonal candles and wax melts seem to take over like a tsunami during the holiday months.
However, the number of health problems associated with synthetic fragrance is staggering. The more prominent dangers include cancer, kidney issues, and liver disease. But did you know they can also contribute to more day-to-day issues, like hormone imbalance, allergies, anxiety, depression, and migraines?
In the Mainstay household, we deal with thyroid and hormone health issues, so we eliminated artificial scents a long time ago. Initially, it was difficult. I used to be someone who waited with baited breath for seasonal 3-wick candles, especially for the fall. But now I can say with certainty that the change is worth it!
Better yet, you can still fill your home with the scents of the seasons, minus anything negative or dangerous. These are the three ways we use.
Simmer pots have been used for centuries. They use the simple concept of heat and moisture to diffuse scents throughout the air. Simply cut up natural fruits, herbs, and spices, and simmer them in water over low heat, either in a sauce pan on the stove or in a small slow cooker with the lid off. (NOTE: you will need to watch the water level as it simmers and refill it as it gets lower. This is not a good option to set and forget!) Some of our favorite fall/holiday simmer pot combinations are:
4-6 cinnamon sticks
The rind of one orange
1 tsp of vanilla extract
3-5 bay leaves
2 TBSP whole cloves
3-5 cinnamon sticks
1-2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
1 large orange, cut into slices
1 TBSP whole cloves
1 C fresh cranberries
2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 lime, cut into slices
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 small branch of fresh pine needles
1/4 C fresh mint leaves
2 cinnamon sticks
It seems everyone has an essential oil diffuser nowadays; it can seem like a cult if you don’t know what it’s all about. But there is a reason oils have become so popular: they work, especially for this purpose!
What you’ll need:
You do not need to spend a fortune on a fancy diffuser. However, I do recommend that you invest in one with a timer. It’s safer for your home and easier to use. We own and use several made by InnoGear, and we love them!
I don’t have brand loyalty to any particular EO company. To me, the manufacturer must use clean ingredients, the oils must have strong potency, and it must not cost my next paycheck for a single bottle. Be careful with random bottles you find on sale at big boxed stores; they’ve been known to use fillers and take shortcuts, thereby negating the health-related reason for using oils.
The two major EO growers/distributors are Young Living and DoTERRA. There are several blends I prefer from these bigger, more expensive EO companies. My holidays aren’t complete without the delicious smell of Christmas Spirit from Young Living. And while I clean my home with YL’s Thieves cleaner, I actually prefer DoTERRA’s OnGuard when it comes to throat drops during cold and flu season.
However, for the rest of my collection, I almost exclusively turn to Rocky Mountain Essential Oils. (NOTE: This post is not sponsored; I am not an affiliate, and I do not make any money from this recommendation.) They’re a smaller company, and their prices are far more reasonable, while their quality rivals those that cost twice as much. I’ve been using them for years; check them out!
Bottom line, do your own research, smell and test what you can before investing, but don’t feel like you have to spend a fortune to use good quality oils.
Pinterest is a fantastic place to find oil diffusing recipes, especially during the fall and holidays! Here are a few combinations I’ve found in my own searches:
4 drops of peppermint
4 drops of cinnamon
3 drops of orange
5 drops of cinnamon
4 drops of nutmeg
5 drops of pine
3 drops of cinnamon
2 drops of orange
4 drops of peppermint
4 drops of cinnamon
3 drops of nutmeg
Fall-inspired soaps are my weakness and one of my favorite ways to bring fall and the holidays into my home. There is something so reminiscent about that familiar whiff of cinnamon, pumpkin, and apple every time you wash your hands or dishes. My favorite scents are the Mrs. Meyer’s scents pictured above: Spiced Pumpkin, Acorn Spice, and my all-time favorite, Apple Cider.
Full disclosure. Overall, Mrs. Meyer’s hand soaps aren’t horrible, but they do list “fragrance” as an ingredient. This non-specific term is where many manufacturers frequently hide questionable ingredients and can include elements that have been found to contribute to allergies, immunotoxicity, endocrine disruption, reproductive organ system toxicity, and irritation of the skin, eyes, and lungs. So proceed with caution on this brand. But oh, do they smell oh so good!
Do you have a favorite clean hand/dish soap? Leave your recommendations in the comments below!