Handwashing gel, disinfectant and ventilation has literally changed the atmosphere we live in, bringing fresher air into our lives, as well as fragrances that can be pleasant or harsh and chemical. Wherever we live, our sense of smell is a vital element of home planning.
Spend a few weeks away from your home and one of the first things that will hit you on your return is the familiar smell, even if it’s not something you notice normally. Fragrance is one of the deepest and most evocative of scents, and affects how we live, love and work. For example, a Danish study has shown that workers’ productivity dropped when a musty old rug was placed in an office.
Lanzarote, located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, has some of the freshest and cleanest air in Europe, but whether you’ll benefit from it or not depends on where you live. Built-up areas trap pollutants and smells, and that can be a real problem when there are strong sources of pollution such as traffic or waste products.
The smells in your house can originate in all sets of places. Many come from outdoors and they can be pleasant, such as the aroma of herbs in the evening or barbecue smoke; or unpleasant, such as burning rubber or drains.
Indoor smells can derive from paint, cleaning products, food and cooking, damp, animals (including humans) and many other sources we do not know about – other toxic chemicals may not be detected at all – a survey a few years ago showed that the breast milk of British women had a high level of flame-retardant chemicals used in sofas and armchairs.
The tips to keeping your home sweet smelling remain the same as they have been for centuries:
- Make sure fresh air gets to every part of your home regularly, and ensure that ventilation also eliminates damp and mould.
- Remove old items that may produce musty odours.
- Fill your home with plants, which produce oxygen, eliminate toxins from the air, and add aesthetic value to a space.
- Burn candles, which also removes unpleasant odour molecules from the air.
- Take time when choosing cleaning products and air fresheners, and always favour natural aromas over synthetic chemical ones.