This Homemade Two-Ingredient Deodorizer Will Make You Want to Vacuum

updated May 3, 2019
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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Unlike grout cleaning and emptying the dishwasher, vacuuming is a household chore that I never mind doing. I love seeing all the dirt in the canister and knowing that I got all that out of our living space, and I love the immediate sense of satisfaction from looking at a newly-vacuumed rug. Vacuuming, to me, is a chore with one of the most visible results. Recently, I kicked my vacuuming routine up a notch, just once a week, and now I enjoy it even more.

Every Friday before the big kids get home from school, I’ve been doing a get-ready-for-the-weekend vacuuming session around the house. (I feel like making the house especially hospitable, even if “just” for our own family, makes a subtle but profound difference in a peaceful and enjoyable home life, at least for this mama. But that’s a story for another day.)

Back in my early home-keeping days I would sprinkle the carpets with a fragranced commercial baking soda product that sure made the house smell good, but that I stopped using once I decided to try to minimize our use of artificial fragrances in the home.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)
(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Several weeks ago, I wanted to really freshen up the air in our house and grabbed the giant bag of plain baking soda I keep on-hand for scrubbing bathroom sinks and the inside of the toilet. Wishing for a nice, light scent, I grabbed some essential oil and sprinkled several drops into a large bowl with the baking soda, mixed it with my hands, and then, feeling like Disney’s Cinderella scattering chicken feed (you know the scene I’m talking about, right?), I tossed the pleasant-smelling deodorizer all over the carpets.

I left the baking soda to do its odor-absorbing work for about fifteen minutes and then vacuumed it up. The carpets looked extra fresh, I loved the barely-there scent that wafted up to me as I ran the vacuum slowly over the rugs, and when I walked into the house after running out to pick up the kids from school, I had what I was after: a fresh-smelling house.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Get the Recipe: How to Make a Baking Soda Carpet Cleaner

It’s really as easy as it sounds: Just make a mixture of baking soda and essential oils. You can remix the recipe to suit your taste, but a good rule of thumb is about 10 to 15 drops of essential oil for every cup of baking soda. Some essential oil scents that work great are lavender, lemon, tea tree, rosemary and eucalyptus—but you can buy or blend whatever scent you like. (The baking soda is doing the heavy deodorizing here, so the oils are really just for the aesthetics of smell.)

When you’re ready, sprinkle the mixture generously over the carpet or rug and let it sit for some time before following up with the vacuum. The longer you can allow the baking soda to sit, the better it can work to absorb odors—if you can afford to leave it on the carpet for a few hours or even overnight, you’ll really reap the benefits. But you can still use the mixture for a quick 15-minute application and enjoy the smell and a little deodorizing boost.

To make your carpet deodorizer easy to use and dispense, you can prepare it ahead of time in a shaker jar—like a “cheese shaker” or the type you might use for salt or sugar at the table.