My Mom’s Trick to Remove Harsh Odors Will Leave Your Home Smelling So Good

published Sep 15, 2023
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My mom and I used to work together for a tea company, which allowed us to discover tons of benefits and applications of herbs and teas. Although my mom has always had the most invaluable cleaning tips, her time surrounded by so much tea and herbs also allowed her to come up with useful tips and tricks to use throughout the home. One of my favorite herbal tricks from her is something that I do almost weekly to keep my home smelling fragrant. Plus, I’m able to drink it!

My mom’s simmer pot recipe is a comforting and aromatic way for me to neutralize strong smells, either from cooking or cleaning with harsh chemicals, by only using natural, herbal ingredients. 

Credit: L. Daniela Alvarez

Before making it, I put away all of my cleaning products to avoid any scent mixing. Then, I add a cup-and-a-half of water to a saucepan and bring it to a simmer on my stovetop. Next, I add a handful of dried hibiscus flowers, two orange slices, chamomile flowers, two sticks of cinnamon, two ginger tea bags, and a couple of sprigs of rosemary or thyme (whichever is available). 

I am partial to these ingredients and overall recipe during the autumn season because of the warm and spiced fragrance, but this simmer pot is perfect for any time of year. If you want something more floral, swap the cinnamon sticks for a handful of dried lavender flowers.

Credit: L. Daniela Alvarez

I leave the simmer pot on the lowest heat setting for about 20 minutes, letting the scent make its way throughout my open-plan apartment. I take this time to just lay on the couch with my dog and rest after hours of cleaning as I take in the aroma of the simmer pot. 

After I take the simmer pot off the heat, I let it cool for about 40 minutes and then serve it in a mason jar over ice (if you prefer a sweeter drink, I recommend adding a teaspoon of honey or homemade mint syrup). With this iced tea, I am reminded of my mom’s hard work, experience, and ingenuity, and feel grateful that she could pass on her tips to me.