Tips on How to Remove the Smell of Smoke using Aromatherapy
Unless you’ve been living under a rock lately, you’ll know that Australia has been prone to bushfires over the last few months.
Of course, this isn’t something which has only affected the country lately, and with longer and hotter summers, less rain and a million ways to light a fire, bushfires are unfortunately becoming more and more commonplace.
Not only do these bushfires cause untold damage and heartbreak for homes and land which are destroyed, but they have smaller problems connected to them too.
For instance, bushfires create smoke, which pollutes the air and causes problems for people with asthma and other breathing issues, as well as simply causing everything to smell a little on the smoky side.
There are many ways you can try to purify the air a little, get rid of smoke smell and improve air quality in general, but many are hit and miss.
For instance, you could use an air purifier, but its effectiveness really depends on how close you are to a local bushfire, the toxicity of the smoke in the air, and how much is making its way into your home.
For that reason, trying a few different methods to get rid of smoke smell is the best way forward.
Why Improving Air Quality is Vital
Smoke contains many different chemical compounds which make their way into the air and spread far and wide.
For anyone with a breathing issue already, this is bad news, as well as being a risk for young children and the elderly.
However, even the fittest and healthiest amongst us are at risk of health issues when subjected to large amounts of unpleasant smoke.
When bushfires are nearby, it’s very hard to avoid smoke, and when winds pick up, this smoke is pushed around an even further area.
As a result, even if you’re not particularly close to a raging bushfire, you may still be affected by poor air quality.
Of course, we also have to think about what smoke does to the environment.
The biggest health issues connected with air pollution and poor air quality, particularly from smoke are:
- Cardiovascular illnesses
- Respiratory illnesses
- Aging of the lungs if exposed to smoke over the long term
- The heart and lungs are forced to work harder to get clean oxygen around the body
- The possibility of cancer development over the long term
Those who are elderly, very young, pregnant, those who work outside, and anyone with a specific heart or lung condition are most susceptible to problems from smoky air.
According to Cancer Research UK, exposure to outdoor air pollution, such as smoke, can be a risk factor for development of cancer, particularly lung cancer.
You spend a lot of time in your home, especially during the evenings when you’re chilling out and sleeping.
With that in mind, you don’t want polluted air to be making its way into your home and adding to your health risks.
For that reason, looking into ways to purify the air in the most natural of ways is vital.
Essential oils could be a way to do just that.
What Are Essential Oils?
Everyone has heard of essential oils for aromatherapy, but they can be used for other reasons too, including purifying and cleaning the air in your home.
Of course, it depends on the amount of pollution in your home as to how effective they will be, but if they can work some kind of magic, that might be enough to help you breathe in cleaner air, and certainly more pleasant smelling air at least!
So, what are essential oils?
As we mentioned, you’ve no doubt heard of them, but you might not really know what they are.
Essential oils are natural oils which are extracted via various means from natural plants, trees, roots, and flowers.
The oil is considered the ‘essence’ and the most natural and potent part of the plants/flower etc.
This oil is reputed to have a range of health benefits and may help you to overcome various ailments, at at least reduce their severity if nothing else.
Essential oils are used in aromatherapy practices, such as massage, inhalation and topical use, but they should never be ingested.
Healthcare professionals have long been on the fence about their effectiveness, but nowadays more and more professionals are starting to open up to their potential benefits.
You’ll now find various clinics and centres offering aromatherapy for certain ailments, such as aromatherapy for reducing nausea in chemotherapy patients.
Studies have shown this to be quite effective overall.
The use of various different essential oils have also been shown to be potentially useful in the following conditions too:
- Low mood, mild anxiety and depression
- Insomnia and general sleep problems
- Skin conditions
- Menstrual issues
- Muscular aches and pains
Whilst more research and studies need to be done in order to ascertain the level of benefit, the signs are certainly very encouraging.
Of course, the use of aromatherapy dates back throughout history.
How Might Essential Oils Help to Improve Air Quality?
So, how can essential oils actually help to purify the air and improve quality overall?
Whilst you’re not going to be able to clean the air completely by using essential oils, they can go a long way to helping to mask the smell and strengthen the lungs, if nothing else.
The main ways which essential oils can help to purify the air are:
1) Removing unpleasant smells
You can use essential oils to remove any type of scent, e.g. if you’ve been cooking food and it has a very strong scent, or perhaps you’ve been away and your home smells a little damp.
However, essential oils may also help to cover up the smell of smoke and draw it out of the air.
2) Helping to avoid fungus and mould spread
You might not want to use regular air fresheners, thanks to the ingredients contained within them.
In that case, you can use essential oils as a natural alternative, which do the same job and also avoid the chemical content.
The oil will help to purify the air and help to stop mould and fungus spreading in your home.
3) Stopping bacteria in its tracks
Many essential oils have antibacterial properties and that means they’re fantastic at stopping bacteria from doing the rounds in your home.
The oil will purify the bacteria from the air and also improve the scent in general.
Which Essential Oils Help to Improve Air Quality?
There are countless different types of essential oils and some are better at improving air quality than others.
In general, you should opt for an oil which is known to have an antibacterial or antifungal element.
A few you can opt for are:
- Tea tree oil
- Peppermint oil
- Eucalyptus oil
- Lavender oil
- Orange oil
- Lemongrass oil
- Rosemary oil
- Oregano oil
- Patchouli oil
- Basil oil
- Manuka oil
These oils all smell wonderful but they do their work in terms of purifying the air at the same time.
Of course, you should choose an oil which you like the smell of, as you’re not only trying to get rid of the smell of smoke, but you’re trying to make your home smell wonderful at the same time.
Citrus types of oils are also known to be very useful for purifying air, as well as any oil which has a particularly woody scent.
These types of oils all have antibacterial elements within them, but they smell delicious at the same time.
Opt for eucalyptus oil or tea tree oil if you like the woody types of smell in particular, as these are known to also strengthen the respiratory system and have that antibacterial option too.
As a result, you might even be killing air-borne cold and flu viruses too!
Studies have shown tea tree oil to be particularly effective in terms of its antibacterial elements.
How to Use Essential Oils Safely
Before you start to use any type of essential oil in your home, you need to be sure that nobody in your house has an allergy or sensitivity to it.
You can use a patch test to check this out, by simply applying a small amount of the oil onto the skin and waiting for 24 hours.
You might wonder how this affects the reparatory system, but in terms of testing for an allergy, this type of patch test is a great start.
However, if anyone in your home starts to feel unwell or notices any type of allergy reaction once you’re using essential oils to purifying the air in your home, you should discontinue use immediately.
The best way to use essential oils for air quality improvement is via a diffuser.
This means that the oil can be diffused into the air gently and evenly, and allowed to spread.
Whilst you’re not going to be able to rid your home of smoke completely if you’re very close to a bushfire or the air quality is particularly bad, it will certainly go a long way towards helping.
As a result, the air in your home will feel fresher and will be cleaner than if you didn’t do anything.
It’s important to double check with your doctor before you start using essential oils if you have any particular health issues or you’re taking any medications.
On the whole, most people will have no issues with using essential oils, but that doesn’t mean everybody.
It’s best to get the green light from your doctor ahead of time, to double check you don’t have any specific contraindications for use.
You should also be very careful when purchasing essential oils and make sure that you do your research and shop around.
You need the best quality oils when you’re using them to purify the air.
That means opting for organic options rather than low quality.
If the price looks too good to be true, the chances are that it is certainly not something you should be investing in!
High-quality essential oils won’t break the bank, but they’re not going to be bargain basement priced either.
Opt for middle ground and always read reviews online before making a purchase.
The problem is that the aromatherapy industry overall, including essential oils, isn’t regulated.
That means anyone can create an oil product and sell it, telling you that it’s a wonderful product to purchase.
That product may give you no benefit whatsoever, and that’s going to be a waste of your time and money at best.
In addition, you can’t be sure that it contains the highest quality ingredients or that the extraction technique used was up to standard either.
When using an essential oil you will also need to dilute it with a carrier oil, to reduce the oil’s high potency.
This gives you extra benefits because the carrier oil also gives you a health boost too.
Some of the most common carrier oils are coconut and olive oil, to name just two.
As you can see, these are very easy to find and you’ll also discover that the essential oils we mentioned earlier are also quite commonly available.
You’ll be able to find some of them in regular supermarkets, health stores, and certainly online, without any issues.
To Sum up
Overall, using essential oils to battle smoke and other air pollution issues is a good and natural way to achieve your aim.
Many household sprays and air fresheners contain chemicals and other added nasties, which you don’t want to breathe in or spread around your home.
With that in mind, essential oils give you the perfect and natural answer to the issue, without breaking the bank at the same time.
Of course, also make sure that everyone in the house enjoys the scent you’re choosing too!