Tips for Keeping a Small Living Space Smelling Fresh

What’s that smell?

When you’re traveling in an RV, there are certain times when you might not want to know the answer. It’s just a fact of life: sharing such small quarters — and actually toting around your own waste — makes for a convenient road trip, but also opens the door to all sorts of smelliness. (Psst: those deodorizing holding tank chemicals are important!)

Fortunately, we have lots of home fragrance ideas that’ll help keep your rig fresh as a daisy, even if you’re boondocking for weeks on end. From all-natural scented candles to non-toxic room sprays, here are some of our best suggestions for making your home away from home smell as lovely as the outdoor landscapes it takes you to.

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All Natural Home Fragrance

With so many deodorizing products on the market today, it can be tough to figure out what’s safe and healthy for your family — not to mention Mother Earth. Your basic scent diffuser or the home fragrance plug ins you pick up at Walmart sometimes have ingredients lists a mile long, filled with words that are totally unpronounceable.

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But if you’re looking for non-toxic, naturally-derived home fragrance alternatives, you’re in luck. Whether you purchase them premade or get crafty and do it yourself, there are plenty of eco-friendly, delicious-smelling options.

For example, the world of scented candles has gotten a whole lot bigger in the past few years. Although you can still find cheap, saccharine-smelling paraffin wax, which is a byproduct of petroleum processing, plenty of producers are turning to soy candles, which are greener, less allergenic, and longer-lasting. Plus, they come in all sorts of amazing scents, from fresh baked goods like cinnamon rolls and apple pie to relaxing combinations like pear and water lily.

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Along with making your rig smell great, candles also add to the ambiance — they’re perfect to create a romantic mood in the evening or help brighten a rainy day indoors. But they’re certainly not the only option for creating an inviting home fragrance in your rig. In fact, we’re just getting started!

Flameless Home Fragrance

Candles are wonderful, but they do involve fire… which, when you’re traveling in a vehicle stocked with fuel sources, can be a little disconcerting. That’s especially true if you’re traveling with children.

Plus, candles can’t be left burning unattended, so if you’re hoping to come back to a wonderful-smelling motorhome after a long day out adventuring, they’re not a great option.

But there are lots of flame-free ways to make your rig smell amazing, many of which are DIY and super affordable. Read on to learn more!

Essential Oils for Home Fragrance

Although you may associate essential oils with aromatherapy before deodorizing, oils are actually a wonderful home fragrance option. Although a bottle of essential oils can cost more than a candle, you get a whole lot of bang for your buck — even a tiny drop has a whole lot of power!

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To use essential oils as a home fragrance, you have lots of DIY options to choose from. For instance, you can create your own potpourri (which is a visual and olfactory decoration), or paint the oils on some wooden craft cubes for a unique and long-lasting deodorizer. (Thanks for the idea, Northstory!)

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All you need is a base (like unscented potpourri or those wooden cubes we talked about) and the oil itself, and no matter what your preferences, there are tons of smells to choose from. Here are some popular essential oils for your home fragrance project:

You can also save money by investing in a variety pack of oils, which gives you lots of options to play with.

DIY Home Fragrance

Love the convenience of deodorizing home sprays like Febreeze? You can also use your essential oils to make your very own spray diffuser, filled only with natural ingredients.

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It’s really simple. Just fill an empty spray bottle with water, add a tablespoon of rubbing alcohol (or even vodka, if that’s what you have around!), and then add in your favorite essential oil to your personal strength preference. We do suggest you start with just a few drops before you get too excited. That stuff is strong!

Big citrus eater, and can’t get enough of that tart scent? Check out this DIY air freshener recipe from Live Simply, which repurposes those peels you’re always tossing.

Home Fragrance Plants

Sometimes, an RV’s odor issue needs more than an essential oil band-aid. Even the most delicious smell in the world will be spoiled if it’s only covering up something rotten.

That’s why it’s important to always ensure your RV’s air vents are working properly, both in the bathroom and over the kitchen. Make sure they’re open, in the first place, and check to see that the blades are running when you turn it on. If you run into a snag, no worries: your RV’s vent fans can be replaced pretty simply. Here’s our post on how.

Finally, if you’re looking for one of the oldest and most reliable home fragrance solutions in the books, don’t forget about the power of houseplants. Not only will they make your RV smell good, but they also help the actual air quality, which helps ensure that you and your family are breathing fresh, healthy air both indoors and out.

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Plants also make for beautiful decorations, and can even be a way to help teach children how to be responsible for caring for something. Not all houseplants work well in an RV’s low light conditions, however, and some states have laws that can complicate transporting plants across the borders if you’re doing lots of active traveling.

Here’s our post on the best low-light houseplants for your rig, and here’s some information on how to build an indoor herb garden.

With the right precautions, your RV doesn’t have to smell like a tiny space shared by lots of adventurous, outdoorsy people… even though that’s exactly what it is. 😉

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