The Cotton Ball Hack That Will Change Your Life

It's so simple, you'll wonder why you didn't think of it sooner.

Dipping cotton balls in essential oil is a genius deodorizing hack.
Photo: Patrick Lane / Getty Images

Household odors are a fact of life, but you can overcome them in a matter of seconds with this quick two-ingredient solution. Grab some cotton balls and either your favorite essential oil or vanilla extract, and you can create your own DIY air freshener.

Scenario 1: Your refrigerator smells like leftover lasagna.

Solution: Give your fridge's shelves a quick wipe-down with an all-purpose cleaner to make sure there are no lingering spills producing odors. Soak a cotton ball in the liquid (we like vanilla here) and place it in a dish near the back of one of the shelves. The sweet scent will permeate your refrigerator's interior until the cotton ball dries up. When it does, replace it with a fresh batch.

Scenario 2: The trash bag isn't full yet, but it's starting to smell.

Solution: Don't waste a bag by tossing the trash before it's full. Instead, put a few drops of your favorite essential oil on a cotton ball and slip it in between the liner and the can. The scent will permeate the bin and should mask most odors until you're ready to take it to the curb.

Scenario 3: You're vacuuming and want a clean scent to go along with the clean look.

Solution: You have two options here: If you have a vacuum with a bag, soak a cotton ball in your favorite scent and slip it into the bag to diffuse the scent as you clean. Otherwise, put a few drops of essential oil on a cotton ball, pull it apart and scatter it around the room. As you vacuum up the pieces, it should infuse the space with the oil's fresh scent.

Lastly, if you need to remove sticker residue from a hard surface, the same materials will do the job. Apply essential oil to a cotton ball (we like eucalyptus for this) and rub it over the residue or grease stains to remove. Voila! Two ingredients with endless possibilities around the house.

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