How to make your closet smell fresh: an unusual life hack

Yulia PoteriankoLife
A small bowl of ash can solve many odor problems

Any limited space tends to quickly fill with a certain odor. This is true for small rooms, refrigerators, and, of course, cabinets.

Even a slight presence of mold or bacteria turns a cabinet into a source of a very unpleasant odor that can spoil the atmosphere in the whole house. After all, these pieces of furniture are not designed to be airtight. Scientists have tested a way to overcome this odor with the help of ash, and House Digest has written about it in detail.

What science says about ash

Ordinary wood ash is extremely effective in combating odors. According to a 2001 study published in the journal Water Environment Research, waste from a fireplace, stove, or bonfire eliminates odors as well as more expensive activated carbon. Another study published in the 2023 issue of Bioresource Technology Reports showed that cat litter containing ash outperformed standard types of litter in absorbing fecal odors. And the journalists of the water sports magazine Practical Sailor rated this substance as the best choice for eliminating odors in boat toilets.

The secret is in the porous structure of the ash, which is able to absorb volatile chemical compounds that cause an unpleasant odor. Wood ash is also very alkaline in nature, which helps to neutralize odors caused by acidic substances.

How to collect and use ash

If you decide to harness the power of ash, wait until your fireplace or hearth is completely extinguished and cool. Be sure to collect ash while wearing a face shield. The substance is very fine, instantly rises into the air and can enter the respiratory tract. Don't forget to wear gloves. The aforementioned alkalinity of ash can be harmful to people with sensitive skin.

You can store ash in almost any container, from glass jars to paper bags. The main thing is that the air in the enclosed space should be in free contact with the substance. However, it is important to place the container with ash on the highest shelf or in the back of a closet to avoid accidentally knocking it over when moving things.

This deodorizer can be used not only to eliminate odors in the closet. It will be just as effective in the refrigerator, freezer, pantry, etc.

What ash should not be used

Only ash from clean wood that does not contain impurities is suitable for safe deodorization of rooms. You should not collect the remains of burnt painted or varnished boards, sawdust-based boards, and other building materials for such purposes. They will contain and release harmful substances into the air. And ash from fuel pellets can also contain heavy metals.

Safety measures

Even if you are confident in the safe origin of ash, it is important to remember that this substance is carcinogenic. When it enters the respiratory tract, it causes irritation up to asthma attacks. If the ash somehow mixes with water, it can form a caustic paste that can burn the skin. Therefore, keep the container with ash far enough away to avoid contact with it. Moreover, do not place such deodorant in the bathroom or in places near water pipes.

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