Chemical Air Freshening: Pleasant Smells, Harmful Side Effects
Two of my favorite things in life are cooking and spending time with my pets. Unfortunately (and despite my best efforts), they both can cause pretty pungent odors in my home. For years, plug-in and aerosol air fresheners were my go-to solution. But after a while I noticed these “fresh smells” often coincided with headaches and allergy flare-ups. I dug a little deeper and didn’t like what I read—luckily I found better ways to keep my home healthy and odor-free.
What I Learned
I quickly learned these agents of aromatic pleasure were doing far more damage than I realized. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), most air fresheners have 4 basic ingredients: formaldehyde, petroleum distillates, p- dichlorobenzene, and aerosol propellants. Research conducted by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) even found that some air fresheners labeled “all natural” or “unscented” include phthalates, which can prove hazardous to human health.
Although I could avoid cooking fish and wash my dogs every day (never gonna happen!), I decided to ditch the chemical air fresheners and look for other options. I was thrilled to learn there were natural, safe ways to add scents without adding air pollutants. If you need a scent boost, try these easy ideas:
- DIY Potpourri: Use herbs, flowers, and spices to create your own scents. Placing these in a decorative bowl also creates a nice centerpiece.
- Essential Oils: Apply a drop of these oils to light bulbs or warmers to fill rooms with lavender, bergamot, sage, or many other aromas.
- Vanilla: Soak a cotton ball with vanilla to add this calming, warm fragrance to your home.
- Citrus Peels: Place these in your garbage disposal to freshen things up a little.
- Pomander: Stud oranges with cloves and cure them in the oven on low heat for about an hour. Afterwards, attach a ribbon or place the pomanders in a bowl to stylishly add fragrance.
I was also excited to find out one of my favorite household appliances, the trusty air purifier, could help control odors while also removing allergy-irritating particles from my air. When choosing an air purifier that can control household odors, look for models with carbon filters. Carbon effectively absorbs noxious odors and chemicals. For example, IQAir GC Series Air Purifers provide multiple odor and chemical control options without sacrificing the machine’s ability to remove allergens from indoor areas.
You can also check out our offering of testing kits to find ways to test your home for formaldehyde and other harmful indoor particles.
This list is just a start! There are tons of creative ways to keep your home fresh without the need for chemical air fresheners. Tell us about your fragrance alternatives in the comments below.