You may feel great when visitors tell you how fresh and inviting your home smells. They may feel they’re in a flower garden or a citrus orchard. But is the air freshener you use harming them? Unfortunately, a significant proportion of the ingredients in a commercial air freshener can be labeled hazardous or toxic. While the damage to your health depends on how much exposure you have to these dangerous products, it’s wise to look for less harmful alternatives. Once you know how to make all-natural air fresheners, you will never reach for a commercial product on the supermarket shelf again. The rewards are not just in terms of cost savings but also better health for your family, pets, and loved ones.
Why Do We Use Air Fresheners?
Clean and fresh air is necessary for our survival. When the air is polluted, we know it by smell and sight. We use various products to ensure that we breathe good quality air and make the environment smell more pleasant. The most common place that they’re found is in the bathroom. We use fresheners to mask nasty smells in the loo.
Smells are known to trigger emotions. People use them to create a positive home or retail store ambiance. Conversely, a nasty smell is known to create feelings of anger, avoidance, and aggression.
Are Air Fresheners Harmful?
Studies conducted as far back as 2007 revealed that many chemicals in commonly sold air fresheners could cause various health issues. These included developmental and reproductive damage and were especially harmful to infants.
They may contain:
- volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that include formaldehyde and ethanol
- semi-VOCs such as phthalates
- carcinogenic compounds
Substances in air fresheners may react with indoor air that already has certain oxidants and radicals and create new potentially hazardous compounds. They could trigger migraine headaches, nausea, dizziness, and respiratory problems,
If you have children in the home, people with seasonal allergies, or whose lungs are weak with COPD, asthma, or cancer, it’s best to avoid these products. Because of their smaller size and less developed metabolic systems, children may not process airborne chemicals as adults can. This puts them at a much higher risk.
Essential oils, a common ingredient in air fresheners, are a big no-no for pets, especially cats. They cause lethargy, loss of coordination, confusion, and ear, eye, and nose irritation. Long-term exposure can result in kidney and liver damage or even cancer in extreme cases. Birds are vulnerable to airborne chemicals too.
Air fresheners are available in spray, gel, solid, tablet, candle, disk, diffuser, evaporator, and cartridge forms. Keep all these away from children and pets. Ingesting them or sniffing excessively can be very dangerous.
Make Your Own All-Natural Air Freshener
The simplest way to avoid the build-up of unpleasant odors is to ensure an adequate supply of clean, fresh air. Leaving the windows open, using an exhaust fan to vent out stinks in the bathroom, and getting rid of the source of the smell are easy ways to tackle bad air. Regular cleaning, vacuuming, and airing the room are other methods.
Using air purifiers is a better alternative. In addition, air filters such as carbon filters or HEPA filters can help to clean up air quality.
One of the most popular methods of keeping indoor air quality pleasant is to use natural or organic air fresheners. You can make most of them at home. The ingredients are easily available, and the processes are simple.
- Essential Oil-Based:Lemon, citronella, lavender, rose, eucalyptus and geranium are great smelling oils that give a subtle, fresh scent. Take 2 cups of water, 2 tablespoons baking soda, ½ cup rubbing alcohol, and 10-15 drops of your favorite essential oil in a spray bottle till the soda dissolves. You will have to swirl the contents around every time you use it to release the fragrance. A word of caution: Try another method to make your all-natural air freshener if you have pets.
- Coffee:This scent is refreshing and stimulating. Coffee is a great optionif you want to eliminate cooking smells, especially onions, garlic, fish, or eggs. Set a few mugs of freshly brewed coffee around the kitchen or living room for that inviting, warm and welcoming odor. You can wrap used coffee grounds in a paper towel and put them at the bottom of your trash can. This wards off evil garbage stink. Pop a few coffee beans in the microwave and release the aroma into the kitchen.
- Potpourri: Make your potpourri with fragrant flowers, leaves, and herbs. Dry them in a muslin bag and hang them in the bathroom, inside closets, and in the shoe cupboard. You can refresh the fragrance occasionally with more flowers or a light spray of essential oil.
- Green plants: Certain plants help to clean the air and absorb unpleasant smells. Money plants, peace lily, English ivy, spider plant, bamboo, Chinese evergreen, chrysanthemum, and many others have this great quality. They cleanse the air naturally and give out a fresh supply of oxygen. Water them according to requirements, and make sure that you place them where they get the right amount of light.
- Vinegar:Though the vinegar smell is not very pleasant, it can mask nastier smells. Mix with water in the proportion of 1 part vinegar to 4 parts water and fill a spray bottle with it. Spritz whenever needed. Vinegar is also a good disinfectant and grease remover. You can also place little bowls of vinegar around the room to eliminate smells.
- Baking Soda:This ingredient is a staple in most kitchens. It is versatile, affordable, and safeto use. Drizzle a few drops of apple cider vinegar on a few tablespoons of baking soda and sprinkle in your kitchen sink at night. This is a great deodorizer. You can dust some on carpets and rugs and leave them on for a few minutes before you vacuum. Spray your upholstery, curtains, or bathroom with baking soda, water, and essential oil to keep your rooms smelling fresh and summery.
- Activated Charcoal: This amazing product can absorb most kitchen and bathroom odors. Hang about a pound weight of activated charcoal in a muslin or thin cotton bag in your kitchen or bathroom near a window or close to your trash bin. It will make those nasty smells vanish.
Most chemical and store-bought air fresheners have harmful ingredients that pose a serious health risk. Instead, make your natural products that won’t harm your family, visitors, and pets. These products are organic, easily available, and affordable. Ensure that you read the instructions and avoid certain ingredients if you have pets or infants in the house.