Natural Air Fresheners Overview

Why You Should Use Safe, Non-toxic Air Freshener Methods In Your Home

In general, air fresheners don’t remove odors. They simply use chemicals to cover them up. In some cases, they even work by employing chemicals that reduce the ability of the nose to smell. Since air fresheners do nothing to stop the source of offensive odors, those odors remain in the air and the product must be reapplied frequently, which increases your exposure to the chemicals they contain.

Many of these chemicals either have a dubious safety record or remain untested for human health effects. Toxins found in air fresheners and room deodorizers include naphthalene, phenol, cresol, dichlorobenzene, and xylene among many others. Air freshener chemicals have been implicated in cancer, neurological damage, reproductive and developmental disorders, and other conditions. The compounds in air fresheners, particularly the synthetic fragrances they contain, can also aggravate asthma or trigger attacks.

Pinene and limonene are two common chemicals found in those air freshening units that plug into electrical sockets and automatically release aromatic compounds over time. Both easily react with ozone, a common indoor air pollutant, to create formaldehyde and a variety of related chemicals that have been implicated in respiratory conditions.

For these reasons, indoor air quality experts recommend against using air fresheners or room deodorizers of any kind. Rather than clean your home’s air, most actually make it more dangerous to breathe. Instead of chemicals, try these safe methods to freshen the air in your home:

  • Use natural minerals like baking soda and borax to control common odor sources and to deodorize when you clean.
  • Locate sources of odors and eliminate them whenever and wherever possible. Since many odors are the result of microbial action, spraying trouble spots and potentially problematic areas (like trash cans, compost containers, etc.) with a three percent solution of hydrogen peroxide (the concentration typically available in stores) will remove many problems.
  • Keep windows open as much as possible to let bad air out and good air in. If odors are still troubling, try an air purifier with activated carbon filtration.
  • To scent indoor air, place a drop of a natural essential oil like lavender or mint on a light bulb, or add a dozen drops to a bowl of water placed on a radiator. You can also boil fragrant dried herbs in a pot of water to release a fresh smell.
  • A natural mineral called zeolite is available in packets that will absorb odors when hung in problem areas like musty basements and closets.
  • Make your own sprays from essential oils and other safe, natural ingredients.

If you are interested in making your own natural air freshener check out our Natural Air Freshener Recipe.


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