- Best Natural Air Fresheners for Asthma and Allergy Sufferers
- Can You Be Allergic to Air Freshener?
- Are Air Fresheners Toxic?
- How Does An Air Freshener Work?
- Can Air Fresheners Cause Breathing Problems?
- 10 Natural Air Fresheners
- Ditch the Harmful Chemicals Once & For All!
- Non-Toxic Air Fresheners To MAKE/DIY
- Non-Toxic Air Fresheners To BUY
- What About Scented Candles?
- What about wax melts? Or those gels? Or…?
- The 5 Best Air Fresheners
- What is air freshener?
- Top 5 air fresheners
- The Scary Truth About Air Fresheners, and Asthma and Allergy Sufferers
- The problem with air fresheners/home fragrance products
- Going beyond VOCs—phthalates
- Safe ways to make your home smell fresh
- 10 Natural Ways To Make Your House Smell Great
- Secrets of People Whose Houses Smell Amazing
- Tackle the bad…
- Bring in the good…
- The Stovetop Simmer
- Joe Fresh
- Vanilla Vibes
- Vinegar TKO
- Essential Oils (EO)
- Baking Soda Braun
- Lampe Berger
- Strike at the Source
- Fragrance Sensitivity: What You Need to Know
- What Is Fragrance Sensitivity?
- Symptoms of Fragrance Sensitivity
- The Rise of Fragrance Sensitivities
- Fragrance Sensitivity in the Workplace
- Preventing and Treating Fragrance Sensitivities
Best Natural Air Fresheners for Asthma and Allergy Sufferers
We hope you love our content. FYI, if you buy something through our links, we may get a small share of the sale. This help us improving the website and fighting dust mites.
Having allergies can be frustrating and inconvenient at times, but more importantly, allergic reactions can result in serious difficulties with breathing. The last place you want to experience allergies is in your home, especially if you suffer from asthma.
The symptoms of more than one-third of all asthma sufferers are triggered by fragrance. To help keep your home smelling fresh and avoid the chemical scents associated with asthma triggers, you should consider using natural air fresheners.
Can You Be Allergic to Air Freshener?
Yes, you can be allergic to air fresheners. Air freshener may counteract unpleasant odors, but the after effects can leave asthma sufferers wheezing, sneezing, and coughing.
Though it is quite possible to be allergic to certain ingredients in air fresheners, it is more likely that the toxins they contain serve as irritants to your sensitive respiratory system.
The nature of the delivery of the air freshener is also a factor. Aerosol sprays and plug-in devices both have toxic elements that are inhaled and can be especially detrimental if used for consistent and prolonged periods of time.
Are Air Fresheners Toxic?
People are often accidentally poisoned by the harmful synthetic chemicals in air fresheners.
These are just a few of more than 350 synthetic chemicals found in most air freshening products.
How Does An Air Freshener Work?
Both aerosol sprays and heat based air fresheners, like wall plug-ins, both “freshen” the air by covering odors with stronger odors. All spray air fresheners have a basic function concept.
When an air freshener is sprayed, molecules are released by pressurized air into the atmosphere, causing the molecules to spread freely and widely scatter to cover a large area or room before falling to the ground.
Air fresheners that plug into the wall are used to cover a small area or room. When the freshener is plugged into the wall, electricity heats the wick in the scented oil and spreads the fragrance. It constantly covers a small area until the freshener depletes the scented oil or is unplugged.
Can Air Fresheners Cause Breathing Problems?
Absolutely. According to Dr. Stanley Fineman of the Atlanta Allergy & Asthma Clinic and Emory University, chemicals associated with air freshening products can cause allergy sufferers to experience reactions like sneezing, runny nose, and congestion.
He also commented that substantial scientific data shows that lung function in asthmatics is significantly affected by exposure to these substances. The synthetic compounds found in air fresheners can cause your asthma to flare up and worsen your allergic reactions.
10 Natural Air Fresheners
So what are you supposed to do when air that smells better is not necessarily better for you? Your options are not so limited when you consider natural alternatives.
1. Open Windows
No matter what you use to freshen and deodorize your home, opening windows is essential to regular housekeeping. Open windows not only provide a source of circulation in the home, they also provide necessary ventilation. There is no sense in circulating toxic air with fans and air conditioning behind closed windows.
Just be sure to regularly clean debris from the sill and frame that manages to pass through window screens. If you hear lawn equipment, shut the window until the temporary threat passes.
2. Baking Soda
Baking soda can be used as a non-toxic air freshener. It removes odor from the air in your home without the ill effects of an artificial air freshener.
Baking soda can be effective in three different ways; air freshener, oil diffuser, and soda shake freshener.
The air freshener is a simple, classic method of making your home smell fresh by naturally eliminating odors.
Combine 1 cup of warm water, ½ cup of alcohol, and two tablespoons of baking soda in the spray bottle. Shake it up. You can spray this mixture anywhere in your home as many times as needed.
Making an oil diffuser is easier than it sounds. Use at least six bamboo kebob skewers, a small glass vase, and baking soda.
The more kebob skewers you use, the more scent will fill the room. Put ¼ cup baking soda in the vase with 1 ½ cups of water. This mixture will continuously fill the room as a beneficial neutralizer for at least one week.
The shake freshener requires a small canning jar, baking soda, and a sturdy cloth or paper. Pour ½ cup of baking soda in the canning jar and poke holes in the lid. Place the cloth or paper between the top of the jar and the lid when not in use. This will keep the baking soda fresh longer.
Vinegar is used for many household cleaning projects because of its acidity and other properties that help remove odors.
Vinegar is a great alternative to expensive and usually toxic air fresheners. Its properties of acetic acid can get rid of alkaline odors.
White vinegar is best for removing odors from a room, and a spray bottle works best for applying it.
Place 1 cup of vinegar and ¼ cup water in a spray bottle. Mix the contents in the bottle and set the spray nozzle to mist.
This vinegar mixture can be safely sprayed in the air on carpets and other surfaces. Once the vinegar dries, the smell will dissipate.
Vinegar does not irritate your allergies, is child and pet safe, and is environmentally friendly.
4. House Plants
Plants do not freshen the air in the traditional sense of adding fragrance, though some flowering types can be quite aromatic. Plants are better described as air neutralizers.
They absorb carbon dioxide and produce oxygen, and they also remove other toxins from the home. House plants, like regularly opening windows, help provide a more stable permanent environment in your home.
Common air pollutants and irritants that can be found in virtually any building are formaldehyde, benzene, and trichloroethylene. They are associated with finishes and varnishes commonly used on furniture and floors, rugs and carpets, and household cleaners.
House plants are healthy and natural detoxification systems. Spider plants, dracaena, and aloe vera plants are easy to care for and harder to kill than most plants. Just take care that your chosen plants agree with all living creatures in your home.
5. Leaves, Fruits, and Spices
Bay laurel, rosemary, and eucalyptus leaves provide an exhilarating scent, especially when activated by steam when hung in the bathroom. Pomander are little citrus and spice delights that produce a singular scent that is strong enough to combat just about any unpleasant odor.
You simply stud oranges or tangerines with whole cloves that are evenly spaced and decoratively secured with string or yarn. Lemons are another citrus fruit with air freshening properties. They are especially helpful when dealing with strong odors like fish and foods that are sulfur based, and they also work well when boiled with cloves.
6. Coffee Grounds
If you’re into coffee or things mocha, then you should try introducing coffee grounds in to your personal space. Coffee grounds have been used to distract drug-detecting dogs, but they are also used to cleanse the olfactory sensors of customers at perfumeries between sniffs as they sample several fragrances.
Coffee is strong and intoxicating as it is a natural chocolate enhancer, which plays right into the extremely diverse world of flavors currently associated with both of them.
Ask your local coffee house for their used grounds. After you let them dry a bit, tie them in bags made of coffee filters and hang them around the house. Try placing them in bowls near a particularly unwanted odor to help remove it.
7. Natural Rocks and Powders
Diatomaceous earth and zeolite are natural, odorless, and non-toxic products that are dug from the ground. Diatomaceous earth, siliceous sedimentary rock, is generally available in powder form because it crumbles so easily.
Though neither form is toxic, food grade diatomaceous earth is recommended for households with small children and pets. It is also a natural pesticide that dehydrates any insect with an exoskeleton.
Zeolite, natural volcanic rock, is available in rock, crystal, and powder form. Rocks and crystals can be hung in cloth pouches on door knobs around the house or in decorative bowls (which also works for diatomaceous earth) in corners of rooms for constant deodorizing.
Zeolite rocks can also preserve fresh fruit longer just by sharing the bowl. Try placing them in shoes while they sit in the closet.
8. Moso Natural Air Purifying Bags
Charcoal is the natural filtering agent in these bags. They work similarly to the way houseplants do in that they eliminate toxins like formaldehyde and benzene as well as allergens and bacteria.
These bags can be used around the house in much the same way as Zeolite rocks are used. Charcoal is also excellent for controlling mold and mildew by absorbing excess moisture from the atmosphere.
9. Potpourri and Spices
Placing potpourri and spices around the house or simmering them in water offer a wide variety of scents that can be enjoyed for special occasions or everyday pleasantness.
Flowers, spices, and herbs on the stove or in a small slow cooker can provide hours of aromatic pleasure without harsh chemical irritation. They also invoke particular moods and ambience.
Embrace the trial and error process of finding some favorite combinations and avoiding some that don’t work so well for you. Some people also simmer essential oils, but you should not venture into this domain unadvisedly.
10. Essential Oils and Organic Candles
Essential oils also known as volatile oil, it is extracted from part of a plant and then concentrated so that only that component of the plant is left. Not only are they complex to produce, they are also more complicated to consider using.
Though they seem to have beneficial qualities through aromatherapy to help reduce stress and affect mood, there are also numerous health concerns among medical professionals. Organic candles are often infused with essential oils.
Natural is not the equivalent of healthy. There are studies that support the fact that diffused essential oils release volatile organic compounds such as benzene, terpenes, and toluene.
These compounds are associated with symptoms of non-specific bronchial activity namely narrowing of the bronchial tubes, increased breathlessness at night, and an inability to efficiently exhale. Subjects with and without asthma displayed these symptoms. These oils can also have adverse effects on household pets.
All of these options are safe to try (including essential oils if properly diluted and dispensed from a pump sprayer), and all should be used in combination with regular periods of open windows. Customize your personal space to a healthier environment!
Ditch the Harmful Chemicals Once & For All!
Have you heard the shocking truth about air fresheners? Protect your family from harmful chemicals and choose these safer, non-toxic air fresheners today!
You know what I love?
How our sense of smell is tied so much to our memory.
The power of certain scents and fragrances to transport you all the way back to another place, in another time – it’s pretty amazing, isn’t it?
Warm banana bread straight from the oven instantly brings me back to my childhood; spending my weekends at grandma’s house, baking sweet treats and eating way too much chocolate for my own good.
Fresh cut grass always takes me back to hot summers and splashing around with the sprinklers in the backyard of our home in the Chicago suburbs.
A new box of crayons… Fresh pencil shavings… My mom’s old perfume… Our sense of smell is unbelievably powerful!
But you know what’s even more powerful?
Artificial and synthetic scents and fragrances.
Spring Rain. Fresh Linen. Hawaiian Breeze…
Sure, they sound nice and inviting, but the truth is the word “fragrance” has now become a sort of euphemism for the more than 3,000 different chemicals that make up fragrance compounds.
Image: Toban B.
So what’s the problem?
While they may smell nice, the harmful effects these products have on our health and the environment would shock you. Here’s why scented products, especially air fresheners, should really be avoided at all costs:
- They release harmful particles into the air, called volatile organic compounds, which according to the EPA can cause respiratory irritation, headaches, liver and kidney damage, and even cancer.
- They contain phthalates, which are known to “cause hormonal abnormalities, birth defects, and reproductive problems.” (source)
- And if the product uses an aerosol spray, it also contains propellants like butane and propane, which come with their own list of dangers.
Not to worry, because thankfully there are several options for nontoxic air fresheners to keep your home and living spaces smelling clean and fresh.
I’ll start with five DIY and homemade options, since most of our readers love making their own products. And then we’ll explore five more options that you can find in natural/health food stores and online. Finally, at the very end, there’s an entire section that talks about candles and why I don’t recommend using them, except for a select few safer options.
Get the new Your Non-Toxic Home eBook today and get the confidence you need to finally take charge of your family’s health!
Order today, and get access to some amazing bonuses!
- FREE Cleaning Product Labels: Beautifully designed labels to print and label your homemade products.
- FREE Recipe Cheat Sheets: 1-page cheat sheets with recipes for each room in your home.
But before I get to the list, a few things to remember:
- Nothing is healthier or smells better than clean, fresh air. So when possible, try airing out your home by opening up the windows and turning on the fan to circulate the air. Did you know indoor air can be more polluted than outdoor air? Sounds crazy, but it’s true!
- Air fresheners aren’t the only products with synthetic fragrances; they’re also in your cleaning products, laundry products, and bath and body care products. So while switching out your air fresheners is a great first step, you also want to start thinking about switching to the unscented version of your other products.
- Remember how strong and powerful our sense of smell is? Depending on how long you’ve been using these products (for most of us, that’s decades!), it will take some time to retrain your senses to appreciate and fully enjoy the more natural and non-toxic air freshener options below.
And one more thing: this post has hours and hours of research behind it, so it’s very LONG. I’d suggest skimming through it the first time just to get a feel for what’s covered, and then going back through it again to focus on the specific parts that work for what you’re looking for. 🙂
So let’s get started! What are your options for non-toxic air fresheners?
Non-Toxic Air Fresheners To MAKE/DIY
These homemade options are fairly simple and easy to put together. They use ingredients that you most likely already have on hand (or can easily find), and the best part? They don’t cost much.
1. Carpet & Room Deodorizing Powder
These carpet and room deodorizers are so easy to throw together and can be used in two ways: either sprinkle them on your carpets before vacuuming for a quick, refreshing pick me up; or place them in small rooms (like bathrooms or closets) to absorb odours. Add some essential oils for a light, refreshing scent. Get the recipe here >>
2. Air Freshener Spray
I keep one of these natural air freshener spray bottles in each bathroom for a quick, easy way to freshen up the bathrooms. With three small children sharing one bathroom, weird smells are just a part of life around here. This spray has been a life saver on many occasions. It’s also great for sprucing up a bathroom before guests come over. Get the recipe here >>
3. Reed Diffusers w/Essential Oils
Reed diffusers are all the rage these days, but the questionable ingredients in those “fragrance” oils are enough to make your head spin. Artificial fragrances are the worst offenders in household products, so a natural alternative is key. This homemade reed diffuser solution uses essential oils for fragrance and a few other easily-sourced ingredients. These are best used in small enclosed spaces, as they’re not powerful enough to scent a large room. Get the recipe here >>
4. Stove Top Simmer/Potpourri
This is one of my favourite ways to liven up the home/kitchen, especially during the cold winter months when we can’t open the windows to air out the house! And it’s so easy to put together. You’re just throwing a bunch of spices, herbs, and some fruit into a saucepan with water, and letting it simmer on low for as long as you wish. You can also use a small slow cooker for this! This works really well for getting rid of kitchen odours, and is a wonderful way to give your home that comfy, cheery, holiday feel all year round. Get the instructions here >>
5. Car Air Freshener
Image: Tony Alter
You know those pine trees that once hung from the rear view mirror of practically every car on the road? Apparently, people have been making a DIY version for years, and it looks pretty easy! Just make sure to use essential oils, not perfume oils or anything like that. Get the instructions here >>
Refilling a Plug-In Air Freshener (Please do NOT do this!)
Apparently people are refilling their plug-in fresheners with a number of combinations of essential oils, carrier oils, water, and even alcohol. That last one scares me because alcohol is highly flammable!
A reader emailed me about this recently, and here’s what I had to say about that:
So here’s the thing, after doing some research on this, my short answer is that I personally would not attempt this in my home. Here’s why:
First off, it’s not as simple as just putting some essential oils in the container and plugging it in. You would need to mix the essential oils with a carrier oil – something that would carry the essential oils into the air and keep them there. Finding the right carrier oil to use in a plug-in has proven difficult…
What complicates the whole thing, mainly the carrier oil issue, is the fact that we’re plugging this into an electrical socket. We have to consider the flashpoint of any oil we use – the temperature at which it would effectively become flammable. This is the scary point for me, because if the device becomes faulty, or any oil manages to drip onto the socket and come in contact with the electrical current, it can very well go up in flames.
I’m honestly not trying to scare you, but I do want you to consider these things when thinking about this. So I can’t in good conscience recommend trying this as the risk is just too high.
Long story, short: please do NOT attempt to refill your old plug-in air fresheners with anything other than what they were intended for. There are lots of blogs out there recommending this and showing you exactly how to do it, but I personally cannot and will not endorse this.
Non-Toxic Air Fresheners To BUY
If the homemade route is not your style, or you just can’t be bothered (I hear you!), there are still several options you can buy either online or at your local health food store.
1. Charcoal Air Purifier
These air purifying bags are filled with activated charcoal, which not only eliminates odours and allergens, but also absorbs excess moisture to prevent the growth of mold, mildew and bacteria (so they’re great for basements!).
This is your best choice if you just want to get rid of odours, without actually introducing any new scent into the air. They’re great for bathrooms, closets, cars, etc. Get them here >>
2. Non-Toxic Air Freshener Spray
It took me way too long to find a truly non-toxic air freshener spray! So be forewarned that it’s very hard to find them.
Thankfully I learned about this amazing company – Grow Fragrance – which is the real deal! Their air + fabric fresheners are truly all-natural, and made with 100% plant-based ingredients. I’ve personally vetted every ingredient, and can confirm that they all score very low (1-2) on the Environmental Working Group scale.
They’re very pleasant and not at all overwhelming, like conventional air fresheners. With scents like lavender, bamboo, and citrus, there’s something for everyone. Oh, and they offer free shipping and free returns, so you’ve got nothing to lose. 🙂 Try them here >>
There is also this spray from Eco-Me. They use all plant-based ingredients, essential oils for scent, and no harmful preservatives. I haven’t used this one, though I wouldn’t hesitate to try it.
3. Ultrasonic Diffuser (for Essential Oils)
My favourite option for non-toxic air fresheners! These electronic diffusers use just regular tap water and essential oils. They work by sending tiny, ultrasonic vibrations into the water, which then breaks down the essential oils into micro molecules and projects (diffuses) them into the air.
They come in different sizes depending on how big of a space you want to diffuse – 100mL is good for a small room or office; 500mL is good for the main living space in a house.
My favourite diffusers are from URPOWER, InnoGear, and VicTsing, but you can compare many other brands by clicking here.
Diffusers are especially great during cold/flu season for diffusing germ-fighting and therapeutic oils like peppermint, tea tree, thieves blend, orange/lemon, lavender and more. And they act as a cool mist humidifier to add some moisture to the air during the dry winter months.
4. Portable Diffusers
If a standard diffuser is more than you need, say for a small space or when you’re on the go, I found a few options for taking your air-freshener wherever you go! I haven’t yet tried these options, but I did read through the reviews (which are awesome), and now I can’t wait to get my hands on some of these!
Car Vent Diffuser
This is a locket that attaches to your car’s A/C vents (much like the standard car air fresheners you can find in stores). You just add a few drops of your favourite essential oils to the reusable/washable felt pads (it comes with 8 pads), pop it in to your vent, and you’re good to go! Get it here >>
This is a new product from Plant Therapy (aka my favourite source for essential oils). It plugs into any USB outlet, like on your laptop, a wall adapter, or with the included 12V car adapter, so you can diffuse practically anywhere!
It has a small bottle that you fill with your favourite essential oil, pop it into the diffuser, then plug it in. You can then set it to your desired interval so it will diffuse every 10, 30, or 60 seconds. What’s great about this one is that it requires no water, unlike some of the other USB diffusers I came across. Get it here >>
5. Essential Oil Burner
Image: Cinnamon Vogue
These essential oil burners are fairly inexpensive and pretty easy to find in stores, making them a great option if you’re just starting out in aromatherapy. You just place a small tea light candle in the bottom part (find safe and non-toxic candle options in the next section below), add some water and a few drops of your favourite essential oils to the top part, then light the candle and let it go to work. This was the first kind of diffuser I ever owned, and while I really enjoyed using it, there are a few things to consider:
First, because it uses an open flame, it needs to be kept away from children and pets (which is why I’ve stopped using them since having kids). Also, while they do diffuse a nice scent, it can be pretty light and it doesn’t last that long. And lastly, heat can be harsh for essential oils as it can compromise their therapeutic properties, making them less potent.
That being said, this is still a great option for non-toxic air fresheners just because of how easy it is to set up. And they can be very pretty works of art too. You can find these burners locally at your big box store or I’ve even found them at the thrift store! Or get it online here >>
What About Scented Candles?
I know how much we all love those wonderfully scented candles and waxes that seem to come in every delicious and comforting scent imaginable.
I can still remember my excitement as a teenager, taking my allowance and going straight to that bath and body store in the mall with all the amazing scents and flavours coming from their lotions, candles, and body washes. Mmmm…
But fast forward to lots of research and many years later, and I know much better now.
The problem with most candles
Whether they’re scented or not, the problem comes down to the ingredients used to make them (surprise, surprise!). Most candles are made from paraffin wax, a petroleum byproduct, which releases black soot and toxic chemicals like benzene and toluene when burned. These chemicals are known carcinogens (cancer causers) and can aggravate conditions like asthma, lung and heart problems, and cause respiratory issues. (source)
And if that wasn’t enough, scented candles (which apparently create more soot than unscented) are also made with artificial fragrance oils and compounds. When these oils are burned they release even more harmful particles into the air.
But there are safer, non-toxic candles
Most candles on the market are made from paraffin, but you do still have options. The safer alternatives to paraffin candles are those made from beeswax, soy wax, or sustainable palm oil.
- Beeswax candles are my personal favourite choice. Beeswax is used in it’s original state, without any bleaching or chemical processing to clean it up. It also has a long shelf life so it won’t go rancid anytime soon. As an added bonus, beeswax can also help improve your indoor air quality. They can be a little more expensive than the other options, but they do burn for much longer so you won’t be replacing them as often. My favourite brand is here >>
- Soy wax candles would be my next best choice, and a great vegan option for those who avoid animal products. My only hangup about soy is that most soy grown in the west is genetically modified (GMO), and I’m not keen on supporting GMO farming. That being said, I don’t think using GMO soy in candles would cause any harmful effects. Some companies will blend soy wax with paraffin wax to make them less costly, so just make sure your candles contain only 100% soy. But them here >>
- Palm wax candles are something new to me, but after doing some research I feel comfortable recommending palm candles as long as they are made from certified sustainable palm (to prevent deforestation and protect biodiversity). Buy them here >>
These three options are great alternatives to the typical candles most people have burning in their homes. They burn cleaner, they don’t produce toxic black soot, and they’re much safer for both our health and the environment.
But what about the scent?!
If you’re just looking to recreate the nice mood and ambiance of a candle-lit room, choose an unscented version of one of those safe options, and you’re good to go. Beeswax candles actually have a very nice, light honey scent which I absolutely love because it’s subtle and not overwhelming.
But what if you want to actually scent a whole room with the bright, colourful fragrances that you’ve been used to from your beloved scented candles?
This is where you have to be careful.
Just because you’re buying a scented candle made with soy or beeswax, doesn’t mean you’re completely in the clear. Many companies will still use artificial and synthetic fragrances to scent their candles. It’s just cheaper and more cost-effective for them, so it happens more often than not.
I’ve seen some candles that state “made with essential oils” on the label, only to find out that essential oils only make up part of their scent; the rest is, you guessed it – synthetic fragrances.
Is there such thing as a non-toxic scented candle?
Yes, there is!
Are they easy to find, affordable, and a practical option for regular use? Not really.
But if you really want to score some, I recommending searching at Etsy.com for “essential oil soy candles” for example, and looking for ones made with 100% soy (or beeswax). The ones from Acacia Accents look really nice and simple, and I’m sure there are many other great options.
You could also try searching through Amazon.com, but I found it very difficult to figure out exactly what some companies are using for their fragrance. These votives from ArtNaturals seem to be made from 100% soy wax and essential oils, but I’d contact the company directly first just to be sure.
For me personally, I’m happy with my ultrasonic diffuser for aromatherapy, and just use unscented beeswax candles when I really want the mood and lighting that only candles can provide.
Some candle safety tips:
- Avoid super cheap or imported candles, like those found at the dollar store.
- Avoid candles with a metal wick, as they can contain lead. Unless your candles are very old, you most likely won’t come across these, but just in case.
- Make sure you’re burning your candles in a well-ventilated area, i.e.: not in a tiny room with no windows.
- If you choose to continue using regular candles made with paraffin and synthetic fragrance, use them very minimally and sparingly – like a few times a month at most.
What about wax melts? Or those gels? Or…?
I know there’s no shortage of clever and revolutionary air freshener products out today. I’m sure there are things I’ve never even heard of before!
But here’s the thing.
You’ve got to err on the side of caution here. Regardless of what the latest and greatest air freshener claims to be, you must do your own research before accepting their clever marketing tactics. If you’re thinking about a specific product, let me know in the comments, and I’ll do my best to help point you in the right direction to make the best decision for your family.
We all love to enjoy a nice scent in our home, and there’s nothing wrong with that! But we do need to be more conscious of the products we bring into our home. Because that nice scent is definitely not worth the harmful effects that come with some of these conventional air fresheners.
Thankfully, you have lots of options for non-toxic air fresheners; you just have to find the ones that work best for you.
Your family’s health and well-being depends on it!
What are you favourite ways to freshen your home with a nice scent?
The 5 Best Air Fresheners
Whether you are trying to cover up the smell of smoke, pets, food, or any other unpleasant odors, an air freshener can be very fast and effective. While the Environmental Working Group recommends just opening a window to get rid of bad odors, when you need something more powerful, you should have an air freshener that you can depend on.
What is air freshener?
An air freshener is designed to make any area of the room smell better. It is commonly available as a spray, plug-in, oil, gel, automatic spray, beads, or candles. They are perfect for use in the bathroom, bedroom, living room, office, and any area that is frequented by pets or people. They’re used in both homes and commercial properties because they can effectively cover up odors.
Air fresheners tend to include a number of different chemical agents to neutralize odors and leave a clean, fresh scent behind. They have been shown to provoke allergy and asthma symptoms, so if you or someone in your home suffers from these issues, you may want to look for a more environmentally friendly option that is safer for use around allergy sufferers, children, and pets.
Top 5 air fresheners
Poo-Pourri Before-You-Go Toilet Spray
Using the restroom can be very embarrassing for you and your guests, but fortunately, Poo-Pourri Before-You-Go Toilet Spray is designed to kill any embarrassing odors before you even use the restroom. It can also provide a point of humor for anyone using the restroom. You spray this in the toilet before you go so that it can create a protective barrier on the water’s surface to trap any odors and prevent embarrassing moments from occurring. In other words, nobody should ever know you used the bathroom. You’ll love it and your guests will be thankful you have it. The scientifically tested formula contains essentials oils and natural compounds, making it safer than most sprays. The environmentally friendly spray uses essential oils to make it safer for the planet. There are up to 100 uses in each bottle, so it should last a long time.
This award-winning spray is Amazon’s bestseller in solid and liquid air fresheners, as well as the top rated air freshener on Amazon, with more than 2,500 five-star reviews, so you can rest assured that it will really work to completely cover up any unpleasant bathroom smells. In fact, it has become so popular, that you can even find it at beauty stores like Ulta now. The effective toilet sprays come in various scents, sizes, and sets to meet your needs. There is even a Poo-Pourri Master Crapsman Gift Set to amuse your guests, and a refillable sprayer to take with you on the go.
Currently $11.39 on Amazon
Moso Natural Air Purifying Bag
The Moso Natural Air Purifying Bag can naturally remove odors, bacteria, allergens, and harmful pollutants from the air. The eco-friendly bag can also help dehumidify the room to prevent mold, mildew, and moisture. It is non-toxic, fragrance-free, chemical-free, and covers about 90 sq. ft. Filled with Moso bamboo charcoal, it can naturally absorb odor and moisture without affecting your children or pets. It is much safer to use than an aerosol spray and can improve the air you breathe, rather than compromise it. You can place the linen bag on any surface or material, in a bathroom, bedroom, closet, shoes, bags, your car, or anywhere else you need to absorb odors, eliminate moisture, and reduce harmful chemicals in the air. There is also a metal grommet in the corner, allowing you to easily hang the bag anywhere you like.
It’s hard to believe that an air purifying bag can really remove all the odors from your home, but with over 4,000 five-star reviews on Amazon, the results are hard to argue. It was also selected as one of Oprah’s favorite eco-friendly gifts. It should last for about two years, making it an incredible value. To refresh it, simply place it in direct sunlight for an hour once a month. After the two years are up, you can simply pour the bamboo charcoal into your garden to nourish your plants.
Currently $9.95 on Amazon
Air Wick Scented Oil Air Freshener
As Amazon’s #1 best-seller in electric air fresheners, the Air Wick Scented Oil Air Freshener brings continuous long-lasting fragrance into any room or office space. The plug-in is small and sleek, so it should fit in with any home or office decor. All you need to do is plug it in, insert the refill, and set it to the fragrance intensity level you like. At low setting, each refill will last about 45 days. With three refills per pack, it is an incredible value.
You can find the plug-in air freshener in all different scents throughout the year, and this Lavender and Chamomile scented plug-in is scented with natural essential oils. If you don’t already have one, you’ll need to also purchase an Air Wick Scented Oil Warmer Unit. If you don’t like the plug-in, there are also candles, room sprays, automatic sprays, oils, wax melts, and other types of Air Wick air fresheners to meet your needs.
Currently $6.48 on Amazon
GermGuardian Pluggable UV-C Air Sanitizer and Odor Reducer
As one of Amazon’s best selling air fresheners, the GermGuardian Pluggable UV-C Air Sanitizer and Odor Reducer can effectively eliminate the odors from cooking, pets, smoke, mold, and more. It uses natural UV-C lighting, which can safely destroy odors and allergens like dust mites, mold spores, viruses, germs, and airborne bacteria. The sleek, compact design is perfect for small spaces, such as a bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, or pet areas. It naturally sanitizes the air with no chemicals and produces no ozone or chemical sprays, so you can feel confident using it around pets and children. The plug also turns three ways, so it will fit any outlet without getting in your way. There is a fan running inside at all times, but most reviewers found it to be very quiet.
You should not notice a significant change in your electricity bill, if any at all. There is also no filter and only one UV-C light that needs to be replaced every six to eight months, so there is virtually no maintenance. It is also backed by a one-year limited warranty for your added peace of mind.
Currently $31.49 on Amazon
Febreze Air Effects Air Freshener
Febreze Air Effects Air Freshener is one of the top rated air fresheners on Amazon and comes from the incredibly popular Febreze brand. It freshens the air and eliminates odors with a number of pleasing scents, such as this clean Linen and Sky scent. In fact, it claims to eliminate even the toughest odors, and prevents them from coming back. It is a clean spray that won’t leave behind any sticky residue. This value pack comes with two aerosol spray cans, providing a great value.
While it has a 100% natural propellant for the aerosol can, as well as no CFCs or phosphates, the product itself is not natural and contains chemicals that can aggravate allergies or asthma symptoms. If you don’t like using an aerosol can, Febreze has all types of air freshener options, ranging from sprays, and even Set and Refresh air fresheners.
Currently $11.30 on Amazon
And those are our recommendations for the best air fresheners. As always, be sure to check Wise Bread’s Buying Calendar to learn when and how to buy just about anything!
The Scary Truth About Air Fresheners, and Asthma and Allergy Sufferers
Everyone loves air fresheners. Scented candles, plug-ins and aerosol sprays—each make a nice home even nicer with sweet smells of spring, holidays and fresh baked cookies. However, the majority of them are asthma and allergy sufferers’ worst enemy. (They’re not good for anyone else for that matter.)
According to Stanley Fineman, MD, American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) president-elect:
“About 20 percent of the population and 34 percent of people with asthma report health problems from air fresheners. We know air freshener fragrances can trigger allergy symptoms, aggravate existing allergies and worsen asthma.”
So what causes these seemingly sweet air fresheners to harm people—especially asthma and allergy sufferers?
The problem with air fresheners/home fragrance products
Many common air fresheners contain chemicals known as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). These VOCs help cover up, not eliminate, bad smells in your home. These chemicals are what aggravate asthma and allergy symptoms.
Also, in high concentrations they’ll cause:
- Eye and respiratory tract irritation
- Memory impairment
Avoid using air fresheners (even “organic” ones) that contain these common VOCs:
- Formaldehyde (can cause cancer in animals and humans)
- Petroleum distillates
One study has found another set of hidden chemicals, which are, in a way, even more dangerous than VOCs because they’re not listed on a product’s label.
Going beyond VOCs—phthalates
According to the “Hidden Hazards of Air Fresheners” study by the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), many common air fresheners were found to contain chemicals called phthalates. Exposure to these chemicals in indoor environments aggravates asthma and allergic symptoms, according to the study.
Unfortunately, because there are no labeling requirements for phthalates, knowing which air fresheners are phthalate-free is impossible unless the product says so explicitly. So unless it says it’s free of phthalates, avoid it.
Safe ways to make your home smell fresh
Air fresheners aren’t a necessity, but it’s still nice to have your home smelling nice.
Google around for a few ways to make your home smell nice naturally. The easiest way is to just open up a window every now and again to get a breath of fresh air (and this is the perfect time of year to do that in the Phoenix area). One solution we like is by sprinkling baking soda on your carpet, let it sit for 15 minutes, and then vacuum. This will give your home a nice fresh smell.
Looking for other ways to make your Phoenix-area home’s air allergy and asthma friendly? Invest in a whole-home air cleaner to capture harmful, hard-to-see particles in your home. Ask one of our air quality experts to learn more.
The best way to make your home smell great, in my humble opinion, is to throw open the windows and doors and let some fresh air in! Fresh air not only whisks away stale air and lingering smells, but it also has its own clean and fresh scent that I just love. Unfortunately, opening our doors and windows is not a very attractive option when it’s still 90+ degrees outside. 🙁 Cooler weather may be on its way, but it’s not here yet!
So in the mean time, I thought I’d put together a list of some other great ways to make your house smell great. Not only are these methods easy to use or easy to make, but they’re also all-natural. No synthetic scents or chemicals here! So if your house could use some freshening up, give one or two (or more!) of these ideas a try!
10 Natural Ways To Make Your House Smell Great
1. Essential Oil Diffusers
I love my diffuser because it’s so easy to use! You just fill it with water, pour a few drops of essential oil in, and turn it on. The diffuser creates a fine mist that carries the scent of the essential oils throughout your house. And if you’re as excited about fall as I am, why not embrace it a bit early? Follow the link below for some of my favorite fall-themed essential oil blends that are perfect for your home diffuser.
Related: Favorite Fall Essential Oil Blends For Your Diffuser
2. Scented Cleaning Vinegar
When getting rid of unpleasant smells in your home, it’s not enough to just cover them up. A good cleaning session is usually enough to eliminate the source of bad smells. And if you’re using a cleaner that leaves behind a fresh scent – well, that’s even better! Check out the link below to learn how to make a scented cleaning vinegar that not only cleans effectively, but leaves behind a lemon-y fresh scent.
Related: How To Make Scented Cleaning Vinegar
3. Fabric Spray
If you don’t have a diffuser, here is another quick and easy way to improve the smells in your home with essential oils. Just fill a small spray bottle with water, a bit of baking soda, and your favorite essential oil. Shake well, and use as a fabric refreshing spray! Lavender is a natural choice because of it’s calming properties, but citrus oils like lemon, tangerine, sweet orange, and grapefruit are a great way to get a natural energy boost! Get the full recipe by following the link below.
Related: How To Make An All-Natural Fabric Refreshing Spray
4. Garbage Disposal Cubes
If your garbage disposal is a source of some weird food smells, there’s an easy way to clean it. Follow the link below to learn how to make frozen disposal cleaning cubes using white vinegar and citrus. You won’t believe the difference it makes!
Related: How To Naturally Clean And Sanitize Your Garbage Disposal
5. Deodorizing Carpet Powder
One of the most overlooked spots for unwanted smells is the fibers in your carpet. Eliminate those odors by making your own deodorizing carpet powder! Sprinkle the powder on your carpets, wait for a few minutes, and vacuum as usual. Not only does the powder help pick up dirt and hair, it also leaves behind a light, fresh scent. Get all the details below!
Related: How To Make A Cheap & Natural Deodorizing Carpet Powder
6. Wax Melts
Anyone have one of those little lamps for scented wax cubes? They’re a great way to fill your home with the scent of your choice, and you don’t have to worry about having an open flame somewhere. You can save yourself a lot of money on those scented wax cubes by making your own! It’s surprisingly easy, and you have full creative control to create a scent that is uniquely you. 🙂
Related: How To Make Homemade Wax Melts With Safe & Natural Ingredients
7. Car Air Freshener
Okay, you car isn’t exactly a room in your home. But since most of us spend quite a bit of time in our cars, I thought I’d include it in the list anyway. 😉 Freshen up the air in your car by making a homemade car-sized air freshener! Read the post below to learn how to make 3 simple car air fresheners.
Related: How To Make 3 Naturally Scented Air Fresheners For Your Car
8. Gel Air Fresheners
Making a gel air freshener is another great way to put essential oils to work. It’s surprisingly easy, and they make great gifts, too!
Related: How To Make Your Own Gel Air Fresheners
9. Air Purifying Plants
Potted plants aren’t just for looks; they’re also natural air purifiers. Some of the best are different kinds of palm trees, orchids and peace lilies. For more information on houseplants, check out the link below!
Related: The Breathtaking Benefits Of Houseplants
10. Stovetop Potpourri
I usually only think about stovetop potpourri during the holidays, but it’s a great way to freshen the air any time of year! Fill a saucepan with water, add sliced lemon and your favorite herbs, simmer on low heat. Or you can use a mini crockpot as your heat source! (Follow the link below for a detailed post with my favorite potpourri “recipes.”)
Related: My Favorite Simmering Potpourri Recipes
Try some of these tips when your house could use a little freshening. (And really, whose house doesn’t need that once in awhile!?)
I may include affiliate links to products sold by others, but only when they are relevant and helpful. I always offer my own genuine recommendation. Learn more.
Hi, I’m Jillee!
I believe we should all love the place we call home and the life we live there. Since 2011, I’ve been dedicated to making One Good Thing by Jillee a reliable and trustworthy resource for modern homemakers navigating the everyday challenges of running a household. Join me as I share homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make life easier so you can enjoy it more!
Every day I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!
Homekeeping Natural Remedies
Secrets of People Whose Houses Smell Amazing
Smell is often called humans’ most powerful sense, and good (and bad) smells tell us a lot about the world: what we should eat, even whom we should kiss. When it comes to our homes, if a space smells fresh, that’s a great sign. If the smell is bad? We feel uneasy.
But the secret to a nose-friendly space isn’t to spray fragrance on top of yucky stuff: “A clean home should smell like nothing,” says Melissa Maker, the founder of the Clean My Space cleaning company, blog, and YouTube channel. For folks who get overwhelmed by too much fragrance (or who have allergies or asthma), the work may end at neutralizing bad odors. But for those who love a scent, we have ideas for you too.
Tackle the bad…
Deal with moisture.
It’s the number one cause of household odors, says Rachel Hoffman, the author of the (bluntly yet inspirationally named) book Unf*ck Your Habitat: You’re Better Than Your Mess ($16; amazon.com). Consider purchasing a hygrometer (like the digital thermo-hygrometer, $29; muji.us) and testing each room—if you discover a room with humidity above 60%, you may want to use a dehumidifier. If needed, you can run more than one dehumidifier, but note that they can use a lot of energy: Start with one and see how it goes.
If you live in a humid climate, avoid wall-to-wall carpeting or rugs, which can trap moisture, especially in areas like the kitchen and bathroom, Hoffman says. Consider keeping moisture-absorbing crystals in smaller areas that get damp, such as bathrooms and some closets (like the crystals from Damp-Rid, $11; amazon.com). And keep an eye on more micro sources of moisture, such as sponges and towels: Replace sponges at least every one to two weeks, ensure clean towels are fully dry before folding and putting them away, and hang bath mats over the shower rod to help them dry.
Out with the obvious.
Spots like litter boxes, garbage cans, pet beds, and diaper pails are all places that give off funky smells. Duh, you might say, but unfortunately, the more time we spend around these things, the less likely we are to realize that they stink. “It’s called sensory adaptation, and it’s common to all the senses,” says Leslie Stein, PhD, director of science communications at the Monell Chemical Senses Center. This “nose blindness” is actually adaptive, because when regular smells fade into the background and an unfamiliar scent pops up (like smoke), we notice it more. But it can also mean that your stuff smells and you don’t even know it. So it’s important to be proactive: Clean the inside of your garbage can (including the lid, if there is one) at least once a month, Hoffman suggests. Keep a bit of kitty litter at the bottom of the pail to absorb smells. Launder pet beds regularly, and scoop the litter box every day. And if you can, try to use small garbage pails in your home so you’re basically forced to take out the trash more regularly.
Open the fridge.
The first course of action for a funky fridge should be pretty obvious: Toss anything that is past its prime. Hoffman says that some of the worst offenders are condiments—which people tend to think last forever—and leftovers. “They get pushed to the back and forgotten about,” she says. Do an inventory of your fridge at least every month to ensure the contents are fresh.
Then give the interior of your fridge a thorough scrubbing. If you have removable shelves and drawers, pull them out and soak them in hot, soapy water. Wipe down the inside of the structure with a 1-to-1 mixture of hot water and white vinegar with a tiny drop of dish soap. Use a damp cloth to rinse. “Remember to only use cleaners that are food-safe inside your fridge,” says Hoffman. Stay away from bleach, she advises, as it’s difficult to properly dilute and rinse.
Clean soft surfaces.
Carpets, throw pillows, upholstery, bed linens, and window covers are magnets for smells. Once a spill dries or dirt gets wiped away, odor-causing bacteria can still stay behind. In carpets, a missed stain can lead to mold or mildew. Maker recommends having a professional steam-clean your upholstery and carpets once a year. If that’s not doable, try an at-home upholstery cleaner, like Woolite Fabric & Furniture Cleaning Foam ($11; amazon.com). For throw pillows, bed linens, and window covers, check the fabric care labels to see if they can be machine-washed. “But remember there are certain items best left to a pro to ensure the job gets done right,” she says.
The easiest way to avoid smells in a carpet is to quickly attack any spill. Biological stains, like an accident from a pet or a child, should be treated with an enzyme cleaner, such as Seventh Generation Natural Stain Remover Spray ($4; target.com), which breaks down bio messes more quickly. And while carpet shampooing is helpful, the easiest way to stay on top of carpet smells is good ol’ regular maintenance. As you vacuum and spot-treat your carpets more, the less likely they are to smell, Hoffman notes. “Try sprinkling the area with baking powder, let it sit for a few hours, and then vacuum,” says Donna Smallin Kuper, a certified house-cleaning technician and the author of Clear the Clutter, Find Happiness ($10; amazon.com).
Bring in the good…
Open the window.
It’s the easiest way to bring freshness in, says Maker, especially if you have leftover cooking smells or lingering odors from home improvement projects such as painting. Opening a window makes your entire space feel cleaner and helps lift the mood in your home. If possible, open windows on multiple sides of your home to get a cross breeze. Even if it’s freezing outside, cracking a window for a short while can make a difference.
Try a neutralizer.
If you love the idea of a home that smells perfectly like nothing, then look for odor neutralizers that don’t add a scent. Our experts are fans of activated charcoal filters that come in small bags you can hang in stink-prone rooms or stash in a gym bag (like Air Purifying Bags from California Home Goods, $22 for 4; amazon.com). “They’re good especially in areas like diaper pails, garbages, and litter boxes,” says Maker. In a pinch, fill your sink with hot water and a few drops of bleach, and drain it before company arrives. “Just the smell of cleaner will make people think your home is clean,” says Hoffman.
Think beyond the candle.
Scented candles are likely the most popular way to add fragrance to a home, and if you love them, stick with what you know—just use one or two at a time to avoid going overboard. But know that many experts prefer essential oil diffusers: They’re a cleaner way to scent your home than candles because they don’t give off soot or ash. Maker also prefers diffusers over plug-ins because they provide more natural smells. “A plug-in or spray says, ‘I’m covering something up,’” she says. “Essential oils are a more mild way to scent your home. It’s not overpowering or bombarding.” Diffusers are also easily customizable in a way candles aren’t, since you can combine your favorite essential oils to create a scent that’s perfectly you.
Find subtle ways to scent.
Diffusers aren’t the only way to use essential oils. A few other DIY ideas from Maker: First, consider a fabric refresher spray. Mix half a cup of white vinegar, half a cup of rubbing alcohol, 1 teaspoon of cornstarch, and 20 drops of your favorite oil in a small spray bottle. Shake well before each use, and mist it over clothing or upholstery, ensuring that clothes dry completely before you fold them. Or try baking soda sachets, which absorb bad smells and add in good ones: Fill a coffee filter with baking soda, add about five drops of essential oil, and tie it off—then toss it in a drawer or anywhere that needs a refresh. Another pro tip: Next time you replace your furnace filter, add 10 to 20 drops of essential oil. The air will help disperse the scent throughout the space.
Strong scents aren’t always best.
It’s a common misconception that in order for your home to smell “good,” the smell has to envelop you the second you walk through the door. The opposite is actually true, according to Lara Nixon, a partnership manager for Air Aroma, a company that helps brands and individuals scent their spaces. “More subtle smells are the ones that stick with people for longer,” she explains. So instead of walking into a spot and saying, “I smell peppermint,” you want to walk in and say, “That smells nice.” You’re after a general feeling of energy, relaxation, or whatever your intention for the space is. This also ensures you’re taking your guests into consideration. Some may have allergies or sensitivities to strong smells, and you don’t want to make them uncomfortable in your home.
For that reason, Nixon says it’s a good idea to stay away from overly sweet, cloying smells when scenting your home. If you love your sugar apple cinnamon candle, Maker suggests saving that for times when you’re home on your own. “I’m a fan of having a library of scents,” she says. Your sweet favorite can serve as your personal mood booster, which is exactly what a good smell should do.
For times when you’re sharing your space, however, Maker suggests steering clear of sugary scents and sticking to more natural ones, like woods, florals, and citrus. “You can still get a similar feeling as you do with the sugary-smelling scents,” she says. “But the result will be longer lasting and more impactful.” In other words, a home that smells as good as it looks.
The way a house smells when you first step in, might seem unimportant, but I can assure you it is anything but. Our sense of smell is connected to our emotions and that’s powerful in and of itself. Smells can elicit emotional responses such as being happy, relaxed and calm, or anxious, irritable and angry. Further to that, the way a home smells is oftentimes indicative of how clean it is; a stale smell means something entirely different than a gentle, fresh smell, or the welcoming (hopefully!) smell of home cooking. Let’s look at a few of my favourite simple and effective ways to make your home smell wonderful not only as a way to warmly welcome anyone who sets foot into the home, but also as a way to indicate that you take great care of your home.
The Stovetop Simmer
This will have your main floor smelling great in no time at all. Simply take a saucepan or your slow cooker, fill it half way with water and toss in your favourite combination of great smelling ingredients including hearty herbs, fruits and spices. Quick measuring note, you should have about 1 part ingredients to 3 parts water, so you can scale this up or down depending on the size of your vessel.
For the saucepan
Allow the water to come to a boil and then reduce down to the lowest heat setting and simmer, with the lid slightly off, adding water every now and then (keep the magic going for as long as you can!). Bare in mind that you do need to keep an eye on the pot, so don’t do this when you plan to leave the house. It’s a nice Sunday morning thing to do while you make breakfast and catch up on laundry.
For the slow cooker
The slow cooker doesn’t need much monitoring, you can continue to add water as the water evaporates and simply turn it off when you see the water is running low.
Some of my favourite combinations include:
(remember, just scale the recipe to have one part ingredients to three parts water)
- Orange, sliced, star anise, cinnamon sticks, cloves, 1 tbsp. vanilla extract.
- Rosemary sprigs, lemon,sliced, 1 tbsp. vanilla extract.
- Cranberries (frozen or fresh), Orange, sliced, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon sticks
- Cranberries and cinnamon sticks
I love this method because it gives you creative freedom, is fairly non-committal and inexpensive because you don’t need to invest in essential oils. You can also reuse the mixture a few times (I just pour everything into a mason jar and use the next day, adding some more water), but you will want to replace it after about 2-3 uses.
Have you ever noticed those little bowls of coffee grinds or beans on a perfume counter at a fancy department store? Well, there’s a good reason (aside from reminding you that you need that Starbucks run 5 minutes ago). The smell of coffee neutralizes your palette, allowing you to smell each perfume with a fresh ‘nose’. Ergo, coffee helps neutralize odours and has the added bonus of smelling fantastic on its own.
Simply take some coffee grinds (these work better than beans) and place them in a bowl or open air container and stick it anywhere that needs deodorizing, such as your closet or cupboards. The grinds will absorb odors and leave that area smelling…well, hopefully like nothing (or at the very least, like coffee!). Just remember to change them out often, every couple of weeks or so, since the oils in the grinds eventually lose their potency and become stale.
Who doesn’t love the smell of vanilla? If you don’t, I’m sorry; I just haven’t met you yet :).
Now let’s say you’re in the I heart vanilla camp. Imagine getting a whiff of that sweet, sweet smell every time you open your fridge! Vanilla is a wonderful fridge deodorizer, hello! Your fridge has a few sources of bad smells one of which is the food itself, and the other is the plastic inside the fridge, which is porous and has absorbed odours over the years.
To deodorize the plastic interior of your fridge
Take a paper towel and dip it in vanilla extract. Then, wipe down the surfaces of the fridge with the paper towel. This will help neutralize odours in the plastic. I know what you’re thinking, vanilla extract is brown and I don’t want my fridge looking dingy. Don’t worry, this method won’t stain the fridge.
To keep the fridge air fresh
If you want to absorb odours floating around the fridge from the food in there, simply add a few cotton balls to a small bowl, and soak the balls in vanilla extract. Find a little nook in your fridge to place the bowl and voila, no more smelly handshake every time you open that fridge. Change out the cotton and vanilla every couple of weeks to keep the smells at bay!
My mother-in-law has been using this trick since before Chad was born (almost 40 years now) and she swears by it. Although no one in the family smokes, they use to allow their guests to puff away in the house as they pleased. Since none of my in laws were a fan of eau de cigarette, she would place several bowls around the areas with smoking and filled them half way with white vinegar. The vinegar absorbs the odors from tobacco (and frankly, almost everything else) and leaves the house smelling neutralized. You’d want to leave bowls out at least for 24 hours after the smoking or several days if there’s a heavy odour. Sure, you’ll smell a bit of vinegar but I’d take that over smokes any day and the smell of vinegar dissipates over time. This trick also works for other strong scents that may be in your home such as cooking. Leave a few small bowls around the house and you will be sure to notice a difference. Safe, super easy and dollar stretching.
Essential Oils (EO)
If you’ve seen one of our videos or read a couple other posts on this website, you probably know how much I love essential oils. They can be used several ways to deodorize and invigorate a space and I’ll share a couple here.
Have you seen a nebulizer before? It’s a small device that you fill with water and a few drops of your favourite essential oils. The nebulizer disperses a scented mist throughout a room or space for hours at a time. I have been using one in my bedroom for months; I love walking into a calm, fresh space especially before bed (lavender is a great choice to use in the bedroom).
DIY reed diffuser
You can also make a reed diffuser to slowly disperse the scent throughout a room. We’ve got a whole video on how to do just that, here!
Quick cotton ball fix
If you want a quick EO fix simply put a cotton ball in a small bowl and drop 5-10 drops of your favorite scent (or combination) onto the ball. Simply place the bowl in whichever room you’d like to infuse with the gentle scent and it will slowly begin to waft its way into the air.
Another great trick is to place a few drops of EO on your furnace filter each time you change it out (about every 3 months) and the scent will come up through your air vents!
Baking Soda Braun
Baking soda is one of my top used cleaning agents and for good reason. This powerful powder works to absorb and trap odours like a champ. There are many things you can do with this inexpensive ingredient:
- Pour some into bowls and place them around house to absorb odors.
- Pour some in a satchet and place it in your sock drawer, closet or anywhere that needs deodorizing.
- Sprinkle it on your carpet or upholstery; leave it for 10-15 minutes then vacuum it up. This will draw dirt out and remove odors.
I found this beautiful, mysterious looking item several years ago and have loved it dearly since. Lampe Berger is a French invention (hmm, I wonder what gave that away?) which has been around for well over 100 years. Initially, it was designed to to purify the air of hospitals using a special oil, a wick and a flame to keep patients healthy while in hospital. This happens through the process of catalysis. Since then, it has become famous for purifying and deodorizing air, dispersing a scent and decorating the home (because it’s so pretty!).
You can select a model which is made from glass or porcelain; it’s a small enough accessory that you can really have some fun choosing the model you love and making it pop in your home, or you can choose a simple one which blends in seamlessly. Fun fact: Coco Chanel designed one! Further to that, they have a large variety of scented oils (it’s almost exhausting to select one), but I’ve settled on Vanilla Gourmet and love it. In typical French fashion, the Lampe Berger combines all things sensual and beautiful into a neat little deodorizing package.
Strike at the Source
The best way to combat odors, of course, is to get at them before they have a chance to spread. As much as the information seems obvious, allowing something to linger, like dirty dishes, a spill, old food in the fridge, just exacerbates the odour issue. Keeping on top of removing odour-causing material quickly helps keep your home smelling fresh and clean because it is fresh and clean!
This includes regularly vacuuming carpets and upholstery, taking out the garbage before it gets ultra stinky and following a regular cleaning routine. I’m also a big believer in maintaining a strict no shoes in the house policy! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – shoes track in dirt, dirt gets ground into the floor, and that dirt smells! Lastly, remember to open the windows when the weather permits. Fresh air works wonders!
I hope your house smells better already. I would love to know what are your favourite scent combinations or your best home deodorizing tips? Please share them in the comments below.
Fragrance Sensitivity: What You Need to Know
Imagine you’re at your office and all of a sudden you catch a whiff of your co-worker’s new perfume. Within minutes your eyes begin watering and you’re sneezing non-stop. What do you do?
This is one way that many people experience fragrance sensitivity. While it may seem arbitrary, fragrance sensitivity is a real condition that millions of people live with every day. Unfortunately for them, fragrance can be found almost everywhere, from traditional perfumes and air fresheners to cleaning products and even advertising inserts.
If you suspect you or someone you know might have a fragrance sensitivity, read on. We’ll cover how to recognize the symptoms and how sensitive people can limit their exposure to fragrances.
What Is Fragrance Sensitivity?
Fragrance sensitivity is a condition in which someone displays irritation or an allergic reaction to ingredients or chemicals in fragrances. These people are often allergic to the scents in a variety of daily-use items like toiletries, cosmetics, cleaning products and pesticides.
Since fragrance is used in so many household items, exposure can be constantly occurring and usually increases when much time is spent indoors. What’s worse, it’s often difficult to identify the source of the allergy since so many complex chemical formulas are used in our everyday products.
While many people think fragrance sensitivity is a minor issue, it’s actually a very common issue and can be quite severe.
Symptoms of Fragrance Sensitivity
The symptoms of fragrance sensitivity can vary based on the type of sensitivity one possesses. There are two types of allergy sensitivity — respiratory and skin. The frequency and level of sensitivity can differ from one person to another. Symptoms can include:
- Skin redness
- Skin itching and burning
- Watery, itchy and red eyes
- Runny nose
- Breathing difficulties
- Chest tightness
- Worsening of asthma symptoms
People who have nasal fragrance allergies usually experience symptoms that feel similar to seasonal allergies. This may include headaches or nausea. The allergies could also manifest as watery, itchy eyes, sneezing, nasal congestion or other breathing difficulties. Those who have asthma need to be especially careful if they have fragrance sensitivities, as their reactions could worsen their asthma symptoms.
Other people may exhibit a skin reaction when exposed to certain fragrances or chemicals. These can include contact dermatitis such as skin redness or itching, burning skin. These people often develop their symptoms when they have touched the offending product or substance.
The Rise of Fragrance Sensitivities
Fragrance sensitivities are on the rise, which could, in part, be because of the rise in scented products. Scent can be found everywhere, and those who are exposed to these allergens daily can see increased symptoms.
People who have seasonal allergies are more likely to develop fragrance sensitivities due to their baseline allergic disease. With more than 50 million Americans suffering from allergies each year, these fragrance sensitivities are becoming more common.
The combination of allergy-afflicted Americans and the increasing presence of fragrance and chemicals available to the public means that more and more people are seeing the impacts of fragrance sensitivity.
Fragrance Sensitivity in the Workplace
Sensitivity to fragrance has become a hot-button issue in the workplace. As more and more people report experiencing symptoms, people have begun to debate whether or not workplaces should be required to limit fragrance usage to accommodate sensitivities.
Federal courts have ruled that an allergy to scents can be considered a disability under ADAAA (the most recent amendments to the Americans with Disabilities Act). Under this law, when an employee has a severe reaction to exposure to an odor or scent their employer must act on their behalf to remedy the situation.
An employee who is experiencing debilitating symptoms like asthma, breathing difficulties or an itchy, inflamed rash has the right to request a safe workplace. Their employer is required to take steps to ensure their work area is free of scents. This includes banning other employees from using scents.
Preventing and Treating Fragrance Sensitivities
If you’re allergic to fragrance or know someone who is, there are several things you can do to ease the symptoms. You can be more cognizant of what you buy, and there are also certain medications that those who are affected can take.
If symptoms are respiratory-focused, purchase nasal antihistamines and nasal corticosteroid medications to control the allergy symptoms. These are much like what you would purchase for seasonal allergies or allergies to dander.
Try to keep all fragrances off of your body and out of your immediate environment. Many everyday products can contain scent. These products may include:
- Fabric softeners
- Laundry detergents
- Skin care products
- Air freshener
- Room spray
- Scented candles
- Cleaning and deodorizing products
How to Buy Fragrance-Free Products
Since fragrance allergies are becoming so common, many companies are opting to offer fragrance-free products. However, their packaging can be confusing to some. Here’s a list of resources to help you find the right products.
- Find EPA Safer Choice-certified products: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency created a new Safer Choice label to help people identify products that have safer chemical or natural ingredients. Products that are free of chemical scents are marked “fragrance-free” in the upper left-hand corner of the label.
- Read the EWG guides: The Environmental Working Group has provided an extensive online database where you can look up healthy cleaners and personal care products. We recommend looking at the ingredients provided to see if fragrances are listed in the products that you use.
- Look for MADESAFE certified products: MADESAFE has put together a list of certified fragrance-free and allergen-free products.
Fragrance-free vs. Unscented
Did you know that many products can call themselves “fragrance-free” if the word “fragrance” doesn’t appear on the products ingredient label? This doesn’t necessarily mean that no scented additives have been added to the product.
To determine if a product is truly unscented, look to see if you see essential oils or fruit/flower distillate waters on the ingredient label. If you see these, the product is scented and it can cause an allergic reaction.
Other companies may use chemicals to mask scents so that your product will smell like “nothing”. These will claim to be fragrance-free but many people will have reactions to these chemicals as well.
While many people love wearing their favorite perfume daily, it’s important to be courteous to those who may be struggling with any sensitivities. While you can’t control everything you expose the people around you to, perfume and cologne are things that are easy to monitor.
Fragrance sensitivity can vary among individuals, and those who have more severe allergies should be treated with care. If you are experiencing these symptoms, you may need to ask your friends, spouse or partner and your co-workers to avoid wearing heavily-scented products when they are around you.