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Toxicity of air fresheners

Recovering from a spring cold and in a box store recently I was reminded of how strong smelling the air freshener/candle aisle can be to a sensitive nose and inflamed sinuses.  Can scents that strong and meant to last so long be organic? It’s not mandated for the producers to list ingredients, the same with cleaning products but if you do a little research you’ll find its questionable ingredients that make up these potentially hazardous products.

Air fresheners may contain allergens and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) as well as cancer-causing chemicals such as benzene and formaldehyde.  There have been studies done that show that allergies and asthma symptoms can be compounded by being exposed to strong fragrances and it can’t be healthy for us to be exposed to chemicals that manufactures won’t voluntarily list.  Commercial air freshener sprays, plugs, stationary dispensers, and scented candles are toxic and the companies making them have reported booming sales in recent years.

What is a healthier, greener alternative?  Try essential oils that can add a fresh, natural scent to your home or your car without exposing you or your family to harmful chemicals.  You can use diffusers with oils that gently warm the oil to release its fragrance or reed diffusers that absorb water and oils for a subtle, steady effusion of scent. In my car I use essential oil on a cotton square with a little bit of rubbing alcohol and just let it sit on the dashboard.  Be careful though as the oils can stain fabric.  Here’s a simple recipe to create your own spray air freshener (measurements can all be approximate), be sure to shake well before spritzing:

4 oz. clean spray bottle with a fine mist setting (do not use a bottle that previously contained cleaning products or hair products).

15-30 drops of your favorite calming/relaxing or sensual essential oil or essential oil blend

3  oz. of distilled water.

.5 oz. alcohol or vodka