Sunday 11 September 2011

Air Fresheners - How Safe Are They?

You see the ads on the telly all the time - someone cooking fish or putting something into a smelly bin and they reach for the air freshener and spray it everywhere. Or there are the other ads where the air freshener is made to look like an ornament and it magically releases sweet aromas into the air every few minutes. Have you seen them? Even more pertinent - do you have them in your home?

There are numerous reports about the toxicity and health risks associated with the use of air fresheners. Frankly, it is very scary because literally millions of people use them. Even using an aerosol spray can to disperse the product into the air is dangerous, because they rely on chlorofluorocarbons which are toxic to inhale and are harmful to the planet.

A University at California Berkeley study in April 2006 found that many traditionally used floor, window and bathroom cleaners and air fresheners could create toxic conditions, either alone (especially in small spaces, like bathrooms), over extended exposure (say, by a cleaning professional) or when combined with high levels of ozone. Of particular concern were products containing glycol ethers and those containing terpenes, a class of compounds found in pine, lemon and orange oils that is similar to formaldehyde when mixed with ozone.

While some companies use terpenes as an active ingredient due to their solvent properties (think Pine-Sol), others use limonenes from orange and lemon peels simply for fragrance. Almost any product with a lemon or orange scent contains these potentially toxic compounds, says William Nazaroff, the study's lead author, even if the product calls itself "eco-friendly."

If you think it is safer to use plug-in air fresheners, think again. Recent studies show that these are also hazardous to your health and represent a toxic threat to the quality of your indoor air.  For example, formaldehyde is just one of the toxic chemicals used in some plug in air fresheners. Not only does it contribute to poor indoor air quality, but it is also a known carcinogen. What is more, there are concerns now being expressed that plug in air fresheners are also a fire hazard risk.  Fire investigators have found plug in air fresheners to be the alleged starting point for some homes that have caught fire.

So, do we have to live with the odors, germs and bacteria that are present in even the best kept homes?  Unequivocally NO!

My house always smells fresh and fragrant, but not at the expense of my health or that of my family. I will share with you how to make air fresheners that will enhance your home environment, make you feel good, reduce the risk of getting sick through air-borne viruses and bacteria, cost you hardly anything to make and are effective. As opposed to being harmful, these air fresheners will be conducive to your health and well-being.

Here is a recipe for making your own safe, natural multi-purpose air freshener

All Purpose Air Freshener
  • 1/4 teaspoon eucalyptus essential oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon essential oil                                      
  • 1/4 teaspoon lavender essential oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon sandalwood essential oil
  • 2 cups distilled water
  • 1/2 cup vodka

Put all of the ingredients into a misting bottle. Secure the lid and shake well. Label and date the bottle and keep it in a cool dark place. Shake well before use. The vodka extends the life of this spray and it will last for months.

This spray smells absolutely wonderful and has many benefits. Use it to deodorize, lift mood, to ward off colds and flu, to breathe easier if you have a cold or asthma and to keep mosquitoes and flies away as well!

Have a blessed day everyone!


  1. Love your air freshener recipe. Will have to make that one for myself.

  2. sounds interesting will give this a go

  3. Wow, I make a spray also but I simply use which ever oils come to mind in the moment!

    Nothing nicer than a refreshing natural fragrance!

    Once again Sonja, i am inspired by you ;O)

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