The Dangers of Air Fresheners


Keeping our homes smelling fresh and clean is sometimes more important to us than any other aspect of a clean home.  To that end, the battery of air fresheners has grown and continues to expand over the years.  Whether it’s simply baking soda remedies, plug-ins, diffusers, sprays, or candles, we’re constantly trying to find new ways of mitigating odor in our homes. But many of these fresheners, while delivering a nice scent, come with a few added surprises you probably didn’t bargain for.

Phthalates and Dangers

Most air fresheners are chemical in nature.  They’re easy to produce, you can control the desired effect, and it makes them extremely fast-acting.  Unfortunately, that means that many of them contain chemicals known as phthalates.  These chemicals build up in the body over time, and since you can’t completely prevent your exposure to them (they are pretty much everywhere), it’s best to remove them where you can.

Now, while some air fresheners and odor eliminators don’t contain phthalates, those aren’t the only chemicals with negative effects.  Any aerosol or propellant-based air freshener has the potential for causing health issues. Eventually, candles and diffusers place enough pollutants in your home’s air to make it as bad as the air outside or worse.  Of course, some of this can be mitigated by sparing how often you use fresheners and installing a higher quality air filter to lower the concentrations of pollutants in your home.


So what can you do instead? Well, more traditional methods use the natural fragrances of plants and oils to add good scents to your home, while natural filters and purifiers work to remove pollutants from the air. Baking soda has long been held as an effective way to mitigate strong odors, but that also requires you to spread out a large amount to absorb the smell.  Instead, activated charcoal (similar to what’s used in some water filters) is far more effective at removing bad smells while it also strips hazards and toxins from your air.

To add good smells to your home, try heating a bowl of natural oil extracts, such as peppermint. Or simply place a stick of cinnamon in a cup of water and heat up the water.  The effects are healthier and the scent is far more natural than most air fresheners.

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