We’re pretty sure that everyone wants a home that smells nice, and whether you prefer a fresh and clean scent or the smell of birthday cake, you should stop to think about what these fragrances are made of.
And why can you still smell the air freshener even after it has made its way into the trash?
Once you see the list of ingredients that make up those fragrant smells, trust me, you will want to avoid those with a ten foot pole!
Toxins in Air Fresheners
Depending on the air freshener you use, the toxin list can be much longer than what we have listed, but these are the common harmful ingredients in most air fresheners:
Formaldehyde. You’re probably already familiar with many of the dangers of formaldehyde, and we’ve talked about it a lot in the past. Formaldehyde can actually be found in a range of products from food and cosmetics to building supplies and medical settings. However, there is a known link between formaldehyde and cancer, so it’s best to avoid extra exposure if possible.
Fragrance. We know fragrances are made up of tons of toxic chemicals, and the term “fragrance” isn’t regulated by the FDA because it’s considered a trade secret. This means companies don’t have to disclose the ingredients in their fragrances… which is obviously the main part of air fresheners. Chemicals in fragrances have a variety of known harmful effects, especially when there is chronic exposure. These are the same type of fragrances we warn against when it comes to using hair and body products, cosmetics, and household cleaners.
Toluene (BHT). Toluene and BHT is often found in air fresheners, but it’s also one of the main components in paint thinner! It can lead to a variety of health issues including eye irritation, dizziness, and headaches, and chronic exposure may even lead to liver and kidney damage.
Phthalates. This chemical is one that is hard to avoid and is in virtually every conventional product on the market. Phthalates are one of the number one toxic chemicals we look to avoid when shopping for anything. Learn more about phthalates in our home and beauty products.
Air fresheners often leech into your upholstery so you continue smelling it even after the freshener has been thrown away. The problem is that the chemicals that leach out often mix with other elements in the air leading to indoor pollution.
How Can I Make My Home Smell Good Without Chemicals?
What Absorbs Bad Smells in a Room?
Charcoal is a great non-toxic way to get rid of bad smells. Rather than masking smells as conventional air fresheners do, charcoal absorbs bad odor particles from the air. Though it doesn’t put off a strong scent, you can purchase charcoal bags to place around your home to get rid of bad smells. They come in a variety of sizes depending on your room size. In larger spaces, you may need more than one bag.
How to Create a Non-Toxic Air Freshener
You can actually make a DIY air freshener solution that is non-toxic and will leave your home smelling fresh. Just combine water, baking soda, and several drops of your favorite essential oils. Shake it for a minute then leave the lid off to emit the smell.
To make a room spray, you can combine some rubbing alcohol, witch hazel, and your favorite extracts or oils.
You can also add small cones sprayed with your favorite oils or cinnamon sticks to a small breathable bag to place in drawers and closets.
Our Favorite Non-Toxic Air Fresheners
You can often find homemade non-toxic candles and air fresheners from local markets and places like Etsy, or small boutiques. As always, read the labels when you are shopping in the stores. Here are some other non-toxic air freshener sprays that you can find online.
This spray is plant-based, non-toxic, and is perfect for making a room smell amazing! You can also spray cloth fabrics and upholstery. The essential oils in Grow Fragrance don’t mask odors, but instead removes them and act as a natural deodorizer.
Colton’s Natural Room Spray is actually handmade in the state of North Carolina! And since it’s free from harmful toxins, you never have to worry if that scented smell will cause health concerns. Perfect for rooms, bedding, and upholstery!
Fresh Wave actually earned a Safer Choice Label from the EPA. It doesn’t contain harmful toxins or GMOs, and the packaging is recyclable and degradable. It’s also made in the U.S. and works well to eliminate all odors (including those from pets!).
The Best Non-Toxic Air Freshener for Your Car
You may find yourself wanting a new car smell and may be really tempted to buy one from the store, but we recommend opting for these Activated Bamboo Charcoal Air Purifying Bags instead. Not only are they all-natural, but they’re a great way to rid odors without adding toxic chemicals to the mix.
Their use doesn’t have to be limited to your car though. They’re perfect for other small spaces too! Try using them in half-bathrooms, closets, and even stinky shoes.
A clean-smelling home shouldn’t be filled with harmful chemicals! We hope that you find an air freshener that you love off of our list! If you prefer candles, be sure to check out our guide to buying non-toxic candles too. If you decide to DIY, please come back and let us know in the comments what scent you chose!