Air fresheners are one of the most toxic products used in homes, yet they remain one of the most-used products. We all want our homes to smell inviting and cozy. Adding candles and air fresheners is the perfect way to do that, but not all air fresheners are created equal. Many of the air fresheners marketed today contain potentially-harmful ingredients. So while that apple-scented room spray or candle may feel cozy, it could also pose health risks.
One of the easiest ways to create a healthier home is to swap out commercial air fresheners with non-toxic options. Below, you’ll find 6 totally-natural, non-toxic air fresheners.
Are Air Fresheners Healthy?
According to the National Research Defense Council, “The federal government does not currently test air fresheners for safety or require manufacturers to meet any specific safety standards.”
The Defense Council tested 14 brands of air fresheners and found that 12 of the products contained phthalates, a man-made chemical that can be used in plastics and fragranced cleaning and cosmetic products. Some forms are believed to disrupt hormones (listen to this podcast episode about hormones and detoxing), cause reproductive health issues, be carcinogenic, and may be linked to asthma.
And this is JUST ONE concerning ingredient.
The US Government’s National Toxicology Program warns that plug-in air fresheners release formaldehyde, which is a known human carcinogen.
We’re not going to spend our time talking about the harmful side of conventional air fresheners, because today we’re going to focus on the change we can make: safe-for-you, DIY air fresheners. If you want to learn more about the harmful ingredients used in air fresheners, check out this article.
6 DIY Natural Air Fresheners
Below, you’ll find a list of natural air fresheners for a fresh, healthier home. Don’t let the word “DIY” scare you away. Some options don’t require any mixing or craftiness, while others do require some easy DIYing.
You may want to use one air freshener or multiple in your home. Keep in mind, a natural air freshener will not contain the strong, long-lasting fragrance that you’ll find with most air freshener products sold in stores. This is because these products do not contain toxic chemicals that cause scents to linger. Natural scents will dissipate over time and will add a subtle scent to a room.
1. Beeswax Candles
A cozy way to purify the air in your home. Buy beeswax candles from local markets or make them yourself. They’re super easy to make: try the slow-cooker method, stove-top method, or taper candles. If you want to scent your candles, add an essential oil (naturally derived from plants).
2. Live Plants
Plants not only add beauty to a space, but also purify the air. Even if you don’t have a “green thumb” you can still add a couple of plants. I’ve had great success with the ZZ Plant and Monstera Delicioso (both work in spaces without a ton of direct sunlight).
This is my favorite way to scent my home. Add a few drops of an essential oil or blend of essential oils to an essential oil diffuser. My favorite oil blends to diffuse for fall: Harvest Moon and Pumpkin Pie.
4. Simmer Pots
Add cinnamon sticks, orange or lemon rinds, whole cloves, and/or fresh rosemary or eucalyptus to a pot of water and simmer on your stove-top. The simmer will freshen the air in your home and add a wonderful scent.
5. Vodka Air Freshener
Make your own air freshener spray with vodka and essential oils or spices. Try this recipe for an essential oil vodka spray (4 ways!) and this recipe for a spray using oranges and herbs.
6. Baking Soda
Baking soda is a great odor-absorber. Sprinkle baking soda on carpets, rugs, or a mattress. Let rest for 20-30 minutes, then vacuum. Add an essential oil to the baking soda if desired for scent.
Essential Oils Note: If you have animals in your home, do your research about which essentials are best to use and not use around your pets.