The main reason most of us would want to stop using chemical cleaners is to prevent toxins from being released into the air we breathe. Unfortunately, toxins are released by other things in our home: furniture, fabric, varnish, and home decor. Pollutants can also come inside the home from the clothing we wear. As anyone who doesn’t smoke can tell you, if you walk into a cloud of the stuff you will walk away smelling like a cigarette. The same thing happens when we go to the workplace or out shopping. Toxins can attach themselves to clothing and hair.
Commercial air fresheners and disinfectants are highly toxic. In fact, when I read up on the ingredients of the most popular brand, Lysol, I nearly choked. I could not believe the stuff I had been subjecting my family to. It contains carbon monoxide (yeah, that is lethal in large doses), and of course, the “fragrance”.
When you see the word fragrance listed in the ingredients of any product, run. Run fast. Fragrance in air fresheners consist of acetone (yeah, like, nail-polish remover), limonene (an oxidized citrus oil / source), chloromethane (refrigerant), and dioxane (ether).
I’ll just be blunt. Don’t subject your family to this stuff. And the smell good –mountain fresh, linen, holiday cheer, and tropical paradise– scents are worse!
While at least 14 countries have already banned this stuff, recent tests here in the US prove they contain hormone disrupting phthalates and that includes the ones that were marked as “natural” or “unscented”! Why don’t they just ban it? Here is quote from the report:
Phthalates are hormone-disrupting chemicals that can be particularly dangerous for young children and unborn babies. Exposure to phthalates can affect testosterone levels and lead to reproductive abnormalities, including abnormal genitalia and reduced sperm production. The State of California notes that five types of phthalates—including one that we found in air freshener products—are “known to cause birth defects or reproductive harm.” Young children and pregnant women should be especially careful to avoid contact with these chemicals. (source)
Okay, enough of that. We know it’s bad so what can do instead? I’m glad you asked.
We talked about many ways to clean the air of toxins in the post How to Detoxify Your Home so after you do that, here are a few ways to make the air smell good. These will not remove toxins but they will make the air smell better.
- A teaspoon of baking soda and 5-10 drops of lemon essential oil in a small dish will absorb odors in the room.
- Put one vanilla bean (cut down center) and the remains of an orange or apple in a small pot and simmer. You could also use cinnamon and apple.
- Grind lemon, apple, orange, or other fruity remains in the garbage disposal. It gives off the best smell and cleans the disposal blades.
- Make your own potpourri with dried herbs and flowers. When their original scent fades add some essential oils of your choice and make your own potpourri!
I use vodka in my air freshener spray because ethanol (vodka) has been proven to be a green, natural way to clean the air of pollutants. It also destroys odors and because it dries quickly, it does not leave residue on furniture or electronics. A bonus is that it also deters insects!
Homemade Air Freshener
- 3/4 cup of distilled water
- 1/4 cup vodka
- 40 drops of essential oil
Add essential oil to vodka and allow it to permeate for a few hours. Then, add vodka/essential oil mixture and distilled water into a spray bottle. Give a soft shake to combine.
To use simply spray into the air and on upholstered furniture.
Download Homemade Air Freshener Labels
For best results, print on mailing labels or Avery sticker paper. After adhering to bottle, use contact paper over the label to give it added protection.
- Clean Modern Label
- Vintage Antique Label
- Classic Natural Label
- Shabby Chic Label
- Funky Fun Label
- Traditional Contemporary
- Simple Earthy
Other posts in this series: Homemade All Natural Cleaning Products