While synthetic air fresheners may smell pleasant to many people, and provide an alternative to unpleasant odors in the home, there may be some health hazards associated with using these products. Consider using ingredients found at home to rid the air of unwanted odors. White vinegar, citrus fruits, baking powder, spices and essential oils all have the ability to freshen indoor air.
Synthetic Air Fresheners can be a Health Risk
Synthetic air fresheners work by coating your nasal airways and covering smells. According to The Global Campaign for Recognition of Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, air fresheners contain toxic chemicals that may be connected to conditions such as cancer, reproductive issues, neurological damage, delayed development and the trigger of asthma attacks.
Some of these chemicals include camphor, ethanol, formaldehyde, napthalene and phenol. Unfortunately, the chemicals in these fresheners linger on surfaces inside the home, extending the length of time you are exposed to them.
Baking Soda to Freshen the Air
Baking soda is commonly found at home and can be used to clean items such as bathtubs, sinks, countertops and even carpets. It absorbs odors, so using it around the house for cleaning and leaving a few open boxes around the home will enhance indoor air.
While baking soda may not add fragrance to the air, you can feel certain about eliminating unwanted odors without the use of harsh chemicals. Make sure that any open boxes are kept out of site, so that they are out of the reach of children and pets.
Citrus Fruit as a Natural Air Freshener
Oranges emit a pleasant aroma when peeled and cut. Lemons and limes also release a natural aroma that masks unwanted odors. You can simply cut one of these fruits and leave the slices in shallow bowls placed around the home. Lemon juice can also be placed in bowls.
Another option for citrus fruit is to place the peels on a baking tray and toast them for an hour or two at a low temperature, around 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Once done, place the peels in bowls around the home.
Simmering Spice to Freshen Indoor Air
Spices found at home can be simmered in a small pot on the stove or in a potpourri crockpot to release freshening aromas. The nice thing about spices is that they are not overpowering, unlike some synthetic air fresheners or plug-ins.
Consider using cinnamon sticks or a couple dashes of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg or allspice. Try mixing some of the above spices together. Vanilla extract, orange and almond extract can be simmered on their own or with spices added, depending on personal preference. If you enjoy the scent of apple pie, simmer some chopped apple with cinnamon.
White Vinegar as an Air Freshener
Like baking soda, white vinegar can be used to clean surfaces in the home such as bathtubs, toilets, sinks and countertops. Vinegar naturally eliminates odors, and while some may find it has a strong aroma, it evaporates quickly and takes unwanted odors with it.
White vinegar can be used in any number of ways to freshen your home’s air. Simply place a bowl on your kitchen countertop for a few hours, especially after cooking. It can also be heated on the stovetop, and by doing this, it will permeate the air more thoroughly. Or, try putting some undiluted vinegar in a spray bottle and spray where it is required.
Freshen the Air with Essential Oils
Essential oils come in a wide variety of scents and offer some health benefits. Some have been found to have a relaxing, de-stressing effect, while some oils have antibacterial properties. Choose oils such as eucalyptus, lemon, vanilla, mint, rose and lavender.
There are a few options when freshening the air using essential oils. Place a few drops in an oil burner, diffuser, or a shallow bowl to be placed on a countertop. Consider simmering a few drops of essential oil with water on a stovetop or in a potpourri burner.
Opening the Windows and Using Indoor Plants for Fresh Air
The simplest, and perhaps the most effective method for eliminating odors is to open windows to allow for air circulation. Opening the windows for half an hour to an hour per day is ideal. Air inside the home can often be more toxic than outdoor air.
While colder climates do not often allow for year-round open windows, live plants are also a good way to freshen indoor air. Plants take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen, and they make a pleasant decoration in the home.
Freshening Your Home with Natural Air Fresheners
Some people prefer the scent of store-bought air fresheners, but for those who want to avoid potential health and environmental concerns, and perhaps save some money by using common household ingredients, there are several methods for freshening your home’s air naturally.