Air fresheners made by companies such as Air Wick, Glade, and Lysol are a common household items. While these air fresheners are a good idea in theory, most of them contain harsh chemicals that can have serious health effects. Many air fresheners contain phthalates - a hazardous chemical which is known to cause hormonal abnormalities, birth defects,and reproductive problems. Spraying these air fresheners in your home means that these chemicals are available to be absorbed through your skin or inhaled. Exposure to phthalates has been associated with allergy symptoms and asthma. I have experienced this myself - being exposed to air fresheners containing harsh chemicals can escalate an asthma attack very quickly.
The Natural Resources Defence Council tested 14 common air fresheners, none of which were said to contain phthalates on the label. It was found that 86% (12 out of the 14 tested) contained phthalates, including these brands:
- Air Wick Scented Oil
- Citrus Magic
- Febreze NOTICEables Scented Oil
- Glade Air Infusions
- Glade Plugin Scented Oil
- Lysol Brand II Disinfectant
- Oust Air Sanitizer Spray
- Oust Fan Liquid Refills
- Ozium Glycol-ized Air Sanitizer
- Walgreens Air Freshener Spray
- Walgreens Scented Bouquet Air Freshener
- Walgreens Solid Air Freshener
Candles are not a safe alternative either, as most are produced from paraffin, a petroleum waste product, which produces carcinogenic benzene and toluene when burned. On top of that, the artificial scents and dyes in candles are also full of chemicals.
Diffusing Essential Oils
Diffusing essential oils is very easy. There are a wide variety of diffusers on the market, and most of them are ultrasonic. This means that they use vibrations (rather than heat) to vaporize and disperse the oils into the air, in tiny molecules.
To use your diffuser, all you have to do is add about 500 ml of water, 3 -6 drops of essential oil, and turn it on. Most diffusers will run for about 4 hours.
The great thing about using essential oils as a natural air freshener, is that not only do they make your home smell wonderful, but they also have added health benefits. Aromatherapy can support your physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Diffusing essential oils is one of the easiest ways to access the power of aromatherapy!
Benefits of Diffusing
1. Cleansing and Deodorizing
Diffusing essential oils will make your house smell great! Trying to eliminate a bad oder? Try diffusing 4 drops of purification, thieves, citrus fresh, rosemary, or peppermint. Diffusing essential oils helps eliminate airborne bacteria and mould.
2. Immune System Boost
Diffuse Thieves, Immupower, and RC, or Lemon to help boost your immune system. Health Canada has approved these oils as natural health products that can help relieve symptoms of cough or cold: cedarwood, clove, cypress, geranium, helichrysum, lemon, jade lemon, lime, marjoram, peppermint, sacred frankincense, tea tree, thyme. On a cellular level, the compounds within essential oils (phenols, sesquiterpenes, and monoterpenes) work to restore your body back to it's natural state of health and wellness.
Essential oil molecules are very minute, and can make their way into the bloodstream very quickly. They can penetrate cells, and have the power to cross the blood-brain barrier. As a result, they can have a large impact on your mood. These oils can act as a nervine and calmative: lavender, peppermint, cedarwood, grapefruit, helichrysum, sacred frankincense, orange, thyme and ylang ylang. Diffuse any of these oils to help calm the nerves and promote relaxation. Other great blends for relaxation are Valor and Peace & Calming.
4. Better Sleep
This study on the effect of inhaling essential oils as a sleep aid states: "The inhalation of essential oils with hypnotic properties may provide a safe and effect therapy for some sleep disturbance”. One of the most popular essential oils used to promote relaxation and restful sleep is lavender. Cedarwood and roman camomile are also very effective.
5. Easing Congestion
Diffuse Raven, RC, eucalyptus, lemon, or peppermint to help ease congestion. I cannot say enough about how helpful this has been for me!
Give It Some Thought
Are you using toxic air fresheners in your home? Take a moment to have a look at the ingredients list on your cleaning products. You can also download the app Think Dirty, which allows you to scan the barcodes of your personal care and cleaning products, and find out if they contain toxic ingredients!
Most of us use cleaning products with the intention of maintaining good health and eliminating germs. When you put it this way, does it make sense to use toxic cleaning products and air fresheners in your home? The chemicals contained in these products are potentially more harmful to your health than the mess or smell you're trying to clean up!
Finally, I'd like to leave you with some photos of cottage life in the Kawarthas. The weather has been really wonderful here for the past month, and we are so grateful to have this wonderful cottage during times like this......