natural health and wellness

Safe Scents & DIY Air Fresheners

Safe Scents & DIY Air Fresheners

When I discovered the dangers associated with air fresheners and scented candles, I was more than sad. More like devastated! I loved dimming the lights, lighting candles, and journaling while sipping chai tea. Such romantic moments! And air fresheners…well, they always smelled and tasted (yes, tasted… those sprays drift into your mouth) like chemicals. However, they came in handy when my kitchen smelled of coconut oil and tostones! Reluctantly at first, I ditched all of my French toast-scented candles and Ocean Breeze sprays. These common household products contain hazardous chemicals, such as:

  • Phthalates
    These are chemicals that cause hormonal abnormalities, birth defects, and reproductive problems. Manufacturers aren’t required to list phthalates on the bottle’s ingredients list; and they don’t. Even products marketed as “all natural” and “unscented” have been tested and found to contain phthalates. Phthalates are in many other products; but let’s focus on just the air fresheners. When you plug in that air freshener or spray that Ocean Breeze mist around your home, you’re releasing phthalates into the air. You’ll breathe these phthalates in, and your skin will absorb them as the molecules land on your skin. What your skin absorbs, your bloodstream absorbs and deposits into your organs. These chemicals are known to upset the production of testosterone, alter hormone levels, and cause reproductive abnormalities. Be extra cautious around air fresheners if you are pregnant. Prenatal exposure to certain phthalates found in air fresheners can cause genitalia mutations, poor semen quality, and reduced testosterone in males. Asthma and allergies are also linked to breathing in phthalates in the home.
  • VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds)
    Volatile organic compounds are airborne gas byproducts emitted by air fresheners, paints, automotive products, and more. Exposure to certain candles’ and air fresheners’ VOC’s can result in eye and throat irritation, headaches, central nervous system damage, nausea, skin reactions, fatigue, and impaired memory. Unfortunately, it’s not just lighting candles that exposes you to these VOC’s. Simply having candles sitting around in your home will expose you to their VOC’s because they evaporate and pollute the air. VOC’s can even be absorbed by the body through just touching the candles.
  • Formaldehyde
    The International Agency for Cancer Research classifies formaldehyde as a Group 1 carcinogen. Yet, it is found in so many household and personal care products, including air fresheners (candles, sprays, gels, etc). Long-term use of formaldehyde-containing products can raise the risk of respiratory problems and cancer. Symptoms that result from exposure to formaldehyde are coughing, dizziness, eye irritation, and throat irritation.

All plug-ins, sprays, and candles contain lung irritants. Consider though – our lungs are meant to filter the air. Yet, for those with chronic asthma, seasonal allergies, or a cold, exposure to these chemicals can aggravate the sickness they are already dealing with. Also, children cannot process things the same way adults do…their lungs aren’t working at the full capacity that adults’ are. Doctor Pinkerton, a professor in the Department of Pediatrics at UC Davis School of Medicine, says “Whatever is in the air, a child may have as much as 30 times greater exposure because of their size and their level of activity.” Therefore, whether you are concerned about your health or not, do this for your children’s health and well being. I’ve made the switch and have ditched my lovely candles and bathroom fresheners. Let me show you how I’ve replaced air fresheners in my house so you can do it with me!

Essential Oils
Inhaling essential oils can result in many health benefits. For example, lavender essential oil is a wonderful sleep support. Peppermint essential oil and lemon essential oil support energy levels. Many oils help to support immunity, digestion, focus, and hormonal balance. Plug in your diffuser and let it do it’s thing. I personally use Young Living’s essential oils, the purest oils out there. If you’re interested in getting started with essential oils, I can hook you up!

Simmering Herbs and Spices
You can enhance some delicious smells in your house simply by simmering them on the stovetop. Here are some ideas of what to simmer in your pot of water:

  • Orange peels
  • Lemon slices
  • Cinnamon sticks
  • Vanilla extract
  • Whole cloves
  • Apple peels
  • Rosemary sprigs
  • Dried Lavender
  • Rose petals
  • Mint leaves

Mix and match them to create your desired scent! Check out Tipnut’s 15 Simmering Pot Recipes.

Beeswax Candles
For those times when you’re dearly missing lit candles, light a beeswax candle (free of carcinogenic paraffin)! Bee Hive Candles creates aromatherapy candles and honey-scented candles that are made with 100% beeswax. Although I have not purchased my own yet, I have these candles on my wishlist!

You could also experiment making your own beeswax candles! Here’s a great tutorial from Mommypotamus. She details the process very clearly and simply, and provides pictures that go along with each step.

DIY Air Fresheners
I recently discovered this trick to keeping my car, trash cans, and bathrooms smelling fresh! Felt pads can be used for more than just keeping your furniture from scraping against the floor. I put 2-3 drops of an essential oil on a felt pad and place it in an inconspicuous area. Cotton balls also work just as well; but they don’t stick to surfaces. If the car needs freshening up, I put a felt pad in a cubby hole or some nook or cranny. Or, just stick it in an AC vent. You can also place these in your dresser drawers, closets, shoes, under your work desk, on bathroom shelves, and in the bottom of trash cans. Some of my favorite ways I’ve used them are:

– Purification oil for the bottoms of trash cans
– Peppermint essential oil, or Peppermint with Stress Away, in the car
– Purification oil for the bathrooms
– Lemon essential oil and/or Purification for the refrigerator
– Peppermint by the back sliding door to deter pesky bugs and lizards

All of these essential oils come in the Young Living Premium Starter Kit.

Let me know which ideas you loved and found most useful! Leave a comment below, or shoot me an email.

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