A fresh & clean smelling home is desired by all.
This desire drives consumers to purchase air
fresheners, sprays, and plug-ins regularly.
What we must consider however, is how the
air fresheners affect your health, your pets, and
the home environment.
What are Air Fresheners Composed of?
The type of air freshener you choose will determine
the level of chemical impact it has on the indoor air.
Scented items and fresheners that use flame, such
as candles and incense, can add micro-particulates
and formaldehyde to the air in addition to the
unregulated fragrance chemicals. Spritzing or spray
fresheners can introduce additional chemicals such
as alcohols, propylene glycol, glycerin and many
others to your air. A number of chemicals such as
propane or butane, ethers, carbon dioxide, or
Freons™ may also be present, acting as the
propellant in aerosol cans or carrier liquid in
standard pump spray bottles. Gel and potpourri
style fresheners are the least intrusive and may also
be perceived as less effective. Used in moderation,
scented air fresheners can be pleasant. Which
should you choose to ensure the comfort of your
family and guests?
5 questions to explore when purchasing an Air
1. What ingredients are in the air freshener?
Check labels but also know that certain toxins
may not be listed such as the specific chemicals
used to produce the fragrance itself.
2. Are there pregnant people in the house?
Pregnant women, elderly, and children are
more susceptible to adverse health effects that
are a result of the added chemicals from the air
3. Do people have allergies in the house? Those
with allergies may experience adverse reactions
or heightened symptoms with the use of
aerosol/spray fresheners in addition to
fresheners that add particulates to the air.
4. Is there a smell you are trying to mask? If there
is a specific smell you can’t seem to get rid of,
you may want to have your home’s indoor air
quality tested. You may have an active mold
5. How often will you use the freshener and can it
be sealed while not in use? Moderate use of air
fresheners should not have a lasting effect on
the indoor air quality as long as they can be
properly sealed and stored when not in use.
Long term use of air fresheners can add
significantly to the Total Volatile Organic
Compounds in the air. In many cases,
additional units may be purchased as you
become accustomed to the smell,
compounding the ill effects.
Alternative ways to keep you home
There are ways to freshen stale air in the home
without harsh chemicals. Never underestimate the
use of open windows when the weather permits.
Keep up on cleaning duties such as the garbage,
dishes, and vacuuming. Remember to use vent fans
and allow for fresh air exchange during deep
cleaning with harsh cleaners. Opt for the
use of natural fresheners such as flowers and
baking soda, and use indoor air quality purifiers with
VOC trapping filters when needed. If you suspect a
more serious odor problem such as mold growth, an
indoor air quality test can help to determine the