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A Rant on Artificial Air "Fresheners", then 7 Best Natural Alternatives

Updated on September 29, 2013
Toxic, smell terrible (at least to me), and in this case, garishly colored. What do people see in these things?
Toxic, smell terrible (at least to me), and in this case, garishly colored. What do people see in these things? | Source

Why use air "fresheners"?

It honestly mystifies me why people buy artificial air "fresheners".

I understand that sometimes you want your home to smell nice, or at least better, but does dowsing the place with fake-smelling chemicals really help the scent? I shudder at even the thought of breathing in Febreze.

My distaste for air fresheners comes in several parts.

1.) They usually smell awful, and never smell good. I don't know what any of you readers might think, but I would usually rather spend an hour in Fish Alley than in a room with Febreze. Ugghh. *Shudder*.

I can't stand any of the popular brands (Febreze, Air Wick, etc.) and have had to temporarily step out of friends' houses due to their use, much to the friend's amusement.

2.) Those chemicals can't possibly be good for you. I knew this in my heart long before any studies were made public, but in 2007 the National Resource Defense Council released a study that suggest many common synthetic air fresheners contained chemicals that "could cause developmental and reproductive problems, especially for infants."

Chief among the offenders was phthalates, a chemical still often used, though children's toys containing the chemical have been banned in Washington and California.

Though other studies are controversial and the billion-dollar industry says there are no health risks (shocker), common sense dictates that continuously breathing in random chemicals probably isn't the best thing for your health. Additionally, air "fresheners" in fact pollute the air, releasing toxic chemicals that also have a negative impact on the environment.

3.) Because of reasons 1 and 2, they're a waste of money. Why spend any hard-earned cash on something that smells terrible, damages your health, and damges the environment? It's a lose-lose-lose-lose-win situation. The four losses are for you. The win is for the billion-dollar industry.

For the world's (and my) sake, please stop using these goddamn things and replace them with some of the natural alternatives that are available in abundance. I'll list some of my favorites below, but there are many other suggestions available online, plus I'm sure your imagination can think of a couple more for your specific situation.

Save the planet and save my nose! Read on!


A great example of a nice patio herb garden. See? Scroll back up to the above picture, then scroll back down. Which one is more attractive?
A great example of a nice patio herb garden. See? Scroll back up to the above picture, then scroll back down. Which one is more attractive? | Source

7 natural alternatives to artificial air "fresheners"

1.) Just open the windows and tough it out. If you don't need a quick solution, consider just going the old fashioned way and letting the breeze clean out the odor. The smell will eventually fade away.

2.) Buy or grow herbs and other fragrant plants. Plants are an excellent alternative to synthetic air fresheners. There are several ways you can go.

You can simply buy or pluck your favorite aromatic herb (like cinnamon, rosemary or bay leaves) and boil it for 30 minutes or so on your stove. This is a great solution after you cook fish or something odorous in your kitchen.

Also, you can peel a citrus fruit in whichever room you need the fresh smell in. Release the citrus-y smell into the air, then enjoy your delicious fruit. Win-win!

And last but not least, for a long term solution, you can purchase a house plant for the rooms that need it. Herbs are excellent for the kitchen, providing both a nice fragrance and fresh leaves for the cooking. Aromatic plants like gardenias and orange blossoms can mask whatever you need to mask. Plus, just having a plant in the room freshens out the air.

3.) Buy all-natural incense sticks and just stick them in a bowl of sand. This is a perfectly serious suggestion. With the Internet, even if you don't have a store that sells incense sticks near you, you can purchase incense sticks online.

Here is a link to some incense sticks at the Hippie Shop online, but I'm sure you can find many more options with some digging. Perhaps it's sacrilegious to use them just as air fresheners, but hey, they work!

You even get an apple pie out of the deal! How great is that?
You even get an apple pie out of the deal! How great is that? | Source

4.) Actually bake bread or apple pie. This isn't really a serious suggestion for most; I know most people don't have the time or the inclination to bake every time they would otherwise use an air freshener.

But for a special occasion or just for fun, this is a good way to get your entire home smelling delicious. And afterwards you can eat a pie!

Recipes can be found right here on HubPages (Here is Janderson99's recipe for apple pie and ForkArtJunkie's bread recipes), or really all over the Internet.

5.) Light a match. This works surprisingly well to clean out odors, especially in a bathroom. Just remember to dunk the match in water before throwing it away.

You can mix white vinegar in a spray bottle with water, or just pour it into a dish undiluted.
You can mix white vinegar in a spray bottle with water, or just pour it into a dish undiluted. | Source

6.) Use a couple of common household alternatives. Vinegar works well to clean out smells for those who don't mind the vinegar smell. It clears out much faster than most other scents, so no worries, you won't just replace one evil with another.

Also, both baking soda and cat litter absorb odors, so you can try placing either in a bag and simply leaving it in the room that needs it. This also works well to dry herbs or quickly de-humidify a small room.

7.) Buy essential oils and mix with water in a spray bottle. This is a much better alternative if you still need to spray. Essential oil can be a bit pricey, but it only takes a couple of drops to turn water into all-natural air freshener.

Mix and match these alternatives!

Not all of these are going to work for everyone, so mix and match depending on your situation. Experiment and research as much as you need. Please, for the sake of everyone, do not continue using those chemical brews calling themselves air "fresheners"!

Also, consider sharing this hub through sending links, Facebook, or Twitter. It's good for me (yeah, there's an ulterior motive), but it's also good for people's health and the world. Comments and other suggestions for natural air fresheners are also welcome.

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    • sadie423 profile image

      sadie423 4 years ago from North Carolina

      I agree, I will never understand why people want to spray chemicals that smell artificial and terrible all over their house. We use candles, windows, fans, etc.

    • Bob Zermop profile image
      Author

      Bob Zermop 4 years ago from California, USA

      Ugh, I shudder at the image. :D I forgot about scented candles, good suggestion. I'm vegan, so I couldn't use most of them, but for many that's a great idea. Thanks for stopping by, Sadie.

    • FullOfLoveSites profile image

      FullOfLoveSites 3 years ago from United States

      The inviting smell produced by the fake air fresheners likely makes one to inhale the harmful chemicals longer.

    • Bob Zermop profile image
      Author

      Bob Zermop 3 years ago from California, USA

      Well, maybe for some - not me, though! Thanks for stopping by.

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