What’s In Your Air Freshener?

What's In Your Air Freshener

You like your home to smell fresh and clean so you buy spray air fresheners, scented candles and plug-ins. The scents smell great, and you don’t have to worry about your house smelling funny when entertaining. You’ve smelled bad odors in other people’s homes, and you don’t want that happening to you.

Unfortunately, while you may love the way your air freshener makes your home smell, you may unknowingly be subjecting yourself to dangerous chemicals.

The facts about what’s in your air freshener may surprise you.

Research Shows Air Fresheners Contain Harmful Substances

The National Resources Defense Council tested 14 air fresheners and found that 12 of the fresheners contained phthalates while none listed phthalates on the label.

Phthalates are hormone-disrupting chemicals that are known to cause birth defects and reproductive harm.

If you are pregnant or have young children at home, you should be especially careful to avoid contact with these chemicals.

The Environmental Working Group tested Febreze Air Effects and detected 89 airborne contaminants including acetaldehyde which the EPA has deemed to be a likely human carcinogen.

In 2010, a University of Washington study found that eight widely used air fresheners released an average of 18 chemicals into the air. On average, one in five of these chemicals were hazardous substances highlighted in federal and some state pollution standards.

Half the air fresheners tested released acetaldehyde, a likely carcinogen.

Kinda frightening, isn’t it?

Reading Labels Doesn’t Help

Even if you read the labels, it won’t help because it’s impossible to get a full list of ingredients for most air fresheners sold in the US because there is no disclosure requirement. You may have noticed the word Fragrance listed as an ingredient. The word Fragrance includes more than 3000 ingredients including many chemicals that have not been assessed for safety.

You may think that purchasing products labeled as all-natural or unscented is a good solution.

Sadly, the term “all-natural” is meaningless because it is unregulated, but is used frequently as a marketing term to convey product safety where none exists.

Even worse, products labeled “unscented” that were tested as part of these studies also contained hazardous chemicals.

Aerosol, Spray, Solid, Candle or Plug-in Air Fresheners Contain Dangerous Chemicals

All types of air fresheners contain dangerous chemicals. So, whether you are using an aerosol, spray, solid, candle or plug-in air freshener, chances are you are breathing in unwanted chemicals.

Options for Freshening Without Air Fresheners

So, what are your options for a clean smelling home?

  1. Improve ventilation by opening a window or using a fan.
  2. Use baking soda to remove odors.
  3. Purchase Air Purifiers/Cleaners to remove odors. One of our favorites is the Austin Healthmate Plus™ and Healthmate Plus Jr™. Learn more about Austin Air HealthMate™. It is capable of trapping 99.97% of all polluting particulates so your home will smell clean and be free of dust, mold, pollen, tobacco smoke, chemical vapors, gases, viruses and bacteria. The Healthmate Plus™ cleans 1500 sq ft and the Healthmate Plus Jr™ cleans 700 sq ft. The Junior versions are perfect for a nursery so your baby can sleep in a clean, fresh environment without chemicals.

Was this helpful?

Sign up for the Pure Living Space Newsletter. You’ll get The Cleaning Products Shopping List and be entered into monthly giveaway drawings. The Shopping List has the “cleanest” kitchen, bathroom and all purpose cleaners as well as laundry detergents and fabric softeners. Take it with you to easily find the safest products.


Common Air Fresheners Contain Chemicals That May Affect Human Reproductive Development; Natural Resources Defense Council Sept 2007

Your Best Air Freshener Isn’t An Air Freshener; Environmental Working Group Sept 2011

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s