toxic air fresheners

So, are those plug air fresheners toxic? What we are learning as natural soap makers is that everything that smells happy and friendly, is NOT always happy and friendly. Those ingredients in toxic air fresheners are not healing and therapeutic (as they run through fields of lavender). We’ve all used air fresheners at some time. To mask pet odors, sports equipment, damp vehicle carpeting, and cooking odors, but let’s rethink this.

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Air fresheners control odors by a variety of methods, these are:

  • Absorption: using materials such as zeolite, activated charcoal or silica gel
  • Receptor blockers: which alters are ability to smell by blocking our nasal receptors so we cannot detect odors
  • Oxidation: which is ozone, hydrogen peroxide, chlorine, peroxide, and chlorate which remove odor sources from surfaces and the air
  • Sanitizer: odors from airborne bacteria can be removed by sanitizers that inactivate bacteria
  • Masking: which is overwhelming one odor with another odor.

Here are some air fresheners, their ingredients, and our natural alternatives:

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Are those Glade plug air fresheners toxic? Yup, Glade, the leader in floral toxins:

Fragrance Ingredients: 2,4-dimethyl-3-cyclohexene carboxaldehyde*; 2,6-dimethyl-7-octen-2-ol; 2-phenoxyethyl isobutyrate; 2-t-butylcyclohexyl acetate; 3.alpha.,4,5,6,7,7.alpha.-hexahydro-4,7-methano-1h-indenyl propionate; amyl cinnamal*; benzyl acetate; benzyl benzoate*; cyclamen aldehyde*; delta-damascone*; dipropylene glycol; ethyl 2-methyl-1,3-dioxolane-2-acetate; ethyl linalool; gamma-undecalactone; geranyl acetate*; isobutyl methyl tetrahydropyranol; isopropyl myristate; linalool*; phenethyl alcohol; terpineol*

Natural alternative: doing nothing would be an improvement! But you can always place a few drops of essential oils around the house, or make a spritzer of 95% water and 5% essential oils.

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Oust Air Sanitizer, Citrus Scent: Ethanol/SD Alcohol 40,
Triethylene glycol.
(note: We don’t see any citrus anything in there)

Natural Alternative: Essential oil blend of orange, lime, lemon and rosemary. Place essential oils in water 1:10 and spritz, or place undiluted drops in inconspicuous places.

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Lysol Brand II Disinfectant Spray Aerosol, Crisp Linen Scent: Ethanol/SD Alcohol 40
Carbon dioxide
Ammonium hydroxide N,N-dimethyl-N-tetradecyl-
saccharinate. (note: we don’t see anything crispy or linen-y in there)

Natural Alternative:  In a pot of simmering water, I add: 3 drops of cinnamon essential oil, 3 drops of rosemary essential oil, and 6 drops of sweet orange essential oil. There is laboratory and scientific proof that these essential oils have the capability to kill pathogens within an area. I have a supply of these in preparation for the upcoming pandemic.

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Mr Clean Magic Eraser Cleaning Pads: Formaldehyde-Melamine-Sodium bisulfite copolymer.
(note: I have actually used these, and yes they do work. Never again though. What causes a company to create such a toxic product? Is it really all about money?)

Natural Alternative: Elbow grease, natural dish soap and water. A vinegar and water spray for counter tops and mirrors. Baking Soda and water or for tougher cleaning, baking soda and vinegar, for tiles, grout, shower walls.

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Purex Liquid Laundry Detergent, Free & Clear: Sodium carbonate
Sodium laureth sulfate
Alcohols, C12-16, ethoxylated (Isureth-4)
Benzenesulfonic acid, C10-C16-alkyl derivatives.
(note: Free & Clear of what exactly, certainly not chemicals)

Natural Alternatives: Soapnuts – I hear positive and negative reviews, but still worst trying. Store bought natural laundry detergent. Laundry detergent is different from natural soap, in that laundry soap needs a higher ph/caustic-ness and less bubbling action. I have used a mix of borax and baking soda, but try that on whites only, I noticed a lightening of black clothing with this – like a dried powder covering, not a bleaching.

Arm & Hammer Fresh and Soft Fabric Softener, Classic Fresh: Fragrance(s)/perfume(s) 
Di (C14-1S-alkyl) dimethyl methyl sulfate
(C14-C18) Dialkyldimethylammonium methyl sulfate

Natural Alternative: Nothing, I mean seriously, it’s not a static factory in there.I haven’t used fabric sheets in 20 years, and maybe I’ve had static-y clothes once a year.

Another product that soooo implies their stuff is natural, is those skin care companies. Make your own lotion with exactly what you want in there, recipe here.

Wikipedia has a great article on air fresheners and their ingredients that make plug air fresheners toxic.

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