Nontoxic Air Fresheners
Synthetic perfumes, air fresheners, plug-ins, scented candles, room sprays, and other artificially scented products often contain toxic chemicals like phthalates, which are endocrine disruptors. The chemicals used to make “air fresheners” have been linked to headaches, ear aches, depression, irregular heartbeat, and even diarrhea in babies. If you’d like to know more about the hazards of using scented products, check out “Fragrance is the New Secondhand Smoke”.
One of the best ways to reduce immune stress is to avoid breathing in these toxins at home. However, we do hear a lot of customer questions about how to remove odors without using synthetic chemicals (which really only mask the odors). Truly eliminating odors is far more effective than trying to cover them up with additional fragranced products. Here are some of the ways we keep our homes fragrance-free while eliminating potential odors.
We often mention how important it is to do regular HEPA vacuuming and its benefits for your health. Did you know that vacuuming is actually one of the best ways to remove odors as well? For normal maintenance, aim to vacuum once a week. If you are noticing a particular odor, try sprinkling the area (carpet or upholstery) with baking soda and let it sit for 30 minutes before vacuuming. The baking soda will deodorize the area and absorb the odor, which you can then vacuum up entirely. Repeat as necessary until odor disappears.
Circulate fresh air
Due to all the pesticides, chemicals, and other toxins you track in or store in your home, the air inside is actually between 2 and 200 times more polluted than outdoor air! This may seem obvious, but sometimes the simplest way to freshen the air in your home is to open the windows and turn on a fan. In fact, regularly opening your windows throughout the year, even for just 10 minutes, to flush and clear the air can improve the air quality. So don’t be afraid to bring in fresh air the old-fashioned way with a nice cross breeze.
Vodka can be an excellent, unscented air freshener. Simply pour inexpensive, un-flavored vodka into a spray bottle and use as an air mister. It will help reduce stale and musty odors. If you would like to add a scent, try adding a wildcrafted scent oil. Depending on the size of bottle you use, you may want to add less than 1 teaspoon to start, then test the spray bottle to determine if you need more or less fragrance.
As we mentioned above, baking soda is a fantastic odor-absorber. You can sprinkle it on carpet, a mattress, or upholstery, then vacuum away the odor. You can also set out a bowl (or box) of baking soda in an inconspicuous area of your home to absorb and neutralize odors in the air. However, over time, baking soda will slowly lose its odor-absorbing powers. If you notice it is not as effective anymore, swap out the baking soda for a fresh batch.
White vinegar is a useful odor-remover, whether you are using it on a hard surface or on fabric or upholstery. As a room freshener, you can pour approximately a cup of white vinegar in a small bowl and place in a safe spot somewhere in your home. Note: although vinegar is edible, we recommend keeping this bowl out of the reach of children and pets. Don’t forget to swap out the vinegar after it is no longer absorbing odors.
Charcoal Air Fresheners
You can make your own DIY activated charcoal pouches, which can be placed anywhere you need an odor absorber. If you’d like to skip the DIY options, we do recommend Moso brand natural air fresheners. These pouches are versatile and can be slipped in a stinky shoe or tucked inside your car.
What’s your favorite way to remove odors from your home? Do you have a suggestion we should add to this list? Let us know by leaving your comment below!
Why are synthetic air fresheners so bad? Find out in Fragrance is the New Secondhand Smoke.
Curious about fragrances and other chemicals that might be lurking in your home already? Check out this article on the dangers of common laundry chemicals and what they do: Do You Know What’s In Your Laundry Detergent?
Ready to streamline your routine? Read Clare’s tricks in Safe + Simple: Tips from a Minimalist Mama.
Going on a trip? Check out our Healthy Travel Guide for our favorite travel snacks and tips for preventing sunburn, jetlag, and more!
Want another trick for improving indoor air quality? Find out why we’re loving Himalayan Pink Salt Lamps!
Keep reading about chemicals to avoid in your home: Common Chemicals to Avoid – A Branch Basics Series