New Year’s Revolution ~ Air Freshener Challenge (August)

Bad odors: something that no one wants around. You want to know about something else you might not want around? The concerning ingredients in conventional air fresheners often used to combat those bad odors. Join us this month as we dive into some of the ingredients of concern in conventional air fresheners and examine some safer alternatives to help you “clear the air.”

To get started, read on for ingredients of concern to avoid. Want to bypass the nitty-gritty and go straight to safer solutions? Skip to MADE SAFE Certified Solutions + Staff Favorites.

Ingredients of Concern in Air Fresheners

Fragrance – Fragrance is often used as an umbrella term which, due to laws regarding trade secrets, can exempt companies from listing all of the fragrance constituents. The primary concern with fragrance ingredients is that their true composition is often a mystery. Did you know that fragrance formulas commonly contain over 100 ingredients? Despite all that is unknown about fragrance ingredients, what we do know about them is concerning. Take as an example phthalates. Phthalates are ubiquitous in fragrance formulations and have been linked to endocrine disruption, reproductive harm, breast cancer, and increased risk of asthma. If you don’t see phthalates listed on the label of that air freshener, how do you know if they’re even inside?

Formaldehyde – Formaldehyde has been identified as a secondary pollutant associated with air fresheners, created by the interaction of primary ingredients within air fresheners and ozone (a common indoor and outdoor pollutant). Formaldehyde has been linked to cancer, short-term impacts like irritation to the eyes, nose, and throat, as well as allergic skin reactions and skin rashes.

Toluene – Toluene is another chemical of concern found within conventional air fresheners, as it has been associated with short-term problems like headaches, confusion, and fatigue. In the long-term, it has also been linked to kidney and liver damage, reproductive harm, and developmental toxicity.

Safer Air Freshener Alternatives

Essential Oils* – Essential oils are very versatile and come in a variety of different scents. They can be used in a number of ways, from diffusers to reed diffusers to essential oil sprays.

Simmer Pots – An incredibly easy way to create great-smelling aromas in your home, simmer pot recipes utilize common kitchen ingredients and can last you a whole day at a time! Check out an example simmer pot recipe here.

Baking Soda – Absorb bad odors using small bowls of baking soda in places that have lingering odors. This cheap yet tried-and-true solution helps eliminate odors by absorbing them as opposed to simply masking them.

Fragrant Sachets – Fragrant sachets, which are little bags or pillows filled with dried fragrant plants or herbs, are a great way to freshen things up. They can be used in drawers, closets, or anywhere that needs a little boost of good smell. Two popular options are lavender sachets and balsam sachets.

Improve Your Indoor Air Quality – Improving the quality of your indoor air can make a huge difference and is easier than you might think! Opening up your windows at least once every day is a great place to start. Check out our top eight tips for improving indoor air quality here.


**Remember, just because something is naturally-occurring doesn’t mean that it is infinitely safe or non-irritating. When using essential oils be sure to dilute properly. As with any new product, pay attention to your body and discontinue use if it is causing irritation.


Want even more information about air fresheners and safer alternatives?

Learn more: Read Toxic Chemicals in Air Fresheners. 

Article At-A-Glance:
• Air inside our homes can be more polluted than air outside our homes.
• Air fresheners are a source of indoor air pollution.
• Air fresheners emit or cause the formation of numerous substances associated with negative health effects like cancer, neurotoxicity, and effects from endocrine disruption.
• Claims like “green” and “all natural” on air freshener packaging do not have legal or regulatory status and are usually marketing ploys.
• A majority of people prefer fragrance-free air.
• There are numerous ways to obtain safer and fresher air in your home, school, and workplace. Scroll to the end of this article for tips.

MADE SAFE® Certified Solutions + Staff Favorites

Essential Oils


Radiance (by CVS)


Fontana Candle Company

+ MADE SAFE certified product
* Staff favorite – NOT MADE SAFE certified

Looking for other nontoxic swaps? Check out our other posts and join the Revolution!

The post MADE SAFE New Year’s Revolution – AUGUST Air Freshener Challenge appeared first on MADE SAFE.

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