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2 Big Problems With Air Fresheners

February 01, 2017

We’ve all seen the commercial: a woman walks into a disheveled room, wrinkles her nose at the smell and reaches for her (insert brand name) air freshener. After spraying every surface in the room, she breathes in a breath of “fresh” scented air and goes about her day. 

Sure, according to the commercials, air fresheners seem great but according to a study by the NRDC, many air fresheners aren’t as helpful and harmless as you might think. 

Why? Well, first off, air fresheners don’t really “freshen” the air. Instead, they cause 2 problems:

  • Spray harmful chemicals that accumulate in your home
  • Hide bigger problems in your home

We’ll take a closer look at these problems then discuss some healthy alternatives to air freshening products.

Problem #1: Some air fresheners fill your home with harmful chemicals

There are currently very few regulations regarding the allowable ingredients in air fresheners. As a result, many air fresheners introduce harmful chemicals into your home. 

And the scariest part? Less than 10 percent of all volatile ingredients are ever disclosed on air freshener labels.

Some of the harmful ingredients found in air fresheners include:

  • Formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is a colorless gas with a strong odor that is a byproduct of the chemicals in air fresheners mixing with the ozone in your home. And what’s scary is that in 2011, the National Toxicology Program listed formaldehyde as a known human carcinogen.
  • Benzene. Benzene is an odorless sweet-smelling liquid that evaporates quickly when exposed to air.  The chemical is found naturally in crude oil, gasoline and cigarette smoke and has been known to cause cancer. Most studies link Benzene primarily to leukemia and other blood cell cancers.
  • 1,4 Dicholorobenzene. 1,4 Dicholorobenzene is a synthetic, white solid that emits toxic gases and vapors as it decomposes. It can lead to eye irritation and burning and tearing. It’s also been found to cause kidney and liver tumors in mice and, according to the NCBI it is classified as a possible human carcinogen.

Problem #2: Air fresheners just hide bigger problems in your home

Unpleasant smells in your home often point to bigger problems that should be fixed, not just masked by strong smelling air fresheners.

To help you get a better idea of what might be wrong with your home, we’ve listed below some unpleasant smells and what problems they might point to.

The smell: Musty. Similar to a poorly ventilated attic/basement. Sometimes sweet.
The hidden problem: Mold. Most likely black mold.

The smell: Sulfur or rotten eggs.
The hidden problem: A natural gas or sewer gas leak.

The smell: Occasional whiffs of smoke.
The hidden problem: Bad wiring that’s producing electrical smoke.

Once you focus on fixing the bigger problem in your home, you can expect a cleaner smelling home in no time.

Want to remove smelly air particles for good?

Want to avoid dangerous chemicals but keep your indoor air clean? Some cleaner “air freshening” options include:

  • Air-purifying houseplants. For example, garden mums make for colorful, attractive houseplants that absorb harmful chemicals like benzene, formaldehyde and ammonia. 
  • Scented oils. Try dropping a couple drops of organic scented oil in a spray bottle filled with water. Spritz the concoction throughout your home as needed.
  • Baking soda. Place an open container of baking soda in the fridge and other smelly areas to absorb bad odors. You can also sprinkle baking soda directly onto the carpet before vacuuming. 

We also offer advanced whole-house filtration units that remove up to 99.98% of the harmful pollutants in your home.

Want to learn more? Just contact us today with your questions.

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