Is your fragrant home toxic? Air fresheners, why natural is the only option

eco expert

We’ve all very familiar with the phrase, ‘cleanliness is next to godliness’ and when it comes to our homes, it would seem there are no lengths we won’t go to keep it looking great and smelling fresh.

However, impressing our friends and neighbours with how orderly and fragrant our homes are is just a small part of what motivates us to behave in such a way. According to the study “The Smell of Virtue” conducted by researchers at Brigham Young University, University of Toronto and the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, having a cleaner, great smelling home makes us nicer people too. Yes, really!

In two separate experiments, participants who were exposed to scented rooms acted in a more fair, generous manner and were more likely to volunteer to a cause, than those in the non-scented rooms. Incredible eh?

But before you rush out and buy an array of room freshening sprays, plug-ins and dispensers to make yourself and your home more virtuous and welcoming, consider this – does your quest for a clean smelling home leave you living in a dangerously unhealthy environment?

Contrary to popular belief, most ‘air fresheners’ do not freshen the air at all, in fact the air stays just as ‘smelly’, it’s just your ability to smell that is impaired.

According to The Global Campaign for Recognition of Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, air fresheners work in one or a combination of the following ways:

1) by killing your ability to smell by way of a nerve-deadening chemical
2) by coating your nasal passages with an undetectable oily film
3) by covering up one smell with another
4) by breaking down the offensive odour.(rarely)

Containing chemicals such as benzene derivatives, pinene and limonene, aldehydes, phenol, and cresol which react with common indoor air pollutants, air refresheners can cause serious health hazards, including irritated eyes, nose, throat, lung irritation, fatigue, nausea, headaches, depression and even diarrhea in babies.

If you would like to know more about concerns over air fresheners, take a look at the California Air Resources Board’s in depth report, Indoor Air Chemistry: Cleaning Agents, Ozone and Toxic Air Contaminants.

So how can you keep your home smelling great without compromising the health of yourself and your family?

One easy green way is quite simply to open your windows and let natural air flow in. By allowing a free flow of air through your home, cooking smells, shoe ‘gases’ and other not-so-nice aromas are soon swept away.

Another idea is to use essential oils and in doing so, you can enjoy a fragrant home safe in the knowledge it is non-toxic.

One product which ticks all of the boxes and which I cannot recommend highly enough is Wild Planet’s handmade, essential oil diffusers.

Founded by Eileen Holford, Wild Planet is a family run business passionate about developing innovative bath, body and home fragrance ranges. They use only the finest quality raw ingredients which are pure, natural and effective and wherever possible, grown in a sustainable way and farmed organically with full organic certification.

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I was sent their Limelight diffuser to review and it is absolutely gorgeous. A zesty blend of Italian lime and bergamot with revitalizing lemongrass, my home is filled with a mouthwateringly fresh, authentic fragrance which is an absolute pleasure to experience. Unlike synthetic air fresheners which can overwhelm your senses, Wild Planet diffusers softly fragrance your home and give it a natural aroma, wafting gently from room to room, the fragrance feels a part of your home.

As well as diffusers, Wild Planet also make deliciously scented home fragrance candles made with 100% natural soy wax blended and produced the traditional way using the pure essential oils of botanical plants and flowers, with lead-free cotton wicks. Fragances include rose geranium from South Africa, calming English lavender to help you relax and rosy tints of palmarosa from Nepal.

Indeed, it was these aromatic ingredients that first captivated Eileen back in 2005 when she first made a batch of handmade soap at her kitchen table and was the inspiration behind Wild Planet.

“I couldn’t wait to receive the latest supply of essential oils that arrived from all corners of the world. Just one whiff of these precious oils would take me right back to my backpacking days – whether it was rose oil from Morocco – a memorable time spent in a Marrakech souk, or the unmistakable aroma of Indonesian patchouli – an instant reminder of a temple near a beautiful beach in Bali”.

Having full control over production in their workshop in the heart of the Kent countryside, lovingly handmade, Wild Planet ensure quality, attention to detail and their products impact on the environment is at the heart of their operations. As well as using sustainable, organic ingredients, their stylish candle glasses, balms, butters and lotions are packaged in fully recyclable amber glass or PET.

To find out more about Wild Planet’s divine, organic bath, body and home fragrances, head over to their site at where you will also find more information on their new range of eco-friendly small votive candles in fragrances such as patchouli & orange, grapefruit, rose benzoin to name just a few.

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1 Comment
Carol Ford

Absolutely spot on The Queen of Easy Green – our family have found the same, that the chemical air fresheners (plug-ins and sprays) do very little to eliminate smells, fresh air does a good job. But it was only after discovering the natural oil diffusers that we really got what we were looking for, quite simply a fresh smelling room. The products we use are by Purely Simple in Buckingham (website for info is ) and our current favourite is 2012, which includes Rose, Bluebell and Heather. On the other plus side is that they last so much longer than the spays and plug-ins.

Great post and thank you for sharing it.

Warm wishes, Carol


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