I like air fresheners. I enjoy their aroma. I generally bought 4 packets and placed them all over hoping to have their scent everywhere. Only problem with that is wasn’t very cost effective. What I didn’t know at the time was that the flavors I was choosing were not real. Have you ever bought a ‘smell’ but not only did the scents never quite match their descriptions, they smelled fake and overly perfumey ? Well here’s a reason why.
Having discovered Young Living Essential Oils I also found out that commercial air fresheners give off chemicals. This bit of news was very enlightening but also very disturbing. Here’s a bit of the science information on commercial aromas (air fresheners, gel fresheners and scented candles – and car fresheners).
“The health risk imposed by many air care (or air freshener) products is substantial and indisputable. However, regulatory policy in the United States has not yet caught up with the ballooning health risks associated with the use of air fresheners and other inedible fragranced products in the home. Thus, air fresheners and other fragranced products continue to proliferate while their ingredients are mostly unregulated and their health impacts are sparsely understood.
Air Fresheners contain multiple types of ingredients, each designed to give the air freshener its unique functionality and presence in the home. The main fragrances central to this functionality; additional ingredients such as preservatives, ensure that the fragrance has an acceptable shelf life and still other ingredients make it possible for fragrance to be uniformly and efficiently distributed throughout spaces in the home, as desired.
While no air freshener is fully understood, nor do air fresheners have a single common ingredient that is clearly harmful, it is likely that many fragrances and therefore many air fresheners pose a health hazard over chronic and frequent use. Our current spotlight is on Formaldehyde, a potential by-product of many fragrances found in air-fresheners as these fragrances are emitted into the air and react with compounds in air, such as ozone. While formaldehyde is less and less used as a direct ingredient in air fresheners, it is often emitted when fragrance ingredients called terpenes react with ozone in air and generate formaldehyde. Continuous or semi-continuous use of air fresheners can therefore generate consistent levels of formaldehyde in the air over regular use. (This part freaked me out a little bit!)
The detrimental use of formaldehyde by fragranced products including air fresheners has been proven and published in the peer-reviewed literature, including Brett Singer et al. (2006) in “Indoor secondary pollutants from cleaning product and air freshener use in the presence of ozone” published in Atmospheric Environment, vol. 40, pp. 6696-6710. Singer et al. prove that a typical air freshener can produce up to 11 parts per billion (ppb) of formaldehyde in the presence of ozone. That amount adds to the typical levels of formaldehyde found in conventional homes (14 ppb) and manufactured homes (27 ppb) according to the natural resources defense council or NRDC (click here for more information). Many regulatory agencies advocate set limits for inhaling formaldehyde over long or chronic periods including a 2 ppb reference exposure limit or REL (California environmental protection, OEHHA), an 8 ppb minimal risk level or MRL (Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, ATSDR) and a 16 ppb occupational safety level (National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, NIOSH).”
Now the good news. Here’s a very simple, really easy recipe that will provide not only a lovely smell, but the essential oil (whichever one you choose) has the potential to uplift your spirits, or calm your spirits. Lavender, peppermint, grapefruit, chamomile, lemon, ylang-ylang all help produce happy, joyous moods. Rosemary increases focus and concentration. Allergy safe, great smelling, and toxin-free, these air fresheners are simple and inexpensive, too! Remember too:
- Fragrance oils and essential oils are NOT the same thing. As a rule of thumb, if you see the word “fragrance” or “fragrance oil” or even “perfume” on anything, you can assume this is synthetic and NOT natural. (Even if it says natural fragrance.)
- 1 ounce, weight Unsweetened, Unflavored Gelatin (equivalent To 4 Envelopes Of Knox Powdered Gelatin)
- 2 cups Cold Water, Divided
- 1 Tablespoon Sea Salt (or A Splash Of Vodka- To Deter Mold Growth)
- 20 drops To 30 Drops Essential Oil
- Food Coloring To Tint The Air Fresheners
- ADDITIONAL MATERIALS:
- Disposable Chopsticks Or Skewers, To Stir The Hot Gelatin Mixture In The Jars
- Decorative Heat-proof Jars To Hold The Gelatin Mixture (small glass jars are best)
Bring one cup of water to a boil in a small saucepan. Sprinkle the gelatin over the boiling water and whisk until smooth and all the gelatin is dissolved. Add the salt and the second cup of cold water and whisk. Set aside.
Add the desired amount of essential oil and food coloring, if using, to the jar(s). Quickly pour the hot liquid gelatin over the essential oil and food coloring. Stir until evenly colored.
Allow to cool, uncovered on a heat-proof surface. When it reaches room temperature, place wherever you want a lovely scent. Here’s just a few ideas. You can mix blends and discover your own favorites.
Sweet Basil and Lemon Air Freshener
* 20 drops Sweet Basil essential oil
* 8 drops Lemon essential oil
Rosemary Orange Air Freshener
* 25 drops Sweet Orange essential oil
* 5 drops Rosemary essential oil (the rosemary essential oil is mighty strong stuff—keep a light hand with this!)
Fresh Pine Scent Air Freshener
* 25 drops Fir Pine essential oil
* 3 drops Lemon essential oil
* 2 drops Sweet Orange essential oil
* 1 drop Bergamot essential oil
Pure Lavender Air Freshener
* 30 drops of Lavender essential oil
Essence of Provençe Air Freshener
* 20 drops Lavender essential oil
* 5 drops Thyme essential oil
* 2 drops Lemon essential oil