Giving Up All My Plug-In Air Fresheners
OK, for those of you who don't know, I have a husband, two toddlers (one still in diapers and one with poor aim), a dog, a compost pail, stinky feet and have recently adopted "To Hell With Personal Hygiene Day". If ever there has been a house worthy of air-freshening, it is mine. However, I've been doing some research on the ubiquitous plug-in air freshener and now I think I smell a rat.
Turns out my little light-up frangrance wafters aren't as benign as I thought. They use an interesting mix of chemicals that work in one of the following four ways:
- By interfering with your ability to smell by way of a nerve-deadening agent
- By coating your nasal passages with an undetectable oil film
- By covering up one smell with another
- By breaking down the offensive odor
The fun chemicals used to accomplish this task include some old favorites including:
- FORMALDEHYDE - A suspected carcinogen and a strong irritant to the eyes, throat, skin and lungs
- PETROLEUM DISTILLATES - Irritates skin, eyes, respiratory tract; may cause fatal pulmonary edema; flammable
- P-DICHLOROBENZENE - Vapor irritating to skin, eyes and throat, causes liver damage in animal studies
- AEROSOL PROPELLANTS - Either associated with brain damage or highly flammable
Wow, and I use this stuff to make my house feel more "homey"? Ugh. I have Freecycled all my air fresheners (how the heck did I ever end up with FIFTEEN of those things anyhow?) and am now using baking soda boxes, candles and -- God forbid -- CLEANING (using natural products, of course!).
Any time I reduce the chemical load in my home, I also reduce the chemical load in my environment. Those chemicals float around the house and then float right outside. Plus I'm saving all the plastic of the plug-ins, the electricity, the packaging and the transport. Lots of good savings. The candles I use to replace them are made here in the USA, are packaged in a recyclable glass container, the wicks are lead-free and they smell DELICIOUS. The only drawback is that they seem to make me eat more (sure, blame the candles....)
Difficulty Level: 1 out of 5
Another easy change to make. Out with the old and in with the new. I just need to be careful when using the candles while the little ones are running around.