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What’s In Your Air Freshener?

What’s In Your Air Freshener?

You like your home to smell fresh and clean so you use spray air fresheners, scented candles, and plug-ins. The scents smell great, and you don’t have to worry about your house smelling funny when entertaining. You’ve smelled bad odors in other people’s homes, and you don’t want that happening to you.

Unfortunately, while you may love the way your air freshener makes your home smell, you may unknowingly be subjecting yourself to dangerous air freshener chemicals.

The facts about what’s in your air freshener may surprise you.

Research Shows Air Freshener Chemicals Are Harmful

The National Resources Defense Council tested 14 air fresheners and found that 12 of the fresheners contained phthalates.

Phthalates are hormone-disrupting chemicals that are known to cause birth defects and reproductive harm.

Are you pregnant or do you have young children at home? Avoiding air fresheners is especially important for you.

89 Airborne Contaminants Found in Popular Air Freshener Including a Likely Carcinogen

The Environmental Working Group tested Febreze Air Effects and found 89 airborne contaminants including acetaldehyde which the EPA considers a likely human carcinogen.

In 2010, a University of Washington study found that eight widely used air fresheners released an average of 18 chemicals into the air. On average, one in five of these chemicals were hazardous substances.

Half the air fresheners tested released acetaldehyde, a likely carcinogen.

Kinda frightening, isn’t it?

By using air freshener chemicals, you are releasing carcinogens and hormone disruptors into your home.

Reading Labels Doesn’t Help

Even if you read the labels, it won’t help because it’s impossible to get a full list of ingredients for most air fresheners sold in the US.


Because there is no requirement to show all ingredients. You may have noticed the word Fragrance listed as an ingredient. The word Fragrance includes more than 3000 ingredients including many chemicals that have not been assessed for safety. The Consumer Products Safety Commission does not require product manufacturers to list all product ingredients.

You may think that purchasing products labeled as All Natural or unscented is a good solution.

Sadly, the term “All Natural” is a meaningless, unregulated term. All Natural is simply a marketing term to convey product safety where none exists.

It gets even worse.

In the study, products labeled “unscented” also contained hazardous chemicals. In some cases, manufacturers add fragrance to unscented products to make the product smell unscented. So, buying unscented products is not the solution. And, the label won’t help you.

Aerosol, Spray, Solid, Candle or Plug-in Air Fresheners Contain Dangerous Chemicals

So, what types of air fresheners should you be worried about? Sadly, all types of air fresheners contain dangerous chemicals. So, whether you are using an aerosol, spray, solid, candle or plug-in air freshener, chances are you are breathing in unwanted chemicals.

Yes, even scented candles release harmful substances.

Options for Freshening Without Air Fresheners

So, what are your options for a clean smelling home?

1. Improve ventilation by opening a window or using a fan.

2. Use baking soda to remove odors.

3. Use a room spray scented with essential oils and uses water as a base.

4. Purchase Air Purifiers/Cleaners to remove odors. The Austin Healthmate Plus™ and Healthmate Plus Jr™ are designed to remove odors. Learn more about Austin Air HealthMate™.

The air cleaners are capable of trapping 99.97% of all polluting particulates, so your home will smell clean and be free of dust, mold, pollen, tobacco smoke, chemical vapors, gasses, viruses, and bacteria. The Healthmate Plus™ cleans 1500 sq ft and the Healthmate Plus Jr™ cleans 700 sq ft. The Junior versions are perfect for bedrooms or nurseries.

With air purifiers, you and your family can sleep in a clean, fresh environment without chemicals.

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Common Air Fresheners Contain Chemicals That May Affect Human Reproductive Development; Natural Resources Defense Council Sept 2007

Your Best Air Freshener Isn’t An Air Freshener; Environmental Working Group Sept 2011


  • Post author
    Carol Trimmer
  • Air CleanerAir FreshenerAir PurificationAir PurifierBathroomCandlesChemicals in Air FreshenersFor Your HomeFragrancePhthalates in Air Fresheners

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