Let me start by saying I love, love, LOVE a yummy scented candle…especially around the holidays. But the more I research all the different things that are in them, the more I have decided to find other safer ways to give my home the scents I am looking for. It can be hard to get rid of the many different toxins that pollute our homes. Synthetic fragrances are one such culprit. There are ingredients in scented candles, fabric softener, and air freshener that are known carcinogens. These products can lead to problems in our respiratory system and our central nervous system. Our bodies can have allergic reactions to these substances. They can also lead to reproductive issues.
- Benzyl acetate: Can cause dizziness, drowsiness, confusion, sore throat, or labored breathing when inhaled.
- Benzyl Alcohol: Can causer, allergies, or toxicity within the immune system.
- Ethanol: Listed as an air pollutant by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and can cause central nervous system disorders.
- A-Terpineol: Can cause respiratory problems, including fatal edema, and central nervous system damage.
- Ethyl Acetate: A narcotic on the EPA’s Hazardous Waste list.
- Camphor: Causes central nervous system disorders.
- Chloroform: Neurotoxic, anesthetic and carcinogenic.
- Linalool: A narcotic that causes central nervous system issues.
- Pentane: A chemical known to be harmful if inhaled. Can cause headaches, nausea, vomiting, drowsiness and dizziness. Repeated inhalation of vapors can cause damage to the central nervous system.
- Fragrance: Carcinogen and endocrine disruptor
Here are some of the harmful ingredients in scented candles:
- Paraffin: is a sludge waste product from the petroleum industry. It releases carcinogenic chemicals when burned and can cause respiratory issues.
- Artificial scents and colors: Can cause allergic reactions.
- Lead: found in the wicks of some candles and is released into the air. Can cause central nervous system issues and respiratory issues.
- GMO soy: while we aren’t sure of the long-term effects of GMO soy, I prefer to keep this out of the air in my home.
- Here are some of the toxic ingredients in air fresheners:
- Benzene: a carcinogen
- Formaldehyde: a carcinogen
- Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs): can irritate the respiratory system.
- Phthalates: can interfere with production of testosterone and have been associated with reproductive abnormalities.
The great part is that we don’t HAVE to put up with coming into contact with these toxins. There ARE alternatives. We can use products that don’t weaken our immune system, cause cancer, or disrupt our hormones. So what are some natural and safe alternatives?
1. Wool Dryer Balls and Essential Oils
These wool dryer balls are great. Just throw them in the dryer with your laundry. They get rid of static on your clothes, last for over 1,500 loads, are hypoallergenic, and COMPLETELY CHEMICAL FREE. To add a beautiful scent to your laundry, just put 2 drops of an essential oil (I love Lavender, Purify, or Lemongrass) on each ball before drying. You won’t have to reapply the oil for several loads. You also get rid of the waxy build-up that gets stuck on your lint screen from those pesky dryer sheets. That build-up can cause your dryer to not last as long. These dryer balls will not only cut the chemical load in your home, but trim your budget too! Win win! Here’s a link to where I get them on Amazon.
2. A Diffuser and Essential Oils
I use a diffuser and therapeutic grade essential oils in place of air fresheners and scented candles. It’s important to only use essential oils that are completely pure – free of synthetic chemicals and not cut with cheaper oils in order to reduce the costs of the supplier. The fun thing about using essential oils as an air freshener is that they can also have therapeutic effects on the body. Your sense of smell is directly connected to your emotions. Inhaling pure, therapeutic grade essential oils can actually make you feel more calm, reduce sad and anxious feelings, help you feel more alert, etc. If you’d like to find out which brand I trust and use for my family, click here (I’ll also send you my “50 Practical Ways to Use Essential Oils Cheat Sheet”!).
3. Glass spray bottles and essential oils
You can easily create your own air freshener, and the good new is, it will also save you money! Just fill a glass spray bottle about 3/4 of the way full with filtered water and then add 15-20 drops of your favorite essential oil. Shake and spray. Use whatever scents you love, and the great part is, you’ve got a completely effective and non-toxic scent!
Here are some of my favorite combinations for the diffuser as well as for homemade air freshener:
- Lavender, Serenity, Cedarwood, & Vetiver (this is a great blend to diffuse while sleeping)
- Serenity & Balance (my favorite blend when I’m stressing out about something)
- Geranium, Grapefruit & Lavender (this is a great one to put into your cleaning solution – makes the whole house smell fresh)
- Lemon, Lime, Wild Orange & Grapefruit (citrus makes a great scent for freshening up the bathroom)
- Douglas Fir & Wild Orange (so refreshing while I’m working in my office!)
- Peppermint, Wild Orange & Serenity (smells like a spa!)
- Cardamom, Cassia, Clove and Ginger (a spicy comforting scent)
What are your favorite non-toxic alternatives to air freshener, scented candles and fabric softener?