The Dangers of Air Fresheners

May 07, 2014

Air fresheners are great especially when you are driving an older vehicle. They help keep the stench of years of mud, salt and dust away. But, does anyone know how safe they really are? Read on to find out. Synthetic air fresheners (Febreze, Air Wick, etc) are often used in living spaces to “freshen up” the room. Unfortunately, some health issues such as headaches, ear aches and depression have been linked to the common air freshener. What exactly is in them that could potentially be so harmful? Phthalates are a main ingredient that helps scented products maintain their scent.

The National Resources Defense Council conducted a study on air fresheners and the level of phthalates in them. The following results are listed.

Highest level of phthalates:

  • Walgreens Air Freshener Spray
  • Walgreens Scented Bouquet Air
  • Walgreens Solid Air Fresheners
  • Ozium Glycolized Air Sanitizer

Medium level of phthalates:

  • Air Wick Scented Oil
  • Febreze NOTICEables Scented Oil
  • Glade PlugIn Scented Oil
  • Oust Air Sanitizer Spray

Low level to no phthalates:

  • Citrus Magic
  • Febreze Air Effects Air Refresher
  • Lysol Brand II Disinfectant
  • Oust Fan Liquid Refills
  • Renuzit Subtle Effects

Please note that a low level to no phthalates does not mean the air freshener is safer. Therefore, we have compiled a list of ways to naturally freshen up your room, or vehicle.

Open your windows.

Even if it is a cold day, 30 minutes a day will air out any scents that may be lingering.

Have baking soda handy.

Baking soda reacts positively to substances with either a strong acid or base. The science is complicated, but it does help absorb any odor in the air and in upholstery. Sprinkle baking soda onto your upholstery and let it sit for 30 minutes to one hour. Then, vacuum it all up. Your upholstery will be freshly scented. If it is possible, you can also leave an open jar/box of baking soda in the vehicle. Any air-borne odor will be absorbed.

Potpourri also works.

If it is possible, potpourri can also be kept in a bowl out in the open. It can also be put into cheese cloth or a mesh bag and kept in the vehicle.

Keep your space garbage free.

This seems like a no-brainer. Food wrappers can have food residue and keep the vehicle from a fresh scent.