Air Fresheners: What's the Bad Stuff and How to Avoid It?

It's clear from studies by groups such as the EWG (Environmental Working Group) and others that fragrances and air fresheners on the market today contain chemicals such as phthalates and endocrine disrupters that upset hormones in the body.  The Washington Post wrote an article  reporting on a study that linked phthalates and endocrine disruptors to a more than 6 point drop in IQ for children whose mothers were exposed to phthalates during their pregnancy.  Another study found 24 other chemicals that trigger sometimes extreme allergy symptoms such as violent coughing, vomiting, dizziness and skin irritation.


Many toxic chemicals are protected from disclosure on ingredient lists of products we purchase because they are considered "trade secrets" so we seem left to assume the worst in those cases and instead of buying products we can't be sure are safe we have to plan to keep our families safe by discovering new ways to fragrance our surroundings.  


Follow these simple recipes to create natural, chemical free and richly fragrant aromas for your home.  Hunt & gather the following items for your natural home deodorizer:


-  Mason jar / old tomato sauce jar (if storing in the fridge) 

-  Pot for stove top 

-  Water 

-  Any of the ingredients listed from the recipes below. 




1. Cut any fruits and place in water, add spices, extracts and herbs.

2. Fill your pot with water (I use a small saucepan) 3/4 the way full, and boil.

3. As soon as it reaches the boiling point, reduce to low heat and simmer.



The famous recipe from Williams-Sonoma: 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary, a teaspoon of vanilla extract and one sliced lemon.


Fall Wonderland: 1 sliced orange, 5 cinnamon sticks, 2 tablespoons of whole cloves


Orange Amaretto: 1 sliced orange, 1 tablespoon almond extract


Sweet Mint:  2 sliced limes, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon peppermint extract


Gingerbread: 5 1/4 inch slices of ginger, 1 tablespoon almond extract, 3 cinnamon sticks


Orange Creamsicle: 1 tablespoon vanilla, 1 sliced orange


Cordon Bleu: 1 lemon, 1 tablespoon of peppermint extract, 4 sprigs of rosemary


Italian Backyard: 1 lemon, 1 tsp black peppercorns, handful of basil, forest: cedar twigs


Regal Cream: Bergamot tea (Earl Grey), 1 tsp vanilla extract


Blueberry Tea: Bergamot tea, 1 sliced orange, 1 tsp almond extract


Coconut Bay: 1 tablespoon coconut extract, 1 sliced lime


Once you know your favorite scents simply keep a supply of the ingredients to throw in and boil up anytime company is on their way over. After you have made a recipe use it over the next 2 weeks or so. Storage time varies since some fruits will keep longer than others. 


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