4 Easy Ways to Avoid Toxic Air Fresheners

This post may contain affiliate links. Find my affiliate disclosure  here .

This post may contain affiliate links. Find my affiliate disclosure here.

I often wonder what my house smells like to guests. We get so accustomed to our own scent that we don’t notice it (unless it’s like really bad BO or trash odor 😂). 

When we have company, I’ll take extra measures to feel like my home will smell amazing to our guests!

We all want our homes to smell good.

My question is what health symptoms are you willing to suffer for a fresh smelling home?

Now that may sound a bit dramatic, but most air fresheners on the market today are toxic to our health.

“Headaches, earaches, depression, an irregular heart beat, and diarrhea in babies are just a few of many health challenges that have been linked to regular use of synthetic air fresheners” (source).

Other health risks associated with air freshener use:

  • Asthma

  • Infertility

  • Developmental disorders

  • Cancer

  • Skin issues

I can almost count on getting a headache when I’m around synthetic scents for too long. 

What qualifies as an ‘air freshener’:

  • Aerosol air fresheners

  • Candles

  • Plug ins

  • Wax melts

  • Carpet Powders

  • Car air fresheners

  • Reed diffusers

  • Gel based air fresheners

Dangerous Ingredients


Many of us have heard of the dangers of phthalates; however, they’re thought of as dangerous ingredients of skin care products - which they are. What most of us don’t know is that phthalates are also in air fresheners, enteric coatings of pharmaceutical pills and nutritional supplements, personal-care products, medical devices, detergents, children's toys, modelling clay, waxes, paints, printing inks and coatings and much more.

Phthalates are known to disrupt our hormone (aka endocrine) system. EVERY bodily function is controlled by hormones, which means if our hormones are disrupted we will experience some kind of symptoms. It may show up as thyroid issues, infertility, skin issues, hormone related cancer, brain fog and more.


Formaldehyde is formed as a result of terpene mixing with other particles in the air which turns it into formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is classified as a human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

“A recent study found that plug-in deodorizers have over 20 VOCs, one third of which were classed as hazardous or toxic.” (source)


This one ingredient alone can contain hundreds to thousands of chemicals.

Due to the minimal regulations on labeling, manufacturers don’t have to disclose what chemicals they use in fragrance. They can actually leave quite a few important details out.

More than 95 percent of the chemicals in synthetic fragrances are derived from petrochemicals. These chemicals include: benzene derivatives, aldehydes, phthalates, and a slew of other known toxins that are capable of causing cancer, birth defects, nervous-system disorders and allergies—some of which are cited on the EPA’s hazardous waste list. (source)

These three ingredients are the tip of the toxic iceberg, but an excellent place to start in knowing what to avoid in all products, not just air fresheners.

I promise that I don’t tell you all of this to scare you. This is information you MUST know so that you can  make the best informed decision for your family.

WIth this knowledge, hopefully, you’ll avoid air fresheners as much as possible.

Unfortunately, avoiding them isn’t 100% possible as air fresheners are in most public restrooms. You may even have friends and family that will continue to use them even after you share this information with them.

Eliminating common toxins, such as air fresheners, from your home means that you can worry less about the times that you do come into contact with toxins.

>>Learn 8 ways to easily reduce the amount of chemicals in your home here.

Sometimes I wish we could live in a toxin free bubble or shout information like this from the rooftops so that more people become aware and stop using such toxins themselves.

I realize we can’t live in a bubble and people already think I’m crazy when I talk about this stuff so I won’t shout from rooftops, but I will talk about it here and on my podcast.

Here are some simple things you can do to eliminate toxic air fresheners from your home AND have a home that smells good.

  1. Make your own carpet powder with baking soda and essential oils. I am so guilty of buying those smell good carpet powders from the grocery store - before I knew how toxic they were. Then I found how easy and safe it is to make my own. I used a glass jar and filled it half way with baking soda. Then I added 10-20 drops of a non-toxic essential oil, like this one, to it and stirred. In the standard metal mason jar lid, I used a nail and hammered some holes into the top to make a shaker jar. You could use an old spice jar too.

  2. Have house plants. The NASA Clean Air Study "showed that houseplants were able to remove up to 87 percent of air toxins in a 24 hour period". The study recommends getting "a plant for every 10 yards of floor in your house". So for a 1600 square foot house, you would need 17-18 indoor plants. Any indoor plant would be beneficial, but The NASA Clean Air Study used specific plants in their study. It showed that the purple waffle plant (Hemigraphis 'Exotica'), the English Ivy (Hedera helix), the variegated wax plant (Hoya Carnosa Variegata), and the asparagus fern (Asparagus densiflorus) were awesome at eliminating common household air pollutants.

  3. Open your WIndows - There are many studies out there that show that the air in our homes can be more polluted than the air outside! The quickest way to clear the air is to open some windows. Even when it’s snowing outside, I still open the windows a crack for a little bit.

  4. Diffuse essential oils. Ahhh one of my favorite wellness tools - essential oils. Not only will these make your home smell amazing; they can also lift your mood, purify the air in your home, support your immune system and so much more! But beware - some essential oils are nothing but synthetic fragrance which is the very thing you’re trying to avoid with air fresheners. So do your research! Find the #1 thing you should be looking for to ensure that you are using a real essential oil on episode 6 of my podcast, The Happy Healthy Mom

Some of my favorites to diffuse are:

Citrus oils - these smell so fresh and are shown to energize and uplift. I also like to add a drop of lemon essential oil to my garbage disposal when it gets stinky.

Ylang ylang - the sweet flowery scent of this oil is so nice and calming. It’s also my daughter’s favorite essential oil. I use it in the DIY hair detangler I make for her.

Cinnamon/Clove - during the holidays this is the perfect combo to make your home smell festive.

If you’re new to using essential oils, click here for a free video that explains the basics like how to use them, what to look for to make sure you’re using pure oils, tops uses for the top oils and more.

As we know better, we do better -


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Hi! I'm Bri....the wife, mom, RN, and Certified Health Coach behind HippieDippieMom. Read more about me here.

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