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Replace Chemical Laden Air Fresheners with Natural Choices

     Most air freshening products on the market today are nothing more than concoctions of toxic chemicals and artificially manufactured scents aimed to tease and tempt our sense of smell.  Once again we are creating the Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) environment when it's not even necessary.  Many indoor pollutants are unavoidable, but why add to this cesspool of toxins being thrown our way everyday.  Compelled by the smells of exotic perfumes designed to overpower our common sense by deceiving our sense of smell, we purchase these synthetic scents by the millions per day.  Spray your clothes, spray your linens, spray your draperies, spray your upholstered furniture, spray your carpet and when that doesn't work, plug one into every vacant electrical outlet in your house. And if that isn't enough get a few motion activated air fresheners so every time you walk by one, you can sniff a few more noxious chemicals into your delicate airways. And we wonder why it's recommended to open windows, at least 30 minutes a day, even in the dead of winter.  It's not just to let some fresh air in.  It's to let the toxins out as well. There's a reason we need to circulate the air.  We need to stop poisoning the air we breathe.  Many artificial air freshener's sold today contain carcinogens, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and other toxins such as phthalates, a known hormone disrupter, that accumulate in our body. There's enough indoor pollution already in our homes and workplaces from the synthetic carpets and furnishings, wood sealants, paints, and laminates that we can't easily remove. So why add more?!?

Photo of citrus fruits in bowl with oranges, lemons, and limes used to simmer on stovetop to freshen and clean the air.

     What could be fresher than a fresh bowl of citrus fruits?  Oranges...lemons...limes.   A pot of simmering water on the stove filled with citrus peels from your oranges...lemons...limes.  Jazz it up with a little cinnamon, cloves, or allspice.  A simple, inexpensive way to freshen up your entire house  Our sense of smell is very much tied into our memories.  Sometimes the scent of something in your immediate environment will cause a memory flashback whisking you back to another place and time or bringing back memories of someone long forgotten.  So mix up some of your own concoctions or try the ones below below and bring back some of those happy memories.

     There are so many natural remedies to mask those peevish odors you're trying to cover up.  They smell better and are a whole lot better for your respiratory system. Cigarette smoke, urine and fecal odors, cooking smells, molds etc.  Of course, the best option is to eliminate the source of the odor. When that's not possible, why not try making your own air freshener.  Essential oils bind with odor particles and neutralize them. Just take a few drops of your choice of essential oils, 1 tsp. of witch hazel or vodka, and 1/2 cup of water.  Mix it up in a dark glass or PET spray bottle, shake and spray away. Just be sure to use 100% pure essential oils.  Don't spray it on your skin or on wood or plastics.  Most essential oils are not meant to be used undiluted on your skin.  Some citrus essential oils are photosensitive.  Exposure to the sun with citrus oils on your skin can cause redness, blistering and darkened pigmentation. So just to be safe, don't go in the sun for 24 hours if you get the oils on your skin. And don't mix the oils around an open flame as they are flammable. It's best to use dark glass, such as amber or cobalt blue, because the ultraviolet rays in sunlight will break down the oils. These can be found online or at health food stores such as Whole Foods. Also, these air freshening recipes will last a long time because it only takes a few sprays to do the job. Therefore, it is best to use glass or Pet plastic bottles; because essential oils will eventually leach through other plastic bottles.  PET plastic works well for diluted essential oils.  For lavender or eucalyptus use 20-25 drops.  The minty oils like peppermint or spearmint need only about 10-15 drops.  Citrus oils take a lot more, about 60 - 65 drops. You can mix the citrus oils like orange, lemon, and lime and make a wonderful citrus blend.  Try 35 drops of orange, 15 drops of lemon, and 10 drops of lime. Eucalyptus goes well with spearmint or lavender. Lavender is nice with orange. Peppermint is great on its own or mixed with just about any of the others. Just remember to use less of the mints, because they tend to overpower the others.  Start with less and add more as needed. When spraying cloth, it's best to do a test sample first and let it dry overnight to be sure it's safe on the fabric you're spraying.  Have fun experimenting with these and others.

     If you don't want to mix the air fresheners yourself, you can sprinkle a few drops of the pure essential oils on cotton balls or baking soda and place on glass or terra cotta trays around your house.  Be sure to protect the surface beneath it.  For the fresh clean scent of eucalyptus, you can fill a vase with dried eucalyptus branches.

     All of these oils work great in essential oils diffusers or misting bowls for a continuous air freshening as in Humidity Control to Prevent Illness.  You can use eucalyptus globulus or 'blue gum' when you have a cold or flu or any breathing complication.  Lavender is perfect for helping you to relax.  Minty and citrus oils are uplifting oils.  They stimulate your senses and put you in a better mood.  Jasmine and Rose Absolute are in the list below and make wonderful flowery air fresheners, but are more expensive than the others.

     And for those of you who are too lazy, or excuse me, too busy to make your own room freshener sprays, I've done some of the searching for you.  Citrus Magic and Aura Cacia air fresheners are all natural.  Aura Cacia's new lemon raspberry scent smells like raspberry lemonade.

Note:  Even some essential oils can be toxic depending upon the method of disbursement.  If you wish to check for safety click on Safety Guide to Essential Oils. Rarely, some people find themselves allergic to certain essential oils or even citrus peels.  If you find them irritating to your nose or throat you should discontinue their use. 


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