The Problem With Conventional Home Fresheners {And My Favorite All Natural Alternatives}

Nov 15, 2021

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I am sure I am not the only one who loves a clean and tidy house, with a crisp clean, and home smell.

But did you know the biggest culprits in polluting the average home are conventional fabric softeners, candles, and room sprays?  These products all contain toxic synthetic ingredients that wreak havoc on our health and overall well-being.  These products contain known carcinogens (a substance capable of causing cancer in living tissue.)  Carcinogens can also cause respiratory or central nervous system issues, allergic reactions, and even reproductive problems, such as infertility.

It is a known fact that the air in most homes is more harmful and polluted than the air outside.

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Just to shed some more light on how harmful some of these products are:

Common toxic ingredients in fabric softeners and dryer sheets:

Benzyl acetate: can cause dizziness, drowsiness, confusion, sore throats, and/or labored breathing when inhaled.
Diethanolamine: can cause central nervous system disorders. Diethanolamine is also listed as an air pollutant by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA.)
Benzyl Alcohol: can cause allergies or even toxicity within the immune system.
Ethyl Acetate: a narcotic on the EPA’s Hazardous Waste list.
A-Terpineol: can cause respiratory problems.
Chloroform: is neurotoxic, anesthetic, and carcinogenic.
Pentane: A chemical is known to be harmful if inhaled.  It can cause headaches, nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, and dizziness. Repeated inhalation of its vapors can also cause damage to the central nervous system.
Fragrance: is a carcinogen, and a known endocrine disruptor.  Fragrance can contain tons (like hundreds) of chemicals, and the ingredients don’t have to be disclosed to the consumer.

 Common toxic and unsafe ingredients in scented candles:

Paraffin: this is a sludge waste product from the petroleum industry. When burned it releases carcinogenic chemicals and this can cause respiratory issues.
Lead: most candles have lead in their wicks, and the lead is released into the air by the burning process. This can cause nervous system issues, as well as reparatory issues.
Artificial colors and fragrances: can be the cause of allergic reactions.  Fragrance can contain tons (like hundreds) of chemicals, and the ingredients don’t have to be disclosed to the consumer.
GMO soy: Nothing good comes from GMO’s and I personally choose to not support the mono-crop industry.

Common toxic and harmful ingredients in room and air freshening sprays:

Benzene: a carcinogen.  Benzene is also listed as an air pollutant by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA.)
Formaldehyde: a carcinogen. Formaldehyde is also listed as an air pollutant by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA.)
VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds): can cause irritation in the respiratory system.
Phthalates: are known to interfere with testosterone production and have also been associated with other reproductive abnormalities.

 All these toxic ingredients in these items (that most people use so freely) make their way into the bloodstream via the lungs and the skin.  Why cover our homes (and ourselves) in these harmful and toxic chemicals that can weaken the immune system, cause cancer, or and disrupt hormones when there are so many fabulous safer more natural alternatives?

Over the decade years, I have been diligently swapping items in my home out for safer alternatives.  I have gotten rid of all of these toxic products (mentioned above and some other not mentioned sources) and so I thought it would be fun to share what I choose to replace them with.

My favorite safer alternatives

Wool Dryer Balls + Essential Oils
I ditched fabric softener and dryer sheets about 7 years ago altogether and have never looked back.  For fabric softener, I simply use a cap full of organic white vinegar.  To reduce the static cling and help our clothes smell fresh, I use organic wool dryer balls.  These dryer balls last for over 1,000 loads each and are completely chemical-free.  I like placing 2-3 drops of essential oils like lavender or geranium on each ball before drying a load of laundry (the beauty is the scent on the dryer balls does last for several loads.)  The combo of dryer balls and essential oils keeps the laundry smelling fresh, as well as keeping it free from static electricity and toxic chemicals.

The Problem With Conventional Home Fresheners

Beeswax Candles
Beeswax candles are the best natural alternative to conventional candles.  Instead of polluting the air of your home these candles actually help clean the air by emitting negative ions.  I love using these pillar candles or these taper candles on the dining room table during dinner time.  During the holiday Primally Pure also releases a lovely candle that I stock up on every year.

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Diffusing Essential Oils
I also love using a diffuser and therapeutic grade essential oils in place of scented candles and or air fresheners.  It is very important to make sure you are only using pure essential oils – this ensures that the oils are free of synthetic chemicals or even filled with cheaper oils to reduce the overall cost.  My favorite part about using essential oils to freshen the air is that these oils have therapeutic effects on the body – so it is kind of a two-for-one deal.  Your sense of smell is directly connected to your emotional side of the brain, so simply inhaling essential oils can really make you feel calmer, help you feel more alert, reduce the feelings of sadness and anxiety.

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Essential Oils For Air Freshener
Primally Pure has the very best essential oil room spray that they release every season.  They smell absolutely divine and correlate with each season beautifully.

Another super easy alternative is to make your own homemade air freshener using a simple glass spray bottle.  Fill the bottle ¾ full with filtered water and then simply add 15-20 drops of your favorite essential oil.  Shake and spray – it really is that simple.

Here are some of my favorite combos of essential oils for the diffuser as well as a homemade air freshener:

Lavender + Cedarwood
Hygge + Citrus Bloom
  Geranium + Grapefruit + Lavender
  Wild Orange + Geranium
  Lemon + Lime + Wild Orange
  Peppermint + Wild Orange
  Cinnamon + Wild Orange
  Tangerine + Geranium + Black Spruce + Grapefruit

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Some other places where toxins may lurk in your home include cleaning supplies, laundry detergent, plug-in air fresheners, and personal care products.   It would be worthwhile to learn more and to slowly start replacing these items as well.


Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.


Use code “NURTUREMEWILD” at checkout to save 10% off your entire first order over at Primally Pure!


I personally use DoTerra essential oils.  If you’d like to purchase essential oils at wholesale prices, click here or email me here if you have any questions or would like more information.

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