Sunday, June 20, 2010

Air Fresheners: Commercial vs. Natural

(pictured: Fresh Lavender)

I hate to admit this but I used to be an air freshener junkie. When the glad plug ins first came out I had them in every room of my house. Same thing with the scented candles I used to have those burning every evening. However this all came to a screeching halt when I read the book “Toxic Overload” written by Paula Baillie-Hamilton, MD. I was surprised to find that air fresheners contain plasticizers which we certainly don’t want air borne in our house. Immediately after reading the book the air fresheners were out of my house.

Initially I tried opening the windows to air out the house every morning but that just didn’t do the trick for me I really missed the fragrance you get from air fresheners. Next I tried simmering a pot of water with orange slices, a cinnamon stick and cloves. That smelled good but reminded me too much of Christmas and I wanted something that didn’t require the stove. Then I found the answer, distilled water and essential oil in a spray bottle. I used lavender in the bedroom and it seems to help me calm down so I can sleep. I like lemon, orange or grapefruit in the living room and kitchen.  In the bathroom I use tea tree oil. Not only is this healthier, but it is easier and cheaper. Additionally many essential oils are natural disinfectants which is an added bonus. I use a cup of distilled water and about 10 drops of essential oil. I pour this in a spray bottle and use it as you would aerosol air freshener, though I do shake it up before I spray. They also sell little ceramic disks you can put a few drops of essential oil in an place on a light bulb. When the lamp is on it releases the fragrance. 

Farmers’ Market Update:

We had quite the haul from the market this morning. Someone we managed to get out the door at 6:30 this morning and do three laps at the market before we started our shopping. We got a chance to see what the farmers were unloading and got our blood pumping. Not being morning people we both need that extra wake up time.

The organic farmers that come to the market must have their farms in full swing now. This morning we picked up: collards (for wraps), rainbow chard, kale, beets (both ruby and golden), oyster mushrooms, black raspberries, peaches, leeks, dill, cauliflower, cucumber, snow peas, potatoes, tomatoes and green beans. In the end we have 5 reusable grocery bags overflowing for the two of us.

Summer is Here:

Today the temperatures are supposed to be in the upper 90’s and stay there all week. So much for having as much time to open the windows as I would like. I will take the opportunity to open the house up each early morning for at least 30 minutes to freshener the air but that will be it for the foreseeable future.

Do any of us worry about your carpet or furniture off gassing and open up your house to freshen the air and reduce the VOCs?  Is this a topic you would like to know more about?

Food today:

Given the heat I am definitely making cold food today. There is no way I want to turn on the stove in this heat. The plan is to make a salad loosely based on Pad Thai for lunch. Dinner is still up in the air. However I have two mangoes to use so I may actually make the mango and veggie filled spring rolls today for dinner.

I will be back later with Pad Thai inspired salad. I hope everyone is having a great weekend. Our day has been hectic but otherwise very pleasant. Talk to you all later.


  1. I have never been an air-freshener user--they have always scared me. Who knows what chemicals and other weird stuff is in them to make them smell "fresh" for so long, you know?!? I love simmering orange peels and cinnamon and cloves on the stove in the fall/winter! It smells so good, but I agree--it isn't what you want to do in summer. I have used lavender and peppermint oil in the past, but I hadn't thought of using tea tree oil--I bet that is a nice clean scent.

    I hope you are enjoying your Sunday!

  2. Courtney,

    I wish air fresheners had scared me sooner but they didn't. Now on the other hand I wouldn't allow them in my house.

    I use tea tree in the bathroom for it anti microbial properties, and it smells piney to me. That fragrance seems to fit in a bathroom in my mind. ;-)

    We are having a good Sunday, just really busy. I hope you are having a good weekend too!


  3. What a great air freshener idea - I'm going to try it! Is there a particular reason you'd want to use distilled water rather than regular ol' water?

  4. I like the windows open as much as possible. And like you I also use essential oils to freshen the air.

    I never liked commercial air fresheners even before I learned about the harmful chemicals in them, the smell always made me sick. They never smelled fresh or good to me. One of our drs. used the plug-ins in his office and I had to stop going there because the smell made me sick. Perfume and cologne also do, and it is surprising how many people seem to just bathe in the stuff.

  5. Janet,

    I can't stand the smell of air fresheners or commercial cleaners now. They both smell toxic to me.

    Tell me about people bathing in perfume. What is that all about? I always thought that perfume was something that you should only smell within two or three inches of a person not ten feet away. I have had to get out of elevators early some women wear so much.;-) *shakes head*


  6. Vegga,

    I find that tap water has a chemical smell. I suppose you could use filtered water as well. Many years ago I saw a "recipe" that used distilled water and essential oil which I used and then I never tried tap water. I think it will work though. Sorry I wasn't more help.


  7. I'll admit, I love air fresheners (and candles). During the cooler months, I burn candles all the time. Right now I'm afraid the house would just go up in flames. I have this bizarre fear of people thinking my house smells. Your farmers' market loot sounds great. We didn't hit ours this weekend.

  8. Heather,

    With three cats I had the same fear. The water and essential oil works great. You may like the ceramic diffuser you put on light bulbs. I used to keep one going in my office. They do a wonderful job of diffusing the essential oils.

    talk to you later,

  9. QOTE:
    "Do any of us worry about your carpet or furniture off gassing and open up your house to freshen the air and reduce the VOCs? Is this a topic you would like to know more about?"

    Sure. I don't have any idea what VOCs are.

    Very Old Californians?
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    Violent Ohio Chiropractors?

    Jim Purdy
    The 50 Best Health Blogs

  10. Jim,

    Violent Ohio Chiropractors, LOL, that was good! VOC stands for volatile organic compound. It sounds like I should write a post about what they are and where they come from. Thanks for letting me know. ;-)



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