Everyone loves to have their home to smell refreshing, but when you’re suffering from allergy, your choice of air fresheners are often limited. Most commercial air fresheners only contribute to aggravating your condition, as they contain volatile chemical compounds.
You don’t want the citrus-scent of chemical-based perfume to trigger nasal blockage, or in worst cases, complicate existing asthma conditions. For allergy sufferers, it’s all about getting fresh and clean air circulating at home, and if you prefer a hint of pleasant smell, using naturally scented fresheners is the solution.
Why Some Air Fresheners Are Toxic?
Regardless of whether you’re suffering from allergies or not, some air fresheners should be avoided at all costs. Aerosol-type fresheners that emit strong scent, often contain volatile organic compounds or VOC.
VOC refers to chemicals that are in liquid form in the aerosol can that turns to vapor when sprayed in the air. It has been proven the exposure to VOC can lead to serious complications such as kidney or liver damage. Some VOC chemicals may also cause cancer.
Be aware of chemicals like formaldehyde, naphthalene, and benzene as they are known cancer risks. Ensure that any air freshener that you use is free of VOC.
The hazard of air fresheners are is not limited to aerosol refreshing sprays. Scented candles, which are often thought to be natural, may contain VOC as well. These hazardous scented candles contain paraffin oil, which is related to petroleum.
Burning paraffin-based scented candles release harmful chemicals to the air. Of course, non-toxic scented candles are available. They are made of soy wax, beeswax or palm oil. These scented candles do not release hazardous chemicals.
How Air Fresheners Could Trigger Or Worsen Allergy
Air fresheners that contain VOC may cause serious complications in the long term. However, for allergy sufferers, the slightest whiff of the chemical-induced scent can trigger the familiar symptoms.
According to Stanley Fineman, MD of the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, 20% of the population reportedly suffer allergy symptoms when exposed to air freshers. And that’s not including 34% of asthma patients who suffered aggravation of their symptoms after inhaling the chemical compounds in the fragrance.
Even some air freshening products that are labeled as natural may trigger allergic reactions in highly sensitive individuals. You’ll want to avoid using commercial aerosol or plug-in fresheners that suspiciously contain hazardous chemicals.
10 Natural Air Fresheners For Allergy Sufferers
Your choices in air-fresheners may be limited when you’re highly sensitive to air pollutants, but here are some natural options that will reinvigorate your home.
1. Baking Soda
Baking soda is a natural option that removes odor from the air. The white-powdery compound used for cooking is helpful in removing nasty odor in your home. Baking soda is scentless by itself, which makes it an ideal air freshener if you’re not into scents.
The easiest way to freshen the air with baking soda is to pour the powder into a bowl and leave it around. Note that it will take some time for baking soda to neutralize whatever foul smell that is present in the air.
You could also make baking soda spray by adding a tablespoon of baking soda into the water-filled spray water. This allows you to spray the freshener on items like couch or carpets for odor removal.
Adding essential oils into baking soda offers natural scent. It is a better solution than using chemical-laden aerosol spray.
2. Essential Oils
Essential oils are commonly used in aromatherapy. The oils are highly-concentrated extracts derived from plants and herbs. The scent of essential oils is associated with various therapeutical properties.
As essential oils are extracted from plants, they qualify for being natural air fresheners. However, there are questionable reports about its safety. A 2007 study found that diffusing essential oils release a certain amount of terpenes and other VOCs.
However, aromatherapy experts argue that the VOCs in essential oil disintegrate and are not harmful to humans compared to those of synthetic fragrance. Personally, I use essential oils and I’m convinced of its safety.
To freshen the air with essential oils, you’ll want to get an ultrasonic diffuser. That’s one of the best ways to spread the natural scent around while maintaining its therapeutic properties.
3. White Vinegar
The scent of white vinegar may be overpowering, but it does go away as it evaporates. Coupled with its acetic properties, white vinegar is a good option to neutralize alkaline odor. Also, most households will probably have a bottle of white vinegar in the kitchen.
The quick and easy way to remove odor with white vinegar is to pour it in a bowl and place it somewhere in your home. As the vinegar evaporates, its molecule will neutralize the odor in the air.
If you want a more targeted approach, you’ll need a spray bottle. Pour the white vinegar into the bottle and start spraying areas in your home that needs refreshing. White vinegar is also stain-free, which makes it safe to use around precious fabrics.
4. Activated Charcoal Air Purifying Bag
You’re probably aware that charcoal is a natural odor absorber. The carbon molecule in charcoal neutralizes foul-smelling scent effectively. In recent years, the term activated charcoal seems to be making an appearance in products like water filters and air purifiers.
Activated charcoals are charcoals that have gone through an oxygen treatment process. The result is charcoals that are more porous which drastically increases its efficiency in removing foul-smelling molecules.
These air purifying bag contains pure activated charcoal. It’s the simplest way to use activated charcoal to freshen the air in your home. Each bag has a lifespan for 2 years and they are reusable. You’ll need to place the bags under the sun for an hour once a month to rejuvenate the charcoals.
What’s great about using charcoal purifying bags is that you could use the charcoals for gardening once the 2 years are up.
Some herbs and flowers continue to release fragrant even when they are dried. A mixture of colorful petals and herbs not only brings hints of natural scent to the air but is also visually pleasing to the eyes.
You could place a pack of mixed dried petals on the table and let the natural scent permeate the air. Usually, the scent of potpourri will last between months or a year. If you’re hoping to keep cupboards or drawers fresh, you could opt for smaller packs of dried petals.
6. Beeswax Candles
While you should strictly avoid paraffin-based candles, beeswax candles are a natural alternative. Beeswax candles are made of the nectar of honeybees and often infused with natural essential oils. The combined scent of the nectar and plants extract is often pleasing.
Beeswax candles do not produce VOCs, and they are generally acceptable when you are suffering from allergies. Of course, you should use beeswax candle only if you’re not sensitive to the slightest of scent.
You’ll want to consider the size of the scented candle. Larger size candles could last for days while smaller candles produce refreshing scent for a shorter duration.
Lemons not only make great lemonade but they are equally capable of producing a rejuvenating scent. To do so, you’ll need to boil a couple of sliced lemons and pour the mixture into a bowl. As the hot lemon water evaporates, you’ll find your room filled with a natural lemon scent.
Alternatively, you could lemon juice and essential oil in a spray bottle. The mist of the aromatherapeutic droplets will send the lemon scent across the room. If it’s too much a hassle, you could get a bottle of readily-made natural lemon spray.
8. Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous earth is made up of fossilized planktons and they are one of the common ingredients in cat litter. You can use cat litters if you are having pets in your home, or else, you’ll want to get a pack of diatomaceous earth.
The silica-rich diatomaceous earth is a natural odor and moisture absorber. It works well when your home is humid and reeks with an unpleasant smell. You could pour some diatomaceous earth into a bowl to absorb odor from the air.
If the culprit of the odor points to the carpet, sprinkling diatomaceous earth will help in removing the scent. Let the powder settle for 3-4 hours and vacuum the carpet to remove the residue. Diatomaceous earth could also kill dust mites or other pests that may be residing in the carpet, making it a good option for allergy sufferers.
9. Coffee Ground
If you’re a coffee lover who insists on brewing your own coffee, you could make use of the coffee ground. Instead of discarding the coffee ground, place them into sachets or old socks and you’ll have a natural freshener with your favorite scent.
Coffee beans are known to be a handy deodorizer used to clean perfumery items or mess left by toddlers. While the scent could be overpowering, it neutralizes the foul scent that pollutes the air. So, stop throwing away the coffee ground and turn it into a handy air freshener.
10. Natural Air
There’s nothing more natural than opening the windows and let the breeze flow through your home. Of course, this depends on the outdoor air quality of your home. If you’re leaving near to suburbs and greeneries, the natural breeze that flows triumph any man-made fresheners.
Ventilating your home naturally also helps in reducing humidity which helps to reduce allergens like dust mites.
While dealing with my son’s allergies, I find that ventilating the air, or keeping the air fresh in other natural ways help in alleviating the symptoms. Besides, fresher air is also uplifting to the mood. Hopefully, you’ve found something useful in removing the odor or rejuvenating stale, musky air in your home.