Whoa. Back It Up. What’d You Say? Air Fresheners Are Toxic?!?!

Maybe I’m late on this but have you all heard that indoor air fresheners are toxic?! (sources here, here, here)

That is shocking news to me but not all that surprising when I actually SMELL the smell.

It really SMELLS like a bunch of chemicals.

Being Earth Week and being on a year-long Spending Diet means this information is of great interest to me.

I’ve found that the ABSOLUTE best way to lessen my environmental impact is to consume less.

You can measure your own ecological footprint here. The 21 question quiz measures your impact in different categories and then let’s you know how many “Earths” it would take if everyone lived the way you did. I took the test twice. Once as my pre-spending fast self and once as my current spending diet/post-spending fast self. My rating was 6.85 Earths before and now it is 1.87 Earths. The quiz is a tangible way to see that consuming less means good things for the world.

image via tumblr

I decided that I needed to do without all the expensive, highly-marketed chemical cleaners. That meant making the things I need to clean my house and office from inexpensive, easily accessible ingredients.

All-Purpose Cleaning Spray

Ingredients needed: white distilled vinegar, tap water

Pull an old spray bottle from the recycling bin. Combine 3 parts water to 1 part white vinegar. Spray, swipe and the germs are gone. The germs can’t stand up to vinegars acidity. (the smell was hard to get used to at first but dissipates quickly)

Next up: make a house/bathroom air freshener that’s not toxic.

Bathroom/House Air Freshener

Ingredients needed: Essential oil, tap water, a smaller sized old spray bottle (approximately 79¢ at the grocery store if you decide to buy it new, of course re-using something that would have gone into the trash is better but I try to remind myself, it’s about progress not perfection)

Fill the spray bottle almost to the top with tap water and since moderation isn’t my thing I put 40 drops of essential oil in there so it could REALLY smell good. (I found a large bottle of Lemon Myrtle essential oil at the natural food store for $7).  Then shake it all up and spritz it around.

It worked!

Now, when the air is “freshened” up it doesn’t smell like a big fat chemical bomb. It smells like lemon and I feel a lot better about it. Also, there is plenty of vinegar and essential oil left to make more cleaning supplies and room spray in the future.

It’s amazing how little the cleaning spray and the air freshener cost compared to what I used to spend on the stuff. It cost pennies to create those two items where it would have cost quite a bit more in the past to buy the items outright. It also feels good to know that I’m not creating additional waste that comes along with buying the packaged items.

image by abi porterHappy Earth Week!

8 comments

8 thoughts on “Whoa. Back It Up. What’d You Say? Air Fresheners Are Toxic?!?!

  1. HighHeeledTraders

    Thanks Anna, I love this post. I would go on your link to measure my "Earths" right now! To help with bathroom smells, I buy and hang Eucalyptus leaves upside down to dry in the restroom – it gives out that "minty" Eucalyptus smell…sometimes I tuck in flowers (leftover roses) on it — nice touch in aesthetics too… maybe you have an equivalent to the Eucalyptus?

  2. Aubrey

    Great post! I wonder if perhaps you could help out the ol' vinegar stink from the all-purpose cleaner by adding a few drops of vanilla to the solution? That's what I do when I open a fresh can of paint and it really helps eliminate the lingering odor.

  3. marianney | A Life Set Free

    Oh! great ideas!! I too and trying to reduce my carbon footprint and these are awesome tips! Plus who wants a house full of chemicals to breathe in??
    I am off to do the quiz now! Congrats on getting your #'s so low!! That is really awesome!

  4. Jenny @ exconsumer

    This is a great post Anna. I was shocked to see that I'm consuming 4.97 Earths — mostly due to my home! What an eye-opener.

    I love your idea fir an air freshener too. I use a vinegar and water solution to clean my floors, but I've never tried an air freshener with essential oils. I'm definitely going to try that!

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