We Love that Fresh Clean Smell, But Is It Worth It?

Essential Oils: Scents You Can Feel Good About

There’s something about a fresh, crisp scent in the air that can remind us of happy times, lifting our spirits and making us feel that all is right in the world. But did you know that, in an effort to achieve this feeling, you could inadvertently be exposing yourself and your family to harmful chemicals via such scent-laden products as air fresheners, candles, dryer sheets and fabric softeners?

Air Fresheners

air_freshScents like “Cool Morning Air,” “Cleansing Rain,” “Citrus Scent” and “Summer Breeze” may sound inviting, but the NRDC (National Resources Defense Council) reports that many air fresheners commonly include such dangerous ingredients as hormone-disrupting phthalates and cancer-causing Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) like benzene and formaldehyde.

When these and other chemicals in the air fresheners are released into the air, they may then be inhaled or absorbed through the skin. According to the report, “Once they enter the bloodstream, they can alter hormone levels and cause other health problems.” Scary—especially when you consider that a whopping 86% of the air fresheners tested contained phthalates alone.

Dryer Sheets and Fabric Softeners

fabricMany people have also come to rely on dryer sheets and fabric softeners to help create a feeling of freshness. These laundry aids may help clothes feel softer and reduce static cling, but they come at a high cost when you factor in that many contain harmful ingredients like phthalates, chloroform (a neurotoxin and carcinogen) and others.

The bottom line?

It may be best to avoid artificially fragranced products like air fresheners, fabric softeners and dryer sheets. But what should you use instead?

Essential Oils—A Non-Toxic Alternative

Essential Oils

Healthier alternatives to chemical-laden air fresheners include opening windows and/or placing several indoor plants around your home. But when you want to evoke a certain mood, there’s nothing quite like essential oils to help scent the air naturally, without the worry of toxic chemicals.

Benefits of Essential Oils

  • They are distilled from natural herbal and floral extracts
  • They’re refreshing in any room of your home
  • A wide variety of fragrances makes them perfect for any mood
  • They are concentrated, so a little goes a long way; usually just a few drops are all you need
  • They can be used to freshen couches, musty carpets, curtains and even bed linens and comforters
  • They can also be used to gently and naturally scent clothing, right in the dryer

How to Use Essential Oils

Essential oils can easily be used in a variety of ways. For example:

  • Try adding a few drops of your favorite blend to a spray bottle filled with water. Simply spritz the mixture around your house to freshen the air and provide an uplifting, refreshing scent.
  • How to Use Essential Oils

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    Or add a few drops of essential oil to a pot of water on your stovetop and let it simmer on low heat. The soothing scent will soon permeate throughout your house. (Remember to keep adding water and essential oil as the water evaporates.)

  • You can use your essential oils with water as you’re cleaning surfaces around your home. Add six drops to ten ounces of water in a spray bottle and grab a good microfiber cloth to get counters, bathroom surfaces, glass and more not only clean but smelling fresh too.
  • Add a few drops to two woolen dryer balls and toss into your dryer for naturally scented laundry.
  • A few drops of essential oil applied on a cotton ball or two work well in your vacuum’s canister to cleanse the air and make your whole house smell fresh as you vacuum.
  • Try stashing a few of these cotton balls in drawers or closets to keep closed-off areas fresh.

tipsYou can even make your own essential-oil-and-baking-soda deodorizer to absorb odors as it also helps scent your home. Just combine 1/4 cup of baking soda with 40 drops of your favorite essential oil and mix well. Stir the mixture daily to release the oil’s scent. Use it up to 30 days, adding a few drops of essential oil if the aroma begins to fade.

comment_2Have you tried essential oils to scent your home or laundry? We’d love to hear about it! Just leave a comment below.

Resources:

Did you know that essential oils could be used to scent laundry?

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