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?
Scents 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
Many 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
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
- Movement Blog: Is Your Candle Making You Sick? 5 Things to Know
- Movement Blog: 4 Things You Should Avoid Bringing Into Your Home
- Care2: Exposed: The Shocking Truth About Air Fresheners
- NRDC: Cleaning the Air — Hidden Hazards of Air Fresheners [PDF Download]
- Scientific American: “Greener” Laundry by the Load: Fabric Softener versus Dryer Sheets
- Organic Authority: 3 Ways to Scent Your Home without Incense
- Movement Blog: 20 Tips for Creating Safer Havens