I love the feeling of a clean house. One that smells clean as well as looks clean. I’ve always loved candles and air fresheners, and I still do, but I’ve come to learn a lot about synthetic fragrances and how bad they are for you. I also don’t like the idea of just ‘masking’ odours. I like better the idea of getting rid of them at their source!
So given our supermarkets and even beautiful, upmarket homeware stores are pushing synthetically fragranced products, what are the alternatives? Well, here is how I freshen up the air in my home, naturally!
Why Are Synthetic Fragrances Bad For You?
A ‘fragrance’ is a chemical-cocktail that can include at least 3,000 different ingredients, all of which are not required to be declared by manufacturers under the guise of protecting their ‘trade secrets’.
Many (about 95%) of these chemicals are derived from petroleum and can include benzene derivatives, aldehydes, toluene as well as other toxic chemicals that are either known carcinogens or in some way linked to allergic reactions, central nervous system disorders, birth defects and cancers. Others are known endocrine disruptors which muck with our hormones potentially leading to a variety of adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological, and immune effects.
What Are Synthetic Fragrances In?
Literally, everything. They can be found in a frightening amount of common household products from shampoos and lotions, to laundry detergents and cleaning products, to air fresheners and candles. It is very likely that you have many products in your house containing synthetic fragrances unless you are already aware and are actively avoiding them.
What Are The Alternatives?
I would encourage you to seek natural alternatives for everything that contains synthetic fragrances, and luckily it is relatively easy to find suitable substitutes for most things (your local health food store is a great place to start), however today I want to focus specifically on how we can create a beautiful, fresh smelling home without using anything nasty. Here are the 5 things I use in my home to improve the air quality and make my home smell amazing as well…
1) Himalayan Salt Lamps
I can imagine you all scratching your heads right now… Salt lamps don’t smell, right? True, but they do improve the air quality! Himalayan Salt Lamps are naturally hygroscopic, which means they attract water molecules in the air. Since water in the air can also hold allergens, pollutants and even mould and bacteria, these substances get attracted to the lamp too. The heated salt lamp dries out the water vapour, leaving the particles attached to the salt. Clever huh?
Salt Lamps also produce Negative Ions which are statically attracted to airborne particles like dust, mould and other pollutants and allergens and therefore help cleanse the air.
If you are interested in learning more about Himalayan Salt Lamps, I wrote about these in more detail previously. Apart from all the positive benefits of Salt Lamps, they are a beautiful addition to your home – I recommend this one.
2) Bamboo Charcoal Bags
I love charcoal and use it for many different purposes. Our water filter contains a charcoal layer for extracting toxins from the water and amazingly it can be used in a similar way to remove toxins from the air! Bamboo charcoal air purifying bags have the ability to absorb odours by helping to remove bacteria, harmful pollutants and allergens from the air. They also absorb moisture so they also help prevent mould and mildew.
I love these bags by Moso. They can be reused for two years and afterwards you cut them open and fertilise your soil with the contents. They just keep on giving!
3) Essential Oil Ultrasonic Diffuser
I absolutely love my diffuser and use it without fail everyday. I love how I can mix up the oils depending on how I feel and how the smell can effect my mood and help me through the day!
There is a reason for this which I went into detail in last week’s blog, but basically essential oils can have an actual effect on our limbic system which are the nerves in our brains that support a variety of functions including emotion, hunger, behaviour, motivation, sleep, long-term memory, and more.
It’s obviously really important to make sure of the quality of your oils that you are diffusing. Some brands contain synthetic fillers and additives which you want to avoid at all costs! I use a mixture of DoTerra oils and Lively Living oils in my diffuser and mix them up depending on how I feel.
I also use an Ultrasonic Diffuser as opposed to an oil burner or other type of diffuser as they preserve the therapeutic benefits of the oil as well as creating Negative Ions which can help remove dust, germs and bacteria from the air.
4) Air Fresheners
Wait, what?? Didn’t I just say that air fresheners were made with synthetic fragrances and should be avoided at all costs? Well, thankfully, not all of them are bad.
I particularly love Probiotic Solutions Room Refresh which is fragranced with pure essential oils but more importantly is armed with over 15 different strains of good bacteria that are purposely bred to feed on odour causing compounds. They get rid of odours from the source and discourage the stink-making bacteria from returning.
You can also made your own natural air freshener in a spray bottle using a vodka and water base (about 2 teaspoons of vodka per spray bottle) and about 50 drops of your favourite essential oils (you can make your own mix of oils, or use a pre-made oil blend). Just combine everything together in your spray bottle and shake. The smell won’t last as long as synthetic air fresheners, but it’s natural and you can benefit from the therapeutic benefits of the essential oils you use also.
Another tip is to use either of these sprays on your linen and upholstery to freshen them up – just make sure you do a patch test first.
It’s a sad fact that many of today’s candles are cheaply made with toxic ingredients including harmful synthetic fragrances, colours, stabilisers and additives – you can read more about that here.
Luckily, there’s no reason to completely despair as there are companies who are conscious of the ingredients that go into their candles in these cases, burning a candle is an absolutely sure fire way to give your home a beautiful, relaxing ambience and a luscious scent.
My favourite candles are the Aromatherapy range by Australian company, Conscious Candle Co. Their candles are made using 100% natural, purest quality, food-grade, certified non-genetically modified soy wax, derived from renewable resources and are fragranced with pure essential oil. Their fragrance combinations are pretty amazing as well!
So there you have my top 5 tips for fresher, cleaner, purer air in your home. Drop me an email and share your favourite natural air freshening tips – I’d love to hear from you!
Dangers of Synthetic Scents Include Cancer, Asthma, Kidney Damage and More
- Lively Living Aroma Diffusers
- What is a Moso Bag
- Natural Homemade Air Freshener Recipes