You come home from work and the house smells funky. Hopefully you find the source of the offending odor, but even if you do, it might still be lingering. Why not light a scented candle? Why not spray a shot of air freshener? Why not use a plug-in room freshener? I thought you’d never ask. Let me tell you why.

Most air fresheners (sprays or not) that are sold at the drug store, grocery store, and even that cute little boutique, contain phthalates (thal-ates). Phthalates can wreak havoc with your hormones, especially testosterone (which we all need, although in varying levels). These lovely chemicals are known to cause reproductive problems and birth defects as well. I love a good smell as much as the next gal, but that is not a risk I am willing to take, especially with two growing children in the home.

Okay, so air fresheners are out. How about lighting a scented candle? The ingredients in the typical candle can also wreak havoc with your body. Most candles are made from petroleum-based paraffin wax. When paraffin is burned it can emit benzene and toluene, both of which are highly toxic and known carcinogens. Even if you buy a soy candle (make sure it is 100% soy, most are not), you still have some toxins emitted when it is burned because they have to be processed with paraffin. If all this wasn’t enough, you have fragrances to worry about as well. While some fragrances may smell amazing, most synthetic fragrances are also petroleum based and contain a whole battery of toxins that are linked to cancer, birth defects, allergies, and more.  (This likely goes for your favorite perfume and other beauty products as well. Sorry.)

What’s a girl to do? We have a house that is soon to turn 100 years old and no matter how clean it is (not that it is always sparkling clean, mind you), it sometimes smells musty. We also have a dog who can get a bit smelly in between baths. Since living with stinky is not an option, let me tell you what we do.


Non-Toxic alternatives to Air Fresheners, Sprays, and Scented Candles:

  • Beeswax candles: These do not emit toxins, and you can get them scented with essential oils so that you avoid the toxins in synthetic fragrances. There is a local (Seattle) company called Big Dipper Wax Works that has beeswax candles made with essential oil blends that smell heavenly. You can buy them on Amazon if you’re not local. They are long lasting and clean burning.
  • Essential oil diffusers: We love these! I have one in the living room, the kids’ room, and our bedroom. These are great for not only scenting a room, but also for using targeted health blends like Immune Boom or Germ Destroyer when there are sicknesses going around. Or you can use a blend like Worry-free with relaxing scents like Lavender, Ylang-ylang, Sandalwood, and Vanilla to create a calm environment.
  • Homemade oil diffusers: These are great for small areas like bathrooms and are super simple to make. See below for instructions.
  • Homemade Room/Linen spray: Homemade room spray/linen spray is a non-toxic way to make your house, car and linens smell lovely. It is another super simple project. You just need two ingredients and a glass bottle to store it in. See below for instructions.


How make your own room spray (or linen spray):

  • Distilled water
  • Essential oil(s): I like combinations like Lavender and Geranium, but you could use a synergy blend such as Relax Synergy, Worry-Free, or a any combination of your choosing.
  • Glass spray bottle (It is important not to store essential oils in plastic as they break down the plastic and get plastic particles in your products.)

I use 4 ounce spray bottles for this. I first add 1/2 teaspoon (50 drops) of essential oils and then fill it up the rest of the way with distilled water. Give a little shake, and spray!


Homemade Oil Diffusers

Combine 70% carrier oil with 30% essential oil(s). Example: 7 teaspoons of carrier oil with 3 teaspoons of essential oils. Put reeds in, allow them to soak up the oil for a few hours and then flip them. Repeat this a few times for the first week or so. After that, flip them any time you want to refresh the scent.


Have you ever made homemade room spray? Oil diffusers? Are you going to try it out?