Room Sprays: So Fresh and So Clean Clean

“Consumers have a right to know what is put into their air fresheners and other everyday products they bring into their homes,” said Dr. Gina Solomon, NRDC senior scientist.

“There are too many products on the shelves that we assume are safe, but have never even been tested.”

The EWG evaluated Febreze in 2009 to determine its safety as a school cleaning supply. Results showed that the product (Hawaiian Aloha option) released 89 air contaminants, including one carcinogen. Yet the manufacturer discloses only three of those ingredients.

This was a particularly high number-the third highest released by any product tested. According to the label, the air freshener contains only an odor eliminator, water, fragrance, non-flammable natural propellant, and quality control ingredients.

Interestingly enough, the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) also tested 14 different air fresheners in 2007, including Febreze, and found they contained phthalates, which are hormone-disrupting chemicals and have been linked with childhood asthma. Again, none of the products disclosed these ingredients.

From the article "7 Reasons why you shouldn't use Febreeze- or other chemical air fresheners":

1. Febreze and other chemical air fresheners do not remove the odor molecules-they simply cover them up. The odor molecules are still there, you just can’t detect them anymore. So after spraying the product, you’re not only inhaling the odor molecules, but the air freshener chemicals as well.

2. Febreze contains chemicals linked to cancer.

3. Febreze contains chemicals linked to hormone disruption and developmental problems.

4. Febreze contains chemicals linked to neurotoxicity, which means the chemicals are poisonous to the nerves or nerve cells.

5. Febreze contains chemicals that irritate the skin, eyes, and lungs.

6. Febreze contains chemicals linked to allergies and asthma.

7. Febreze doesn’t disclose any of these potentially harmful ingredients, so if it weren’t for studies like these by the EWG and the NRDC, we would have no idea what we were sniffing.

Air Fresheners:

Common Dirty Ingredients

Acetaldehyde: on California’s Prop 65 list for cancer and reproductive toxicity.

Ethyl Acetate: a chemical toxic to the brain and nervous system.

BHT: linked with neurotoxicity, hormone disruption, allergies, and irritation to the skin, eyes, or lungs

Propylene glycol: linked with allergies and skin and eye irritation.

1,3-dichloro-2-propanol: also used in flame retardants, resins, plastics, and rubber; has been linked with cancer in animal studies, according to the California Environmental Protection Agency.


Want a safer alternative?

Know what's in your air fresheners. Create your own. Or you can also use Thieves Household Cleaner.

DIY Room Spray

2 oz bottle (I recommend this starter kit for all your DIY projects <<)

1 tsp Witch Hazel

20 drops of Essential Oil (drop count varies)

Top with water

Combo Suggestions:


6 drops Lavender

6 drops Geranium

3 drops Rosemary

3 drops Tea Tree


10 drops Grapefruit 8 drops Orange 6 drops Northern Lights Black Spruce or Idaho Blue Spruce 4 drops Geranium

Spa Day:

10 drops Lavender

10 drops Eucalyptus

Room Freshener:

12 drops Citrus Fresh

8 drops Thieves

Vanilla Pumkin:

1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

3 drops orange EO

2 drops clove EO

1 drop cinnamon EO