- Health Solutions
- Diet & Nutrition
- Skin Care
- Healthy Living
- Resource Center
You are hereHome › Fragrances that Stink
Fragrances that Stink
Fragrances that Stink
Whether the stink is from a burnt casserole, an old sponge or a dog with bathroom confusion, sometimes we just need to clear the air. Unfortunately, many of the products we use when the air is skunky can be pretty funky themselves—and they may also be harmful to our health.
Synthetic fragrances pervade our homes, appearing in everything from dish soap and laundry detergent to candles and air fresheners. “The problem is, they don't ‘freshen’ our air at all,” says Sara Snow, green living expert and author of Sara Snow’s Fresh Living (Bantam, 2009). “Instead they can make us feel quite sick—often without our being able to put a finger on the hidden culprit.”
Chemical fragrances are often identified on product labels as perfume, parfum or fragrance. These monikers can be used for hundreds of different chemicals, many of which have been identified as neurotoxins and allergens that can trigger responses such as asthma attacks, headaches, rashes or stuffy noses.
In addition, many synthetic fragrances contain phthalates, hormone disruptors that have been linked to development and fertility complications. In her book, Snow also points to studies that have shown babies are more likely to have diarrhea and moms are more likely to feel depressed in homes with air fresheners.
Get the stink out
Fortunately, the air freshener problem is an easy one to solve. First, eliminate products with synthetic fragrances or perfumes and choose naturally scented or unscented products whenever possible.
Next, think about specific odors you want to attack, and use the best tools to neutralize them. Certain smells, such as smoke, are acidic and can be removed with an alkaline product such as baking soda. Alkaline odors, including the scent of fish, eggs, or even cooked greens, need to be neutralized with something acidic such as lemon juice or vinegar.
Here are some additional natural ways you can infuse your home with fresh, good-for-you scents:
- Open windows if the weather allows. Fresh air alone may be enough to clear out unpleasant smells.
- Sprinkle carpets with baking soda or dried tea leaves to remove lingering odors, then vacuum it up.
- Bring in the greenery. Plants such as gerbera daisies, English ivy, bamboo palm and chrysanthemums will help to remove indoor air pollutants, and the flowering ones provide a nice scent.
- Combine botanicals (lemon slices; eucalyptus essential oil; or a combination of cloves, cinnamon, ginger and orange peel) in water and simmer for 10 minutes. Let the water sit and the scent waft into the air.
- Vinegar helps neutralize cooking odors, including odors from fish or eggs. Just let a small dish of vinegar sit on your countertop until the odor is gone.
Turning to nature is your best bet when trying to combat odors in your home. Fresh air, plants, herbs and essential oils not only freshen the air and your living space, but also offer numerous health and wellness benefits, making your home and your body happy at the same time.
Melissa is a writer and editor who focuses on health and wellness, as well as spa travel. She has served as the editor at Healing Lifestyles & Spas since 2001and has freelanced for such publications as Shape, Delicious Living and Cooking Light. She is also a yoga instructor and co-owns the Yoga Junction in Louisville, Colorado.
May 10th, 2012