Freshen Indoor Air Naturally
December 27, 2012
Air fresheners almost never “freshen” the air. Most of them just mask odors, either with synthetic fragrance or by interfering with your ability to smell by coating your nasal passages with a nerve-deadening agent.
What’s in them? Known toxic chemicals like formaldehyde, petroleum distillates, p- dichlorobenzene, and artificial fragrances (which contain their own mix of toxic chemicals). These chemicals are linked to everything from headaches and asthma attacks to cancer or hormone disruption in kids. But have no fear, you can make your home smell amazingly and also improve indoor air quality for your kids by avoiding toxic air fresheners.
Use these easy steps to freshen indoor air naturally:
- Freshen rooms with cut flowers and potted plants. Dr. Bill Wolverton conducted studies for NASA showing that some house plants can clear carbon dioxide and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from indoor air. For example, of the fifty indoor plants tested, the Boston fern was the most effective at removing formaldehyde and the peace lily worked best on acetone. Three types of palms— areca, lady and bamboo — received the highest overall ratings, which included ease of growth and maintenance, resistance to insects, and ability to remove chemical vapors.
- Kill odor with naturally deodorizing and disinfecting white vinegar. Use a solution of 1 part vinegar to 4 parts water to clean up accidents and eliminate smells from pets or small children. Dilute with water for mopping floors and surfaces. It’s a good idea to test the surface first to make sure the vinegar will not damage it. A simple recipe of 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon lemon juice and 2 cups hot water in a spray bottle also works well.
- Baking soda absorbs odors. Most of us have an open a box of baking soda in the refrigerator to keep food smells at a minimum. Baking soda can also freshen musty carpets: Just sprinkle baking soda on the carpet, let sit for a while, then vacuum. You can also fill small bowls with baking soda and place them in areas where smells accumulate — closets, bathrooms, etc. Be sure to put the bowl on a high shelf, so kids don’t get into it.
- Use herbs to freshen your home. Lavender sachets not only release a fresh fragrance in closets and dresser drawers, but they also ward off moths. In the kitchen, boil a mixture of your favorite herbs or spices for a wonderful aroma.