Air fresheners – synthetic or natural aromas?

by Alix Williams

“ Despite their name
    air fresheners do little to freshen the air ”

Despite their name, air fresheners do little to freshen the air. Indeed, air fresheners are made from neurotoxic solvents and synthetic fragrances that can cause headaches, mood swings, memory loss and chronic fatigue.

Common chemicals used in synthetic fragrances include petroleum distillates, formaldehyde, p-dichlorobenzene and aerosol propellants. Petroleum distillates have a wide range of immediate and long-term toxic effects on vital organs and health. Most synthetic air freshener fragrances contain benzene derivatives, such as p-dichlorobenzene, the vapour of which is irritating to skin, eyes and throat, and which has been shown to cause liver damage in animal studies. One of the most common chemicals found in air fresheners is formaldehyde, a known carcinogen. In addition, aerosol air fresheners can be harmful to lungs if inhaled in high concentrations or for prolonged periods of time, and solid air fresheners may be poisonous if eaten by children or pets.

But there is a natural alternative… essential oils are naturally occurring plant products with amazing aromas, which can be used safely throughout your house or in your car to freshen the air.

One of the simplest ways to introduce essential oils into your home is to spot drops of your chosen oil or oils around the house on a piece of absorbent material placed near or on radiators. Alternatively, for the evening, you could add one drop of your chosen essential oil to the melted wax around a candle flame, close to the wick. Bay, mandarin and pine are good choices for use with candles.

Room sprays are another simple solution. Simply add 8–9 drops of the essential oil(s) of your choice to 600 ml of water and spray throughout your home. Here is one recipe you could try:

  • 4 drops lavender
  • 2 drops lemon
  • 1 drop bergamot
  • 1 drop lime
  • 1 drop grapefruit

These methods can also be used in the car, but be careful to choose essential oils that promote mental alertness. These include basil, grapefruit, lemon, orange and eucalyptus (also useful if you have a cold!).

So, the choice is up to you: synthetic air fresheners, with their associated chemicals, or the natural aroma of essential oils. I know which I prefer to use in my house!


Please be aware that this article is about the inhalation of the aroma of eucalyptus essential oil. This essential oil (and most others) should not be used directly on the skin or internally. Essential oils should also be kept away from children, pets and the eyes. As the oils are very volatile and, therefore flammable, also keep them away from naked flames. Essential oils should never be used in place of medical treatment. If you are pregnant, epileptic, suffering from high blood pressure or already taking medication, consult your medical practitioner or a qualified aromatherapist.



For the best effects, it is advisable to buy pure Unique essential oils products containing synthetic ingredients will not provide the same degree of benefit.

Article written by Alix Williams

Alix Williams is a regular contributor to the holistic website, a home-based UK business that provides eco-friendly aromatherapy stress relieving gifts.

Important Disclaimer: This article is the opinion of the author. The articles provided above are for general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, legal, or other professional advice. (CUS Busting Ltd) does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in the above articles.

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Last updated: 03 January 2017

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