As seen in the June, 2017 issue of Sunshine Coast Living Magazine!
It was soon after my daughter was born that my journey to a cleaner, greener life began. I remember the day when I first became aware of the toxic slew of chemicals that I harbored in my home, and the day I made my very first DIY cleaner with just two simple ingredients – vinegar and water. That day started it all for me, actually – as soon as I made that first cleaner, I was hooked – hooked on DIY, hooked on detoxifying my home and living more sustainably, and hooked on sharing my discoveries with the world – Modern Hippie Health & Wellness was born!
A few practices that we adopted in our transition to living cleaner and greener were reducing our plastic consumption, eating less meat, ridding our home of chemical cleaning products, and replacing our synthetic “air-fresheners” with safer alternatives. I use the quotations quite literally, because in reality, freshening the air is the opposite of what your Febreeze is actually doing.
Artificial fragrances are harmful for your health and the environment, and unfortunately, they’re everywhere – from your candles to your cleaning products, and even in your personal hygiene products, like makeup, body lotion and soap. Once you start paying attention to labels, you’ll notice how often the words “fragrance” or “parfum” appear on common household products.
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) researchers found that more than 75 percent of products listing the ingredient “fragrance” contained phthalates, which have been shown to disrupt hormone activity, reduce sperm counts, and cause reproductive malformation, and have been linked to liver and breast cancer, diabetes, and obesity.
In addition to the health implications of artificial fragrances, there are negative environmental impacts, too. Research done by the David Suzuki Foundation discovered that several chemicals found in artificial fragrances are persistent in the environment and build up (bio-accumulate) in the fatty tissue of aquatic organisms and affect their reproductive system. According to another study at Stanford University, these chemicals also affect marine animals’ natural ability to eliminate toxins, thus compromising their defence system and letting in other chemicals that could be more harmful.
But perhaps what’s most disturbing is how artificial fragrances work. Many just mask undesirable scents, but others actually use chemicals that deaden nerves that affect our ability to smell, or coat our nasal passages with an oily film, thus interfering with our sense of smell.
Although it may seem overwhelming at first, and the task of replacing harmful household products expensive and daunting, there is good news – there are many safe and cost effective alternatives to commercial “air-fresheners.” Here are just a few…
9 Safe Ways to Freshen the Air in Your Home
- Invest in an ultra-sonic essential oil diffuser and use quality essential oils to bring safe scents into your home.
- In your car, try an aromatherapy diffuser that plugs into your cigarette lighter and burns your favorite essential oils!
- Simmer various fruits, herbs and spices in a pot of water on the stove. For a holiday scent, use a cinnamon stick and teaspoon ground. Use citrus peels and fresh rosemary for a more uplifting and refreshing scent.
- Fill your home with air-purifying plants! Certain houseplants, such as snake plants, peace lilies, bamboo palms, golden pothos’, and aloe vera, are exceptional at purifying and detoxifying the air in your home.
- For simple, safe and effective carpet deodorizer mix 1 cup baking soda with 20-30 drops of your favourite essential oils (I like 10 drops sweet orange, 10 drops lavender, 10 drops cedarwood) Sprinkle the mixture on your carpet, leave to sit for thirty minutes to an hour, then vacuum it up. You can also leave this mixture in an open jar in any room in your home to help absorb funky smells.
- Replace scented candles with beeswax candles. Beeswax candles have a lovely, mild, honey scent, and are safe to use.
- Try an air-purifier like this one which is said to capture 99.97% of dust, allergens, smoke, pet dander and pollen at .3 microns from the air that passes through the filter, as well as reduce common household odors and VOCs from the air that passes through its filter.
- Prevent funky odours from occurring in the first place by frequently taking out the trash, cleaning out the fridge, and spot-cleaning pet accidents and spills.
- Last but not least, make your own homemade air and fabric freshener!
Mix all ingredients together in a measuring cup and pour into a mister-bottle. Spray into the air and on to fabric to safely freshen up a room.