The Dangers Of Air Fresheners

We’ve had a few questions regarding keeping the air clean in babies room, using a commercial air freshener is not recommended, airing out the room on a daily basis is the best option. I wouldn’t use an air freshener is any room of the house, let alone the nursery. This is an exert out of Wendyl’s book Mother’s Little Helper, that discusses the dangers.

“I find it incredible at there are commercial air fresheners marketed for the baby’s room. No loving, caring parent would consciously place a bottle full of chemicals right next to where their baby sleeps, yet that is exactly what they are doing when they place one of these in the nursery .

Babies have a respiratory volume twice as large as an adult’s if compared weight by weight, so it’s important that your child breathes the purest air possible. The problem with air fresheners that you spray around your home liberally, plug into a wall socket, set up to spray regularly or simply put in the room in the form of a liquid with reed diffusers – which look like incense sticks delivery the odour – is that they contain phthalates.

Phthalates can cause hormonal abnormalities birth defects and reproductive problems and are classified as a hormone disruptor, which is especially problematic for pregnant women and babies. Anything with the word “fragrance” listed on its label is likely to have phthalates, and in America 14 brands of commercially available air fresheners were tested in 2007 by the Natural Resources Defence Council and of those, 12 contained phthalates, which weren’t listed oh the ingredients panel. Some of these were also labelled “all natural” and “unscented”. The study advises that air fresheners should be kept well away from children and pregnant women.

The thought of Nana wandering from room to room spraying air freshener is ridiculous. It has only been since the 1950’s that we have become obsesses with having everything smell like flowers or spices. Before that we simply opened the doors and aired out our houses and bedrooms regularly.

“Sleep with the windows open,” instructs one book. “Night air is not only not harmful, but absolutely healthful. See to it also that you work under conditions of fresh air; it will prove a tonic. Bad air depresses all of the organs of the body. Houses, working places, offices, hotels, trains, are abominably ventilated. Keep on the lookout or you will be constantly poisoned. Tenting out in the summer time or sleeping on a screened porch or roof will prove to the tired worker who is run down a wonderful restorer. Make friends with fresh air” 

Another book gives advice for the daily airing of the bedroom:

“Emanations from the body are absorbed by the sheets and through this contaminate the other bedding. Open the bed first thing in the morning, remove the covers and expose the mattress and the sheets separately to the air. If the weather is clear, open the windows. The ideal way from a sanitary point of view, is to leave the bed stripped all day and spread it up just before retiring.”

Instead of trying to scent the air locked inside your house, try to get into the habit of airing out baby’s room every morning with windows and doors open, bedding hung loosely to air. preferable over the windowsill to get a bit of sunshine. And  don’t shut your baby away into a stuffy bedroom, always make sure that there is a gentle flow of air into your baby’s room from some source.

And if you must have some sort of air freshener for your house try these more natural options but never use them in baby’s bedroom.

Oil Burner

These do need to be watched but they are very effective and get a room smelling nice very quickly. In a house with children avoid strong essential oils and go for oils like lavender, chamomile and rose.

Oil Diffuser

You can get electric diffusers which will dothe same job as the candle and oil burner. Or you can make your own reed diffuser, here’s our recipe.

Baking Soda

If you are having problems with a certain odour put a bowl of Wendyl’s Premium Baking Soda near the problem. It will help to absorb the odour.

Natural Air Freshener Spray

Make up an air fresher spray yourself, you’ll know exactly whats in it. Put one in the toilet too. Here’s our recipe for Bergamot and Lavender air freshener.

Photo by Janko Ferlič and Hans Vivek for the photos

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