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How to Scent your Home Naturally + Avoid Toxic Air Fresheners

How to Scent your Home Naturally + Avoid Toxic Air Fresheners

How to Scent your Home Naturally + Avoid Toxic Air Fresheners

After watching countless documentaries and reading books on creating a non-toxic lifestyle, I’ve known for a while the hidden consequences of fragrance and parfum… yet I’ve always been a big fan of the Bath and Body Works Wallflowers to scent my home. (I know, I’m a total hypocrite.)

I plead ignorance because I live in a house with two large dogs – and the last thing I wanted is my house to smell like dog. Unfortunately, with two furry friends it’s a rather unavoidable problem. All I was doing was masking their scent with a load of nasty chemicals. ☠

What prompted me to stop using plug-in air fresheners?

I’ve been on the fence about them for a while – I’m a worry wart and something I always worried about more than anything was the potential for the plug-ins to cause a fire (luckily, they never did!)

I loved the potency of them – the output of scent was enough to make it seem like our house wasn’t a furry mess. However, after moving into our new house I had one plugged into an outlet above the kitchen counter and within 1 foot of the bottom of our cupboards.

You know what happened?

The sheer proximity to the chemical composition of whatever the heck is in the wall flower caused the coating on a pencil to literally melt off onto a sheet of paper it was sitting on. And upon further inspection the wall flower “juice” was coating the bottom of the cupboard and causing the finish to melt off of that!

It just makes you wonder what you’re breathing in when it’s able to melt paint and finish off of nearby objects. The last thing I want is that chemical composition in my lungs.


The problem with fragrance…

Is that companies do not legally have to specify what’s in them. It could be two chemicals, it could be 500. Because fragrance is considered a proprietary blend they can hide any ingredient under that label and only choose to show the good ones (like essential oils.)

We’ve come a long way over the years to find out what’s bad for us and companies for the most part are getting better at avoiding anything toxic after regulations are set in place… but we’re not anywhere near where we need to be. As consumers we have the right to know everything that goes in our household and personal care products. We have the right to be informed. 

Yet, we don’t because companies pay off government regulation standards to suit their needs.

But that’s a whole ‘nother topic for a whole ‘nother day.

In the meantime, I still want my house to smell good… so what can we use?

Luckily there are more natural options for creating a nice fragrance in your home! Though they are not as strong as a commercial product like what Febreze, Glade, Air Wick and Bath & Body Works offers, they aren’t going to be filled with unknown nasties. ✔︎

How to Scent your home Naturally Using Essential Oils


Making your own Reed Diffuser

As soon as I noticed the situation from my wallflower, I made my boyfriend unplug them and ordered products off of Amazon to make my own natural reed diffusers (I don’t know why I waited so long to do this…) Reed diffusers are great because they lightly scent an area without the use of electricity (Hooray for no fire hazard!) They’re budget-friendly and they last for couple months at a time.

What you need

  • Small Glass Jars – with a thin neck because you don’t want the mixture to evaporate (These are the ones I purchased)
  • Reeds (These are the ones I purchased)
  • Carrier Oil – I used Sweet Almond Oil (avoid if you have a nut allergy though!)
  • Vodka – Nothing too fancy, just helps the oils travel up the reeds.
  • Essential Oils – whatever you want your home to smell like!

How to make them

Make sure your bottles are clean and reeds are new.

  1. 1/4 Cup of Carrier Oil
  2. 2 Tablespoons of Vodka
  3. 25-30 Drops of Essential Oils (depending on how strong you want the fragrance to be.)
  4. Blend together
  5. Place reeds in the bottle (about 5-10)
  6. Allow to soak for 10 minutes and then flip the reeds over

It may take a couple days for the mixture to work it’s way up the reeds, but once they do you should notice a nice light scent. Flip the reeds about once a week and stir the mixture to keep the scent going. Change the reeds about once a month.


Essential Oil Diffuser

Another option, if you find that you want to have your home scented right away is an essential oil diffuser. I have the DoTerra Petal Diffuser which works well but you can use pretty much any diffuser of your liking.

Basically you just add water and a few drops of the essential oil(s) of your liking and then turn it on for however length of time you want/ it can run for.

Essential Oil diffusers are really nice when you have company over and want to mask the scent of two stinky dogs a bit, but I definitely would not recommend leaving them running while you’re not home; there’s still a possibility of them posing as a fire hazard.

I just purchased another essential oil diffuser from Homesense for a good price – so now we have one in our bedroom and our living room. If you’re on the hunt for an essential oil diffuser for cheap, check out Homesense!

If you’re an avid user of artificial fragrances I definitely recommend (at the very least) looking into what may be in your air fresheners. There is a household database which has a few top brands and their listings of hazards with certain products.

In short, your house doesn’t have to smell bad even if you don’t want to breathe in the nasty chemicals associated with artificial air fragrances.

Do you scent your home, and what with?

psst! i also have a post on the benefits of aromatherapy.

*This post contains affiliate links. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own!

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  • Although I use a diffuser, I like the sound of the first method as well! The diffuser though is the quickest way. It’s a shame though that they don’t last long, but when you really think about it those plug ins don’t last that long either once you pull them out. I think don’t use the because they can get pretty costly however it’s good to know I’m doing better things for my health using essential oils instead heheh.


    • Yeah for sure! I love my essential oil diffuser and the fact that you can cater it to your mood. In some ways it’s nicer than having a wallflower with a scent that you’re stuck with for a couple months too…

  • I don´t scent my home (it is way too big), I only burn candles every once in a while. When we lived in a smaller appartement I had a reed diffuser, but I always forgot to fill it up once it was done.
    Oh, and I stopped burning candles and using anything completely when my daughter was born. No extras in the air as long as the kids were under the age of one.

    Linda, Libra, Loca: Beauty, Baby and Backpacking

    • I wouldn’t bother scenting my home if we didn’t have two smelly dogs (although I love my pets, I hate their stink!) Suppose I should have opted for hairless animals instead… Good idea to stop burning candles around your little ones to minimize both the fire hazard and even whatever chemicals are within the candle itself!

      • I am usually pretty careless with chemicals surrounding me, but when it comes to the kids I get (over)protective.

  • We burn candles every now and then but usually it’s unnecessary because we have no pets (yet!). I had no idea that you could actually make your own reed diffuser! Also, what are your thought on normal steam diffuser? I am tempted to get one.

    Shireen⎜Reflection of Sanity

  • I’ve used them before and they are great to keep everything fresh! Last term, when I lived in accommodation halls, I would use oil diffusers since we’re not allowed to burn anything or set fire. These were a great alternative!

    with love, Bash   |   HEY BASH

  • I usually burn candles but I’ve heard that certain candles can still be bad for you, so I try to stick to soy based ones that use essential oils. I also love the BBW wall flowers but that’s so scary that it melted the paint off your pencil, definitely avoiding those in the future! I do use essential oil reeds in the bathroom, but I’m a bit worried about using them in the main living area around my cats since certain oils can be bad for them. Do you know which oils are safe for pets?

    Jenny | Geeky Posh

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