Take a deep breath…what do you smell? Something fruity, maybe floral or an Ocean Breeze scent? Air fresheners are really common and they are so common that they have become a billion dollar industry.
I remember buying all sorts of scented candles, gels and even those air fresheners you spray because I loved the smell. They are so effective I used to keep a spray bottle in my bathroom and use candles and gels to scent every room in my home.
It didn’t even occurred to me that these products could have ingredients that you shouldn’t be smelling because they could cause health issues…
But turns out all these lovely smelling products are filled with toxic chemicals like formaldehyde, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), petroleum products, and phthalates.
According to this post from Healthy Holistic Living:
VOCs cause the following laundry list of symptoms: eye, nose, and throat irritation; headaches; loss of coordination; nausea; liver, kidney, and central nervous system damage; allergic skin reactions; dyspnea, or shortness of breath; declines in serum cholinesterase levels; emesis, or vomiting; epistaxis, or nosebleeds; fatigue, visual disorders, and memory impairment.
Phthalates are also used in scented products. They prolong the length of time the scented products maintains its fragrance. Phthalates are dangerous since they interfere with your hormonal system and can cause endocrine, reproductive, and developmental problems.
According to the Guardian, “Researchers have linked phthalates to asthma, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, breast cancer, obesity and type II diabetes, low IQ, neurodevelopmental issues, behavioral issues, autism spectrum disorders, altered reproductive development and male fertility issues.”
Using air fresheners is more dangerous if you’re pregnant or have kids. “In 2013, after a study of more than 2,000 pregnant women, the International Journal of Public Health reported that women who used air fresheners in their homes were significantly more likely to have babies that suffered from wheezing and lung infections.” (Source)
Manufacturers of these products claim that they’re completely safe but they don’t list all the ingredients that they use in the products. Most of them haven’t even done studies on these products so their claims are not based on science.
In September of 2007, the Natural Resources Defense Council found that 12 of 14 brands of common household air fresheners contained phthalates. Some of the brands that tested positive for phthalates did not include phthalates on their lists of ingredients, of course, and some of these brands were even labeled as being “all-natural”.
So, why use something that might cause health issues when we can use an air freshener that’s non-toxic instead?
Making your own DIY Scented Gels is so easy and it only takes a few minutes! Plus you know EXACTLY what’s in them and since they’re scented using essential oils you know your family is not being exposed to toxic chemicals.
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What I love about these is that you can make them for every room in your home and it will only cost you a few cents! I now even keep a scented gel inside my refrigerator because I love opening the door and smelling an uplifting scent.
If you don’t want to make scented gels, the only brand I can recommend right now is Fresh Wave. They have an entire line of scented products that are safe and non-toxic; gels is one of them. The only downside is that they come only in one smell.
If you’re just looking for a product to remove odors, check out these Odor Removing Granules from EnviroKlenz. This product works by removing the smell and not by covering it with another scent. It’s unscented and non-toxic and one of my favorites to clean up stinky messes!
How To Make Scented Gel Air Fresheners
- 1 oz unflavored gelatin (I have also used this Great Lakes one)
- 1 tablespoon of salt
- 2 cups of water
- 1 – 2 teaspoons of Essential oils (see scent ideas at the end of this post)
- Glass jars (or these)
- Optional: Natural Food Coloring
- Optional: decorations like fake flowers or sea shells
Bring one cup of water to a boil in a small saucepan.
While you’re waiting for the water to boil, prepare each container. If you’re using food coloring, add 1-2 drops and add the essential oils. Set aside.
Once the water is boiling, pour the gelatin powder in the pot and mix well until all the gelatin is dissolved. Then add the salt and the second cup of cold water. Now you can turn off your stove top.
Make sure all the ingredients are mixed well. Pour the hot liquid gelatin over the essential oil and food coloring in each jar. Stir the mixture in each jar so the food coloring (if you’re using it) and the essential oils mix well with the gelatin.
Set aside and wait for it to harden. Once it’s harden you can leave it as is or use a spoon to break it up in smaller pieces – this will make your scented gels smell even stronger. If you notice a top layer of essential oil once the gel has hardened, then it’s best to break it up in small pieces so the essential oils get mixed in with the gel.
If you have small kids, I recommend you make these in mason jars with lids so you can make holes to the lids. This way you can put them anywhere around your home and you don’t have to worry about your kids eating the scented gels. You can also use a hot glue gun to glue the lid onto the glass jar.
If you have older kids at home, you can use containers without lids. Use sea shells or fake flowers to decorate the gel, like this:
If you’re adding these decorative features you have to do it while the mixture is still liquid. Another way to decorate it is using dried lavender flowers, but I recommend you use these only when making a lavender scented gel air freshener.
That’s it! Now you have your own homemade scented gel air fresheners that are safe and non-toxic.
Essential oils combinations:
To make the gel air fresheners is best to use 1 – 2 teaspoons of essential oils. You can use more if you want the scent to be stronger so experiment until you find the right strength for you.
You can use individual oils or make your own combinations. I’ll share with your my favorite ones.
Single essential oils that are great for scented gels:
- Pine Needle
- Germ Destroyer (I make this when the kids are sick and keep it out only while they’re sick)
Essential oil combinations ideal for scented gels:
NOW Essential oils has some really nice smelling essential oil blends, so try those out first and see how you like them.
Did you make a different scent? Leave in the comments for others to try it out!
As you can see making your own scented air fresheners gels is so easy! Plus it’s a great way to save money and keep your family away from toxic chemicals.
If you make these DIY scented air fresheners I’d love to see it! Tag me on instagram (@mamainstincts)!