Thursday, December 20, 2007

More on Detoxing the House:

Alas, air fresheners are on the doctors' list of things to avoid if you don't want to sneeze, wheeze, or otherwise pollute your airways. Apparently they contain certain gaseous chemicals, which are not the best for us to breathe.

Walk down any cleaning aisle of any grocery store, and you will certainly find an array of alluring air freshening products. I can't imagine that every single one of these many products would be harmful, but, given the docs' advice, it would be good to do your research before purchasing one.

I read in the real estate section of a our local paper some years ago that one reason air fresheners are so popular now is that people of today spend less time cleaning than our counterparts of fifty years or so ago. So, today's manufacturers oblige us by creating new ways to cover up smells that Grandma would have just cleaned away.

That's probably true. But, if you go back even further in time, people used natural fresheners -- flowers, potpourris, and such -- to cover up odors in dirty city environments. Those cities of yore would make even today's worst slob shudder. This was before personal and collective hygiene was properly understood and before items like soap were readily available to the masses.

Of course, potpourris and other natural scents have become popular again today. Next to cleaning, they're probably our best bet in the war against odors.

Also, with scented candles, air fresheners, potpourris, and the like, allergies can be a factor here. One woman's favorite scented product is another woman's trigger to sneeze.

Another item to avoid are those blue blocks of cleanser that you place and leave in the toilet. They, too, produce chemicals that aren't the best. It's better to clean keep toilets clean with some other cleanser and a little elbow grease than to rely on the blue stuff.

I love those new scented candles that have the wooden wicks. The wicks crackle as they burn , and if you listen closely, you will hear a faint sound like that of wood popping in a fireplace. In light of the doc's information, though, it's probably wise to check out the chemicals even in scented candles. Many candles use "natural" ingredients. But, some do seem to have a heavy odor and may give off irritants.

What's your favorite body-friendly, environment-friendly air freshener?



Mary said...

An open window, to quote Fit for Life. As you point out, a good cleaning takes care of many odors.

Mimi said...

I love to air out my house! The only problem is that I'm allergic to some pollens, so just when it's most delicious to have open windows, I sneeze more. But, there's nothing like a fresh breeze coming in to make a house feel and smell wonderful.