Essential oils have antibacterial, antifungal and medicinal properties. They are heavily utilised in Ayurvedic treatments, aromatherapy and in alternative medicine for their wondrous benefits. Good quality essential oils are harvested to be hundred percent pure and concentrated in nature. That means that they have unadulterated, potent and naturally-extracted aromas. This makes them the perfect mode for freshening the indoor atmosphere. They do not have any adulterated chemicals or toxins which are otherwise present in the industrious air fresheners and purifiers. Essential oils have scents which have positive psychological effects on the human brain. They trigger memories, relief stress and anxiety, and have a calming and soothing effect on the mind.
What Toxins Are Found in Chemical Air Fresheners?
The following are some toxins and chemicals used in manufacturing synthetic air fresheners and air purifiers:
1. 1,4-dichlorobenzene (1,4-DCB)
1,4-dichlorobenzene (1,4-DCB) is a synthetic found in deodorants, urinal and toilet bowls, pesticides and mothballs. It is insoluble in water. When it is heated, the solid decomposes and releases toxic gases which are dangerous for the functioning of kidneys, livers, heart and blood circulation. It has a really strong odor. Inhaling the chemical causes sore throat, red eyes and skin irritation. Many studies have shown that 1,4-dichlorobenzene (1,4-DCB) may cause kidney tumors, reproductive disorders and negative carcinogenic effects. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has classified 1,4-dichlorobenzene (1,4-DCB) in Group C for being a possible human carcinogen.
Phthalates are used for softening and flexing chemical compounds used in plastics and vinyl. They are used in cosmetics, personal items, plastics, detergents, plastic wrappers and packages. It is usually comes in contact with humans through swallowing, breathing and touching. Several studies have shown that Phthalates has severe harmful effects on human health. It is known to cause damage to blood cells, develop cancer cells and mental disabilities. It is detrimental for brain and neuro-development in the early stages of a child’s life. It affects the growth of fetus through the reproductive process, lowers fertility in males and causes autism among children.
PEG-40 is used as an emulsifier, surfactant and fragrant ingredient in cosmetics and beauty products. It looks like a thick viscous liquid and is a derivative of castor oil. It is known to cause bronchial problems such as asthma, sore throat, shortage of breath and respiratory issues. The toxins present in it can expose the human body to reproductive issues, DNA damages and cancer. The impurities in PEG-40 has been found to increase the chances of uterine cancer, breast cancer, leukemia and brain cancer. It increases exposure to lead, iron and arsenic. It should not come in contact with broken, irritated or burned skin as a study conducted in the past has shown that it can have severe side effects on kidneys.
Which Essential Oils Prove Effective in Cleaning Air at Home?
The following essential oils are regularly used in aromatherapy, alternative medicine, killing bacteria and in perfumes for stabilising moods, treating stress induced anxiety and refreshing the surroundings. They have calming and soothing aromas which relax the mind and create a energising space for the inhabitants of the house.
1. Peppermint Essential Oil
Peppermint essential oil has antiseptic and antibacterial properties which are primarily used for treating swollen and tired muscles. The oil also has compounds which disinfect the surroundings and remove dirt, grime and bacteria. It has a cooling and refreshing aroma which energizes the mood of the inhabitants and boots metabolism. It supports the respiratory process by providing clean and fresh air for the lungs.
2. Lime Essential Oil
Lime essential oil is the counterpart of lemon essential oil. It radiates similar scent and helps in killing germs from the surroundings. It has antibacterial and antimicrobial components which combat infections and viral bacteria. It has a citrusy fragrance which leaves the indoors smelling fresh and clean.
3. Chamomile Essential Oil
Chamomile essential oil has anti-inflammatory properties which keep skin related infections at bay. It helps in reducing and killing the bacteria that causes skin irritation and inflammation. It also has a soothing and sedative effect on the mind. Hence, it is also popularly consumed in the form of tea.
4. Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender essential oil is highly utilized for its soothing properties. It has a beautiful fragrance which relieves stress, anxiety, depression and keeps the blood pressure under control. It helps in regulating a healthy sleeping pattern in insomnia patients. When combined with other essential oils, lavender leaves the house smelling wonderful and clean. At the same time, it reduces the bacteria and toxic gases emissions rising from other products utilised inside the house. The fragrance of lavender is long-lasting and will highly impress the incoming guests.
5. Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Eucalyptus essential oil has potent anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties which clean and purify the air. It combats bacteria and contaminants which cause airborne diseases. It also helps in keeping asthma and respiratory related issues away. Eucalyptus destroys the impurities present in the air and leaves it smelling fresh.
6. Cinnamon Leaf Essential Oil
Cinnamon Leaf essential oil has a warm and spicy scent which makes the surrounding smell cozy and comforting. It is best utilised in the winters when it is freezing cold outside. It keeps winter-related illnesses like cold, fever and sinuses away. The fragrance of cinnamon leaf is a treat for the nose.
7. Basil Essential Oil
Basil essential oil is popularly used by the medical community to combat bacteria that induces immune deficiencies. It is used to battle E. coli, Listeria and other foodborne diseases. It has a refreshing and cooling scent which smells like clean laundry. The aroma also helps in eliminating strong and contaminated smells.
8. Tea Tree Essential Oil
Tea tree essential oil has been the perfect remedy for swollen skin, pimples, rashes and scars for many years. It has antimicrobial and antiseptic components which combat bacteria present in the vicinity. It removes airborne skin bacteria and filters out toxic gases from the indoors.
9. Lemon Essential Oil
Lemon essential oil has a sweet and refreshing scent. It has antibacterial components which clean and purify the air. The citrusy goodness present in the oil leaves the indoors smelling fresh and clean. The components of the oil kill bacteria, impurities and toxic gases. It combats the airborne germs that cause viral infections and immune deficiencies. It has high levels of limonene and is antimicrobial.
10. Red Mandarin Essential Oil
Red Mandarin essential oil has citrusy and fruity smell which instantly refreshes the insides of the house. It has a calming and relaxing effect on the mind. It reduces anxiety, combats depression and helps in dealing with stress. It is antibacterial like other citrus essential oils. Hence, it helps in killing bacteria and purifying the air.
Air Fresheners DIY Hacks Using Essential Oils
There are so many blends and combinations of essential oils that can help in purifying the air inside the house. It can be done in a natural, cost-free and effective way without splurging and going over-the-top. Below are few hacks that can be applied in creating a refreshing environment inside the house:
1. Natural Air Freshener Spray
It is super easy to create your own air freshener at home with minimum natural ingredients and organically produced essential oils. All you need is distilled water, your favourite essential oils and any empty spray bottle. Combine 5-6 drops of your selected essential oils with one cup of water in the spray container. Spray it in the corner of the rooms and let the fragrance spread across the house. It is simple and less expensive than costly air fresheners and purifiers.
2. Chemical-Free Disinfectant Cleaner
Another cost free solution to killing bacteria and combating contaminated toxins inside the house is by creating a natural and chemical-free disinfectant. Simply combine 5 tablespoons of vinegar, 7-8 drops of your favourite essential oils (include a citrus oil like lemon or lime for the fresh smell) and three cups of water. Add it to a spray or narrow bottle and use it as a disinfectant. You can clean the floors, doors, windows and tabletops with the cleanser.
3. Homemade Diffuser
Instead of buying an electric diffuser, you can build a homemade one in your freetime. All you need is a narrow glass container, reeds, a carrier oil with no scent and your favourite essential oils. Combine 10 drops of the essential oils with half a cup of safflower or sweet almond oil in the narrow glass bottle then add the reeds. Let the solution sit for a while. The homemade diffuser is ready! It will keep your house smelling refreshing for a long time and purify the air at the same time.
4. Vacuum Cleanser
Another simple way of purifying the indoors is by soaking cotton balls with your favourite essential oils and sticking them inside the vacuum canister. This way the scents of the essential oils will diffuse across the house and combat the bacteria and toxic gases. The smells of the essential oils will penetrate deep into the carpets, floorings and corners of the house.
5. Stovetop Air Diffuser
Another homemade trick for diffusing essential oils in the air is by boiling a few drops of your favourite essential oils on top of the stovetop with water. The oils will evaporate in the air and help in combating the toxins present inside the house. You can add more water and few more drops of oil as the water in the pot keeps on evaporating in the air.
Essential Oil Recipe to Freshen Air at Home
- 7 drops of lavender essential oil (for flowery fragrance and soothing effect)
- 5 drops of lemon essential oil (for refreshing scent and combating bacteria)
- 5 drops of peppermint essential oil (for cooling effect and purification)
- 2 cups of distilled water
- 1 tablespoon of baking soda
Combine all the essential oils, baking soda and 1 cup of water in a bowl. Transfer the mixture to the spray bottle. Fill the remaining space with another cup of water. Spray the air freshener across the house and enjoy the beautiful fragrance!
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