Around the House

Our homes contain a cocktail of toxins from the very products that are supposed to make our homes more clean and pleasant. How ironic is that?

One of the worst offenders are:

Air Fresheners

Please please don’t use these products people.

You don’t need them and they are bad for you. Very bad! They don’t even get rid of bad smells, they just mask them and the strong smelling air freshener desensitizes your nostrils so you can only smell the perfume in the product.

They contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs), consisting of formaldehyde, petroleum distillates, phthalates, esters and alcohols. Also benzene, styrene, toluene and terpenes, such as limonene which become dangerous when mixed with ozone.

Commercially produced air fresheners contain:


A known carcinogen which also causes respiratory problems and allergic sensitivity.


A group of chemicals that are used to dissolve and carry fragrances. Prolonged exposure to them can cause cancer and birth defects in foetuses.

Petroleum distillates

These are hydrocarbon solvents produced from crude oil and can irritate the throat, lungs and nasal passageways and trigger respiratory problems.  Can also affect the nervous system causing headache, blurred vision, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, confusion, and loss of balance and coordination. They are also toxic to cats and dogs.


Formed by condensing acid with alcohol, used to fragrance the product. The strong smell can trigger asthma and other breathing problems.


This is a highly toxic compound that has been linked to cancer. It is a skin and eye irritant. If inhaled it can irritate the nose and throat and cause headache, dizziness, nausea, drowsiness and confusion.


Affects the central nervous system and can cause headache, dizziness, confusion, fatigue, drowsiness and difficulty in concentrating.


Another skin and eye irritant. If inhaled it can also irritate the nose and throat and cause headache, dizziness, nausea, drowsiness and confusion.


Open a window. Keep your home well ventilated. To get rid of bad smells set down a dish of bicarbonate of soda. This costs pennies, won’t hurt you and will absorb odours. Put a couple of drops of essential oil of your choice into a little water in an incense burner – even just letting it sit there unlit will make the room smell nice.

Light a candle – not one made from petroleum based wax that has been artificially fragranced – these are not much better than commercially produced air fresheners – light a beeswax candle. These are wonderful and will emit negative ions eradicating dust, bad smells and mould. They are environmentally friendly, natural and don’t produce soot. They are also restful to watch. Seek out local beeswax candle makers. Support your local businesses. Support your local bees.