How to Remove Scented Air Fresheners & Fragranced Plugins Smell

air freshener smell


Our homes can generate a lot of unpleasant odors. As modern architecture becomes more advanced, homes have less ventilation than before as they become more enclosed, and unwanted smells are trapped inside. There are many products out there that claim to help get rid of those smells. In fact, there are whole aisles dedicated to these types of products in many stores.

These products come in all sorts of varieties. Products from sprays, candles, gels, and plugins all come in different forms, but claim to do the same thing—make your home smell better. Regardless of the form, air freshener products can be either solid or passive—solids emit fragrance consistently until the chemicals run out, and passives emit fragrance in a multi-phasing effect. They work via a few different mechanisms. Some control odors via adsorption, or consuming the unwanted odor. Oxidation controls smell by oxidizing organic substances causing the smell. Air sanitizing agents can kill the bacteria present when emitted into the air. Any of these methods usually just mask the odors present instead of getting rid of them.

You have probably seen products like gel plugins, spray air fresheners, oil based scented candles, and more either in your own home, in the store, or in offices. These can all work using a combination of the methods used above and can be continuously acting, as with a candle, or instant acting, like an air freshener spray.

The dangers of exposure to scented air fresheners and plugins

Sometimes, these air fresheners may work too (at least temporarily) cover up the odors in your home, and may even make your home smell good, but many pose a danger to your health. From minor annoyances like itchy eyes or mild symptoms for those with chemical sensitivities to bigger issues like cancer, the chemicals used in air fresheners can definitely leave you with worse problems than some unpleasant smells.

Research is still in the preliminary stages, but many studies have already shown a lot of evidence that the fragrances in the oil, gel, or other air freshener products can exacerbate existing conditions and put us at risk for new ones. If you are an asthma sufferer or have an autoimmune disease, these chemicals alter your bodily responses and can put your immune system into unnecessary overdrive. If you are an allergy sufferer or have chemical sensitivities, the substances found in these products can cause classic allergy symptoms like a headache, itchy eyes, scratchy throat, or even hives if handled. Some chemicals in scented plugins have been found to potentially contribute to cancer if consumers are exposed to them on a regular basis. Less serious but certainly unpleasant is the nausea, some of these products can cause because of their artificial scents.

What toxins are found in air fresheners?

So, what exactly causes these dangers posed by air freshener products? The answer is a whole host of man-made chemicals used in their production. Paraffin candles and gels can emit alkanes, alkenes, toluene, and other substances known to be toxic to humans.  Air freshener sprays often contain phthalates, a chemical also found in many plastics that are known to cause certain birth defects and other hormonal problems.

As far as carcinogens, there is plenty to be found in many of these products. Dichlorobenzene is one that is becoming ever increasingly present in consumer products, although it has known carcinogen properties. This chemical is especially linked to lung cancer. Dichlorobenzene is used in the majority of air fresheners out there. It works by temporarily desensitizing odor receptors in our nose, and temporarily lessening our ability to smell. It’s the same main ingredient in the now-banned DDT pesticide.

Other ingredients of air fresheners and plug-ins can act as irritants. Many fragrances are made from petroleum, which contains dangerous chemicals like benzene and even formaldehyde. Many of these substances are stored in fat once our body receives them through inhalation and then into the bloodstream. If our body were to burn fat it would release these toxins in high quantities, which is why some of these chemicals are even connected with difficulties losing weight—our bodies know the danger of letting go of that toxic fat tissue and resist it.

Why is it so difficult to remove scented fragrance odors?

Ever notice that once you use plugins, candles, or other air fresheners, it is difficult to get the smell out? Whether trying to get rid of the smell from your home environment, or you detect it on an already-washed garment, many of these fragrances are not easily gotten rid of by ventilation or a laundry cycle. The reasons why are alarming.

Many of these fragrances are oil-based, and many contain silicones. If these come into contact with clothing, even indirectly by being present in a room where they were used, every single fiber of the clothes become coated with the chemical. It becomes almost permanently bonded to the garment.

Trying to remove these scents from your home can be equally frustrating. You may have tried ventilation, fans, or even other air freshening products on top of ones you’re already using in an attempt to get rid of that pumpkin spice or sea breeze smell. Many of these products are meant to be “long-lasting,” and continuously emit more fragrance. Even if the plugin or spray is discontinued completely, it can still take a long time to get rid of the scent because of its oil-based composition.

How to effectively remove fragrances from your home

Getting fragrances out of your home and clothing can be a daunting task, especially if you’ve already tried some solutions to no avail. Depending on the severity and persistence of the fragrance, there are a variety of approaches you can take to effectively eliminate the unwanted odor and health risk. To learn more about some surprising facts about what’s polluting your indoor air quality, check out our blog on 8 Unbelievable Facts About Your Home’s Indoor Air Quality!

Since all of these products result in airborne fragrance and chemicals, proper ventilation and air filtration are essential. Opening the windows and turning on fans can help to an extent. To most thoroughly get rid of the unwanted effects. However, you will need a high-quality air filtration system, preferably one that meets HEPA standards and can capture and neutralize any airborne toxins.

The EnviroKlenz Mobile Air Purifier is a great product for this—covering up to 850 square feet in area, it uses a combination of HEPA filters along with its own unique chemical deactivating cartridges to not only cover up or absorb fragrances but also to deactivate them on a molecular level. If you are looking for a way to customize your existing household HVAC system to more effectively eliminate harmful chemicals and volatile organic compounds (VOC’s), the EnviroKlenz HVAC Filter also works to neutralize and remove many of the chemicals found in fragrances.

Mobile Air System

$700.00 $649.99

Patented earth mineral technology works to attack VOCs and break them down on a compound level

No chemicals or masking agents

Will not release any chemicals back into your environment

Safer and faster at removing VOC’s than traditional carbon filters and PECO air purifiers

EnviroKlenz® Medical Disclaimer:

“Any information that is provided on this website is not for the use by any commercial or personal entity without expressed written consent of the blog author. The material and statements illustrated within this blog are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any diseases or medical conditions. Nor does the author in any way guarantee or validate the validity, totality, or efficacy of any claims and will therefore not be held responsible for the content of any claims. Always consult your medical physician for any specific medical advice or recommendations.”

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