Revolutionary Way to Freshen the Air

Freshening the air is big business these days. Polluting the air is also very profitable. Sadly, it’s usually similar chemicals  polluting the air as are in the substances sold to “freshen” it.

What does fresh air smell like?

fragrance emitting products smell like chemicals

There was a lot of progress made on indoor air quality (IAQ) issues in the 90s, and the resulting health problems caused by poor IAQ were being well documented. Somehow all that disappeared and instead we’ve ended up with commercials for chemical air “fresheners” (including scented candles and oils) every 15 minutes, fragrance emitting devices (FEDs) installed everywhere, and scent marketing technologies to pump mystery ingredients through air ducts, all to cover up the smells of increasingly toxic products and materials, resulting in huge profits for the fragrance, chemical, and pharmaceutical industries, while most of us suffer from decreasing health and wellness.

Instead of making us healthier and happier (think of how happy those people in the commercials look), we’ve developed more chronic health problems, more learning disabilities, more headaches, more allergies, more cancer, more reproductive difficulties, more confusion, more trouble concentrating, more fatigue, and more costs to deal with it all!

Those side effects aren’t in the commercials. Nor is the advice written in tiny print on the back of the packages to “use only in well ventilated areas“.

So here’s a revolutionary idea, a method with proven results!

If you want fresh air, open a window!

Photo by C. Howarth

Photo of a ventilated area by C. Howarth

Opening your windows for at least 5 minutes a day, every day (weather and outdoor air quality permitting) is THE absolute best way to freshen your air!

(by weather, I do not mean winter, I mean humidity, rain, or snow blowing inside)

The extra money for heat during winter months can be saved by not buying toxic and disposable things that contribute to poor IAQ and health problems in the first place.

With all the toxic products we are sold these days, it is also a really good idea to air EVERYTHING out before you bring it into your home, and clean or wash them as soon as you do bring them inside. This includes any plastics, technology, clothing, furnishings, magazines… almost anything and everything!

Additionally, it can be really helpful to have air purifiers, the kinds with many pounds of activated carbon and HEPA filters. They aren’t cheap. Cheap and toxic petroleum based stuff is the main problem here, and it’s not going to be fixed with more of the same.

It’s also a really interesting exercise to examine our thoughts about the differences between liking and not liking smells, feeling sick or not feeling sick from them, and being disabled or not being disabled by them. Why do we prefer one kind of smell over another? Why do we want to avoid some things and find others appealing?

We can also look into where our beliefs come from. When did we start believing that we needed certain things? Are they really our choices, in our best interests? Do we know what’s in them? Who was telling us these stories? Why have we believed them?

For those of you who have problems with naturally occurring smells, look into their causes and eliminate them either by ventilation or by taking better care of your health (and what you put into your body). Truly horrible body smells are signs of poor health.Wanting to avoid them is a natural reaction, but covering them up with chemicals that cause more problems instead of addressing their causes doesn’t benefit us at all, it only makes more profits for the chemical and pharmaceutical companies.

The air we breathe needs to be as clean as possible. Without air, we can’t live. Without clean air, we can’t live well. Adding mystery fragrances and other chemicals to our air does not clean it, it merely covers up the smell of other chemicals that contribute to poor health, a lack of energy. and a less interesting life…

Clean does not smell.

Get real! Go fragrance-free! It’s good for you. It’s good for me.


Open your windows everyday!

Note: I did not link sources for statements because it takes a lot of time and effort to do so, and very few people actually make use of them. Many of them can be found in the other blog posts here. If you can’t find them and would like to see any specific references, please leave a comment and I’ll try to find the link for you.

Wishing you all fresh and healthy air!

27 responses to “Revolutionary Way to Freshen the Air

  1. It’s funny, I never open my windows in the winter. This is a great idea. There is a door from the kitchen to the yard and I can open that too. I guess this means I have to throw out my Kleen-Fresh-Super-Chemicals-Forever-and-Ever-Plug-in …. just kidding, I never used those things even before I got sick. They smell like cinnamon death.

  2. All these toxic air “fresheners” are as effective at freshening the stale smelly air as putting makeup on a cancerous mole is to curing cancer.

  3. That’s my only air purifier and freshener, I open the windows that overlook the communal garden space which luckly for me is a natural space, more like a small park than a garden, with trees and wild lawn. Thank God they don’t use pesticides or chemical fertilizers on it ♡ I can’t afford air purifiers or even electric heating anyway so we ‘bundle up’ and light a chimney in the evening to warm up and dry out the little townhouse we live in. I’m still always overcharged with static electricity, makes my clothes stick to me (cotton not synthetics, I defininately can’t wear synthetics, not even over cotton!) and my hair is all over the place, I crackle, spark and give off small electrical shocks to others that touch me or when I touch things!!! Must be the EH cause no one else in my house seems to be bothered with this. (???)
    Maybe there’s a mercury connection there, like galvanism that’s produced in the mouth from various metals mixing in the saliva? Anyway with windows open it seems to subside to a lesser degree, more tolerable.
    Fresh Air smells like nature…being on a mountain top, in the woods, bye the ocean….♡♡♡

  4. Unfortunately for many of us, opening the windows can mean much poorer air quality! I have dealt with neighbours spewing out noxious fumes from dryer vents, outflowing air from ventilation systems and other heavily scented products, my whole life, and it has only gotten worse over time!

    • I have to check constantly to find the “safe” times. Some days there just aren’t any, other days it might be at 4 am.

      I have little flags hanging outside to show me what way the wind is blowing, and this helps a great deal so I can avoid checking (opening the door or window) when there’s a 90% chance of fumes.

      Days do go by when there hasn’t been ANY clean air, and that means the next time there is, the windows are open longer… It also means that I can get really brain dead, and not from what builds up inside, as I don’t have much that off-gasses here, but from what gets in through the cracks from outside.

      I have also had to rush to close the windows more times than I remember because someone did turn on their dryer somewhere, or lit a fire, or the wind direction changed.

      There was a time when I didn’t think all the effort was worth it, but I do now. Fresh air makes such a difference in my ability to function.

      The air purifiers remove some of the pollutants when the filters are changed regularly, but they do not create fresh air and oxygen.

  5. I love to open my windows. I live in the country so most times I can do that safely.

    We were talking to a construction/window expert recently. He mentioned the importance of opening windows and using a dehumidifier to prevent mold. He said newer houses are sealed so tightly that if you don’t regularly open a window (even if you run a dehumidifier), you will end up with mold in your house. Something to think about.

    • Mold and toxic VOCs… sighs… Glad you can usually open the windows safely there!

      There was so much good info on IAQ and health effects in the 1990s and early 2000s that got shut down and ignored… The EPA still has some of it on their website. A lot of the really good CMHC work has disappeared though, as the Canadian government saw fit to archive it.

      The almighty toxic economy generates a lot more money when people are sick, and when people are sick, they can’t fight as easily for healthy economic activity…

      But hey, I’m just that cynical these days…

      We have more than enough info on preventing illness, disease, and debilitating chronic conditions, yet preventing them would require regulations to limit industry’s abilities to pollute us, and regulations are bad… personal freedom is good… corporations too need the personal freedom to pollute and profit from it… it’s up to us to protect ourselves and to know how… and to pay the costs…

      oops, sorry… mini rant again…

      Open your windows folks, be careful what you bring in the house too…

      • Rants are acceptable. Those rants are what helps educate people. Now we can open that window and breath in some fresh spring air (before it gets contaminated with pesticides). :)

        • Pesticides and spring molds… lol… I am sensitizing to the rotting sun seed shells left by the birds and squirrels that I feed :/

          I used to be fine with outdoor molds, until I was subjected to excessive indoor mold on man-made substances due to a deteriorating rental I lived in.

          Today’s outdoor air is full of laundry products and someone’s oil or diesel spill (which happened somewhere in the area in late January, but is occasionally covered by snow).

          I need help to sniff it out, so I can ask for it to be properly cleaned up, but folks with MCS will be hurt by it, and many others can’t seem to notice it… plus it seems very specifically located and the winds shift, making it very hard to determine where it’s coming from… It makes it dangerous for me to be outside or open the window now. It may even be coming from what used to be my safes direction (the longest distance without dryer vents in the way).

          I have also been turned down for replacement air purifier filters which would help my indoor air. They used to be covered.
          Slowly, any progress, every little way of helping those of us disabled by MCS/ES that was made in the past, has been dismantled and eliminated…

          I used to enjoy being with humans… now I dream of living far away from humans and human activities… just so I can breathe air that doesn’t alter my abilities to function…

  6. I am an indoor air quality and environmantal consultant here in Ontario and have withnessed first hand the severity of symptoms and illnesses that can develop in those with MCS/ES. Opening your windows is a GREAT idea to let some fresh air in and goes a long way to help reduce contaminant levels, particularly VOC’s and carbon dioxide levels. You are also very right….clean air DOES NOT smell like air fresheners…it smells of NOTHING. Just clean. Here’s some information that might help…a DIY indoor air quality checklist of what to look for within each room of your home, what contaminants might be present there, and “fix it’ solutions to help:
    Great blog post…I really enjoyed it!

  7. Thank you and well put!. I cannot stay in “modern” hotels because they have no opening windows. This is soon frustrating.

  8. Note too that essential oils do NOT clean or purify the air. They add hazardous VOCs (even the pure, therapeutic, organic ones) that create new pollutants too. They are not benign and can cause serious adverse effects in a lot of people who have MCS/ES, allergies, asthma, migraines, mast cell activation (MCAS/MCAD).

    I will not release comments that promote their use.

    • All essential oils tested emitted chemicals classified as hazardous, with no significant difference between the regular and “organic” essential oils.

      • “Beyond their immediate effects, VOCs react with other molecules in the air, such as oxygen and nitrogen oxides, to generate ozone as well as fine particulate matter. (Those nitrogen oxides come, in large part, from vehicle exhaust.) High levels of fine particulate matter make it hard to breathe and contribute to chronic lung problems (SN: 9/30/17, p. 18). And while ozone high in the atmosphere helps shield Earth from the sun’s ultraviolet radiation, at ground level, it mixes with fine particulates to form breath-choking smog.”

        ~ Household products make surprisingly large contributions to air pollution

      • Chemicals in lavender and tea tree oil appear to be hormone disruptors

        “From the hundreds of chemicals that comprise lavender and tea tree oil, they selected for analysis eight components that are common and mandated for inclusion in the oils.

        Four of the tested chemicals appear in both oils: eucalyptol, 4-terpineol, dipentene/limonene and alpha-terpineol. The others were in either oil: linalyl acetate, linalool, alpha-terpinene and gamma-terpinene. Using in vitro, or test tube, experiments, the researchers applied these chemicals to human cancer cells to measure changes of estrogen receptor- and androgen receptor-target genes and transcriptional activity.

        All eight chemicals demonstrated varying estrogenic and/or anti-androgenic properties, with some showing high or little to no activity, the investigators reported. Ramsey said these changes were consistent with endogenous, or bodily, hormonal conditions that stimulate gynecomastia in prepubescent boys.

        “Lavender oil and tea tree oil pose potential environmental health concerns and should be investigated further,” he said.

        Of further concern, according to Ramsey, is that many of the chemicals they tested appear in at least 65 other essential oils. Essential oils are available without a prescription and are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

        Thus, the public should be aware of these findings and consider all evidence before deciding to use essential oils. The NIEHS Division of Intramural Research funded this study through its support of Korach.”

        Before you say natural (or pure or therapeutic or organic) EOs don’t emit chemicals, this is from the donterra website:

        “Inside many plants—hidden in roots, seeds, flowers, bark—are concentrated, highly potent chemical compounds. “

    • “The European Union is now considering labeling lavender, “May Be Harmful if Inhaled.”

      More specifically, a lavender allergy is caused by a compound within lavender extract called linalool.

      Linalool produces lavender’s fragrance and reacts with air to form the skin irritant. The natural extract of a lavender plant contains 20 to 40 percent linalool, depending on the plant variety, and chemists can synthesize linalool at a purity of 97 percent.

      The more people use natural products, the more likely they are to develop an allergy to them, since reactions often occur with regular contact. These types of allergens are called sensitizers.

      “People often think that when they become allergic to some thing it has to be something new,” says Dr. Michael Stierstoffer, a dermatologist practicing in the Philadelphia area. “But often it’s something that they have been repetitively exposed to and then at some point in time the immune system just decides to become allergic to it.”

      Some types of allergies induce hay fever and asthma as the immune system dumps histamine and other inflammatory response chemicals into the blood stream in response to the allergen.

      A Type 1 allergy, as it is known, can be fatal if the inflammation is so severe that the airway swells to the point of closing (called anaphylaxis). A less extreme allergy (Type 4) occurs when lymph nodes absorb an allergen and tag it as suspicious.

      Continued exposure assures the immune system of the allergen’s ill will and, eventually, contact with the allergen results in a scaly rash. Both types of allergies can exhibit this sensitization lag time, though it’s more common with Type 4.”

  9. Diffusing or applying EOs with terpenes creates formaldehyde when there’s any ozone in the air

    TVOC and terpenes increase significantly during aromatherapy using essential oils.

    Formaldehyde is found co-generated during ozone-initiated reactions with terpenes.

  10. “Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from products such as shampoo, perfume and cleaning solutions eventually escape outside and contribute to ozone and fine particle formation, making up an even greater source of global atmospheric air pollution than cars and trucks do.”

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