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Could fragranced products in the home be damaging your health?

Everyone knows that keeping windows and doors open in the home is usually the best way to keep it smelling fresh and keeping the air healthy (unless you live at the side of a busy road). The thing is, it’s not always practical: it may be very cold in winter and in summer, it can be very hot, members of the family may suffer from hayfever and it’s very inviting for insects.

Many people turn to artificial air fresheners, scented candles and the like. However, many are merely masking odours from cooking, pets, cigarette smoke or any other odours that may be being generated within the home. Coupled with this, many household cleaning products, as well as personal care products are heavily perfumed. With modern, well insulated homes, that’s quite a concoction of chemicals that can be trapped in the home, ready for you to breathe in.

There is growing concern of the possible health impacts, as outlined by the BBC.

Is there a danger from scented products? – BBC News article

Are perfumed products bad for me? – BBC Two Programme: ‘Trust me I’m a doctor’.

Are perfumed products bad for you?
BBC 2’s ‘Trust Me I’m a Doctor’ programme asks: ‘Are perfumed products bad for you?’

Obviously, no-one wants a ‘smelly’ home, so what are the options when it’s not practical to keep windows open?

Deodorise rooms with bicarbonate of soda

  • Consider putting house-plants known to improve air quality in each room (see the links above for details)
  • Use less aerosol products eg switch your anti-perspirant to a stick or roller ball one
  • Put a bowl of bicarbonate of soda in each room to absorb odours and replace monthly as its effectiveness diminishes
  • Tackle odours at source eg use bicarbonate of soda to deodorise carpets. Use white vinegar to clean pet or baby spills/accidents
  • Use traditional ‘perfume-free’ cleaning products like Soda Crystals, White Vinegar and Bicarbonate of Soda.



2 thoughts on “Could fragranced products in the home be damaging your health?

  1. Hi In an article in Sunday Times it is mentioned that a natural air freshener can be made from bicarb and vinegar to use as a room spray ( and naturally scented with essential oils if required)
    I already have ingredients so could you give me quantities and instructions if possible please. I already subscribe to Dri Pak newsletter but don’t remember seeing this
    Many thanks Jenny

    1. Hi Jenny – we’re not aware of this one. Both products have deodorising properties, but bicarb is best used as a dry powder to absorb odours. If you mix bicarb with white vinegar, the two will react and fizz….essentially neutralising each other. Do you have a link to the article?

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