Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Using good scents

Enjoy this month's article in Abode magazine reprinted here...

I strolled into the office yesterday and my nose was met with the powerful scent of my co-workers’ new cinnamon plug-in air freshener. The scent may be enticing, but many don’t realize that commercially sold air fragrances in aerosols, powders, and foams are unnecessary and sometimes polluting to indoor air quality. Phthalates as well as a plethora of other irritants can be released, not to mention toxic volatile organic compounds (VOCs), causing headaches or worse with people sensitive to allergens.

If you’re using air fresheners, ask yourself, what is your intention—to mask an odor or add a scent? If it’s the former, can you eliminate the offending odor? Does your trash can need cleaning or your bathroom need scrubbing? When was the last time the dog was bathed? Preventatively, sprinkling baking soda at the bottom of your trash cans and on the floor before vacuuming really helps.

Now let’s talk about adding scents naturally. Soy or beeswax candles scented with essential oils are great alternatives to the petroleum variety. Rather than burning incense (the smoke is harmful in large quantities), boil cinnamon sticks and cloves in a pan of H20. Can you get creative by making your own potpourri of dried flowers and spices? Lavender is one of my favorites. I keep a bag of cedar chips from a diseased cedar in my linen drawer. A rosemary plant in your kitchen can double as cooking ingredient.

Finally, bamboo sticks dipped in your favorite pure essential oil (try eucalyptus, lemon, or tea tree) look and smell nice.



Blue Ridge Eco Shop said...

How did you approach the coworker with the air freshner? I've been wonder how to educate those close to me without pointing fingers.

BWB said...

Well, she does know I'm Betty and she's super sweet. I mentioned what my next Abode topic was and she commented that she would like to know more! You bring up a great point though and maybe an upcoming blog topic: green etiquette!! --Betty