Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Meaningless Rant

Air fresheners. Yep, how meaningless can you get? But I have to spill my guts. I cannot handle air fresheners!

No, I’m not chemically sensitive. At least not yet. But I am completely mystified at the current “trend” of scenting every bit of air in a home till it smells like a funeral home. I visited Target and found that an entire LONG aisle had both sides devoted to air fresheners. Sprays, plug-ins, solid goo, powders, and even fake candles of every color and scent. Scents like “Clean Linen”, “Hawaiian Breeze” and “After the Rain”.

So when did people become so stinky?

Rather than spraying “Clean Linen” why not actually wash the sheets and HAVE clean linen? Or is the flowery scent of “Hawaiian Breeze” going to convince you that you are in the Islands instead of your own home? Because I can tell the difference, for sure, even with my eyes closed.
Is it rather that people don’t want anyone to think they smell so it’s a preemptive measure?

One commercial for Febreze (the top dog in air freshener sprays) shows a woman delightfully spraying her home and car and everything in between with the shiny blue can, to eliminate “nasty odors”. Why not just clean her house and car the old fashioned way and have it smell clean and BE clean? Or is it a matter of not cleaning but getting away with a few sprays so someone thinks you’ve cleaned? Sort of along the lines of putting perfume on to cover up BO?

My sister in law adores air fresheners. She has a large, beautiful home: throughout it you’ll find “plug-in” fan fresheners in every room, and in large rooms, more than one. The scents all vary, so you can walk through and apparently feel like you are in Hawaii, after the rain, near a laundrymat. It is dizzying, it creates an instant headache, and is possibly dangerous. I don’t find her a particularly smelly person. I believe she bathes and her home and clothes are clean. So why the foo-foo air? What’s the point?

See, I’m not so much against freshening bad air. When the dogs get promoted to the laundry room during cold winters I use a little air freshener to keep it less “doggy”. And sure, I can see a discreet air freshener in a bathroom. And I have nothing against pretty candles. But the sensory overload of scenting everything makes no sense. For one thing, who stops to smell the flowers if the house already smells like rosebuds? Do people even notice night jasmine in the yard, or sage on their jeans from a hike, or even a geranium scent on the dog’s fur from getting into the plants? Doesn’t the use of all these air fresheners actually dull the senses?

Beyond that, I seriously worry about the dangers of all these air fresheners. They are just artificial chemicals, aerated or vaporized into the air to be inhaled by pets, babies, and even smelly adults. Powders that scent the rug are inhaled by anything small. Just because you can’t see the chemicals doesn’t mean they aren’t there. Then there’s the residue: when it falls it has to land somewhere, even microscopically small particles that are going to be in food, on utensils, even on us. In what sense can this be a good thing?


  1. Snickering here. I have a 600 sf house, with 3 kids (one of them a 13 y/o boy ... so you can guess how often he bathes), 3 large dogs (one with, ahem, gastrointestinal issues, and 3 cats (thus, two litter boxes). We get by with two air fresheners ... both of them right on top of said litter boxes.

    And actually, I don't know that they help. Reality is that when Seal poops in the one in the living room, I'm so cleaning it RIGHT THEN, since I sleep in the living room.

    I know the last time my daughter picked up some at the store, she let me choose which one I wanted. I told her I didn't care ... but she insisted. So, I smelled them both. And picked the one that didn't make me gag immediately.

  2. LOVE this commentary oh so true. I hate all those crappy scents! I love the smell of simply being clean in a clean home. :o)

  3. Ha love this commentary. Oh so true. I am sensitive to fragrance, always have been. Nothing though beats the smell of clean, just plain being clean! Hello people FRESH AIR! Can't beat it. ;o)