All about air fresheners

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By Danette Vernon

Isn’t the smell of Christmas wonderful? The smell of fresh pine from the tree you cut down yourself yesterday, the aroma of cookies baking in the oven, wouldn’t be wonderful if your homes smelled like this every day of the year?

Bob Surloff took care of that wish way back in the 1940’s when he invented the first air freshener dispenser. His initial product was called Air Scent, and was diffused via a room fan, something everyone had running in the summer time back then!

The 1940’s were the years an older friend of mine spent as a child running behind the truck that came through the neighborhoods in the south, spraying a fog of DDT to kill mosquitoes. What your mom doesn’t know won’t kill you, right? We eventually learned it might.

That cigarette that dangled from your mouth when your mom wasn’t around, driving too fast, unprotected sex — all of things your mom warned against eventually found their moment of truth. But she most likely never mentioned that the smell of Christmas, in its artificial form, could be life-threatening.

The average can of aerosol spray may contain: Methoxyclor, a pesticide that accumulates in fat cells; Paradichchlorobezene, which is shown to cause cancer in lab animals; Phenol, a carbolic acid that is flammable, corrosive and toxic; Formaldehyde, which the EPA admits is cancer causing; Benzene, a carcinogen with a recommendation of zero exposure; and many other harmful chemical components.

What might you do, beyond the simplicity of a scented candle, to keep that holiday smell pervading the house without risking death by fragrance?

You can keep small glass containers around the house that have been filled one quarter full of baking soda. Add about 8 drops of essential oils to create a room freshener. The baking soda absorbs unwanted odors while the essential oils fill the air with lavender or peppermint. The freshener will last several weeks.

Or you can make your own air fresheners with extracts, herbs, pine needles, or spices that are either ground or whole. Start by adding all of your chosen ingredients to a pan, and cover with water. Bring the water to a boil, and then lower the heat and simmer to fill your home with the smell of cinnamon, vanilla, pine, or any number of bouquets. To reuse, you can store the mixture in the refrigerator in glass jars for one to two weeks, or freeze today for gift-giving tomorrow. Canning jars are handy, but not necessary. The jars of sliced fruit or cinnamon sticks are beautiful, and you can generally reheat and simmer again 2-3 times. There are full directions and recipes on the website, The Yummy Life.

Enjoy, and keep the good health you have!

Moment of Wellness with Danette Vernon: Therapeutic Solutions: Offering a unique approach to your active health care needs using a variety of healing modalities, nutritional and wellness coaching to empower you to a new state of health and well-being. 73 Sams Point Road, 524-2554.