In last months Homes and Gardens, the wonderful Kirstie Allsop declared commercial air fresheners to be a hideous crime against all that is fragrant, going so far as to say she wouldn't even consider buying a house reeking of the kind of plug-ins, and sprays you buy on your supermarket shelf...
We have all been in houses smelling suspiciously of the ocean. The kind of scents that assault your senses and numb your nose. From time to time I have even found myself eyes a watering and chest tightening in the presence of a particuarly ferocious offender, so unused to chemicals in my home as I have become.
But are they really dangerous? Yes. Without a doubt they are dangerous.
"Take those so-called air fresheners. According to a study published in New Scientist
in 1999, in homes where aerosol sprays and air fresheners were used
frequently, mothers experienced 25 percent more headaches and were 19
percent more likely to suffer from depression, and infants under six
months of age had 30 percent more ear infections and 22 percent higher
incidence of diarrhea."
(Source: Grist Magazine)
How scary is that? Something you are using in a vain attempt to make your home smell "fresh" is potentially seriously damaging your health. And the really bizarre thing? True "fresh" has no smell at all...
But what to do about it?
Well for a start, be consistent with your cleaning routines, use natural products wherever possible, give up all aerosols and make opening your windows a regular part of your morning. Fling them all open, no matter what the weather, even if it is only for five minutes a day. Do it again before you go to bed. Dance to keep warm if you have to, because trust me, you will sleep better for it...
Just let your house breathe and think of it as a sigh of relief.