My ride on the chemical-free train didn’t begin until I started using essential oils; I can admit that. But I cannot tell you how thankful I am to have started that journey because I am slowly discovering how toxic some of the things I was using in my home really are.
As you know, I have a cat. And let’s be honest, sometimes, cats stink. So, a few times a month I was buying different plug-ins and air fresheners to keep in the room where her litter box was. In June, I started using my YL oils and I discovered 2 things: that I liked the way the oils smelled more than the scents I was buying from the store and, they were 100% therapeutic and natural. My curiosity light bulb came on at this point and I decided to do some research. I will share some of the things I found out about the ingredients in these products then I will show you how you can avoid these things altogether!
DID YOU KNOW?
- Chemicals called phthalates (pronounced thal-ates) are used as solvents in perfumes and fragrances, as softeners in plastics, as anti-foam agents in aerosols, and as sealants in adhesives. They are used in air fresheners to dissolve and carry the smell of fragrances.
- Some of the most offensive ingredients found in air fresheners (volatile organic compounds aka VOCs, benzene, and formaldehyde) can cause headaches and nausea, can aggravate asthma, and have been linked to neurological damage and cancer.
- Exposure to phthalates can alter hormone levels in pregnant women, which could harm the fetus, as well as in males, leading to reproductive problems.
- Many air fresheners may deaden the sensitivity of nerves that help pick up scents and many of the chemicals have also been linked to memory loss, kidney and liver damage, skin irritation, and some are even suspected carcinogens.
So, what is the best way to avoid these scary, potential risks? Do it yourself! Here’s what you will need:
- 1 cup of water
- a pinch of salt
- a whisk
- a small, glass container/jar (there are many good deals on these!)
- 2 packets of unscented, unflavored gelatine
- your choice of essential oils (I am using YL Christmas Spirit and Clove)
- Food coloring (optional)
- Ribbon (optional)
- Glue gun (for optional ribbon)
I found a variety of ways to do this on Pinterest.. and by trial and error. Here is what worked best for me:
Get your jar prepped first. That way, all you have to do is pour the gelatin into it. I used 8 drops of red food coloring, 25 drops of Christmas Spirit, and 5 drops of Clove. (Also, keep in mind you can use any scent combo you choose) All of these quantities can be adjusted, based on how strong you want your air freshener to be.
Next, pour 1/2 cup of the water into a small pot and bring to a boil. (NOTE: if you are using a larger jar, you can adjust the quantity of water as well). Once the water is boiling, slowly start to pour your gelatin in. Some helpful hints: snip the packets before you begin boiling the water and only pour a little bit at a time while whisking like crazy until it is dissolved. If you just dump the whole packet in, it WILL get clumpy and you WILL get frustrated.
Once you have dissolved both packets into the boiling water, set the pot aside (don’t forget to turn off the burner!) and add your other 1/2 cup of cold water and pinch of salt to the mixture. Stir a little bit more to make sure everything is dissolved.
Finally, pour the mixture into your jar. I find it best to do this over the sink, just in case. Feel free to stir everything a couple more times!
Let the jar sit in a cool place overnight so it can firm up. I have also found that you can throw it in the refrigerator for a couple hours to jump start the process. If you feel like making it fancy, add a little holiday touch to it. I hot glued ribbon and tulle around the edge of the jar, and topped it off with a tulle bow.
There you have it. First official blog post from yours truly. Until next time…