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Natural Year Challenge: Household - Month Nine

Clean Your Air

Natural Air Purifiers Welcome to the ninth step in our Natural Year Challenge! Our journey toward healthier, less toxic living continues with a look at a vital component of our indoor environment: the air we breathe.

Air fresheners, in synthetic form, do little to freshen the air and do much to hamper our health. Their primary function of masking odors is accomplished either by deadening our nerves with a toxic chemical or interfering with our sense of smell by coating our nasal passages with an oil film.

Thankfully, there are numerous natural options that do more than mask odors! In many cases, these alternatives actually reduce the number of toxins in the air, which results in improved energy, mental stamina, and overall health. One option is to purchase an air purifier (see these product comparisons from Allergy Buyers Club). Other options include the following five categories of natural air fresheners for the home or office.

  1. Odor Eliminators.
    • Baking soda. Neutralizes odors by turning them into inert crystalline salts over time. Keep an open box of baking soda in areas where odor management is desirable. Add several drops of essential oil for added benefit. Or combine 1/2 c. baking soda and 4 c. water and simmer on the stove or in a crock pot to help absorb odors. Always check for water evaporation and refill as needed.
    • Charcoal. Charcoal's large surface area and highly developed pore structure make it an excellent choice for neutralizing odors. BuyActivatedCharcoal.com offers an all-natural charcoal derived from coconut.
    • Zeolite. This is a microporous mineral encompassing many times its weight in odors or moisture. It is an excellent option for mildew smells. (Check for hidden moisture before treating the odor, as a toxic mold problem may exist.) Refreshingly Free offers several zeolite odor-control products.
  2. Plants.

    The purple waffle plant, English ivy, asparagus fern, areca palm, and purple heart are examples of plants that help purify your environment's air. See this article for more.

  3. Diffuser.

    Pure essential oils offer numerous health-boosting benefits, including purifying the air. Diffusers offer a way to put essential oils into the air. There are four types of diffusers: nebulizing diffusers, humidifying diffusers, evaporative diffusers, and heat diffusers. Abundant Health offers this informative explanation of each type. Air purifying essential oils include tea tree oil, lemongrass, peppermint, and eucalyptus. Abundant Health and Diffuser World both offer several excellent diffuser options.

  4. Deodorizing Spray.

    With an empty spray bottle, you can easily make your own air freshener by adding several drops of your favorite essential oil to 1 c. distilled water. Add 1-2 tbsp. plain vodka to help thin out the oil and retain its scent.

  5. Simmering Potpourri.

    The possibilities are endless for this air freshener. Make your own potpourri using favorite herbs, spices, flower petals, and essential oil. Place 1/2 c. of mixture in 4 c. water and simmer on your stove for hours of enjoyment. Always check for water evaporation and refill as needed. 8-10 drops of essential oil can be used in place of potpourri. Your favorite combination can also be simmered in a crock pot. Keep the lid off and check for evaporation.

    Country Spice Potpourri Recipe

    • 1 c. dried apples
    • 1 c. bay leaves
    • 1/2 c. unpeeled ginger
    • 1/2 c. whole cloves
    • 6 cinnamon sticks

    Combine in glass jar. Stir. Cap the jar and leave for 3-4 weeks. Shake several times per week.


In the following video, Andrea demonstrates
several of the natural air-freshening options mentioned above.

Quotes

"In my moldy home if I left the wet clothes in the washer they would get musty very quickly and I'd have to re-wash... Sometimes I'd run a load, go to work, and they'd be musty when I returned that evening."

– Anonymous

"Our family has been out of our home for 9 months due to mold... I am so scared and weak from all of this. We have lost friends; family members don't understand."

– Anonymous

"We all suffered from headaches, hormonal body temperature fluctuations, brain fog, fatigue, difficulty breathing, thrush, rashes, and yeast infections... we vacated our home two weeks ago."

– Anonymous

"I had been struggling with headaches, head fog, breathing difficulties (unable to get a full breath), constant scalp tingling, migraines, nausea, feeling spacey/detached, and severe itchy skin."

– Anonymous

"...at age 35 or 36 I started to become allergic to everything, and I got asthma at age 36... I went to doctor after doctor after doctor and was desperate for help, but nobody could help me."

– Mia

"The entire time we lived in our (mold-infested) house the kitchen sponge would get musty smelling within 3-4 days. It was so strange. I had to buy a pack of sponges nearly every week."

– Anonymous

"I'm new at this, but today I cleaned my bathroom with baking soda and vinegar. It's much better not having those strong chemical smells afterwards."

– Anonymous

"Both of my sons went downhill quickly and coughed for months... They both lost their ability to read, had profound vision disturbances, and had phenomenal gastric issues."

– Lee

"We had some water leaks in our home... we never thought we needed to clean out and remove the floor, the ceiling, or the drywall... my two small children and I have remained constantly sick for years in this home."

– Mia

"We were having a lot of health problems and had been to the doctor countless times... we had large circles of slimy greenish-black mold on the bathroom ceiling, where it had caved in a few months before."

– C.

"I was skeptical at first that these (natural cleaning) products would work, but they work better than the stuff I buy at the store! We will soon be moving to the personal care products as well!"

– Jennifer

"My symptoms persisted and eventually turned into lethargy and depression. At the age of 26, I required a nap every evening after work."

– Jennifer

"I have been sick for almost 6 months now and doctors were not able to figure out why. I finally put it all together after going away for vacation for a week and suddenly my symptoms were going away."

– Anonymous

"The ERMI mold test as well as your helpful articles and Toxic Talk Tuesday programs have helped us avoid a terrible mistake in purchasing a new home."

– Angela

"My daughter started having digestive problems... heart palpitations... coughing episodes... muscle/joint pain... asthma/allergies... Her doctor finally advised me to check for mold in our home."

– Anonymous

"My daughter has had many blood samples taken to test for everything imaginable and her doctor just seems puzzled. Everything comes back normal."

– Anonymous

"I started finding myself sitting on the floor in rooms of my house and not remembering how I got there, what I was doing before, or how long I had been there."

– Brenda

"I knew it was mold, but doctors kept telling me I had anxiety. I was sitting in my office and could not remember who I was talking to, or what we were talking about."

– Brenda

"I've been living in a mold-infested home for 13 months... I was going CRAZY! Finally figured it out... Just a few days of recovering in a mold-free home and I feel AMAZING!!!"

– Lauren

Dedication