Many car owners purchase air freshening products with scents that run the gamut from flowers, to powder, to lavender, in an effort to make their vehicles smell good but at what cost? Researchers contend that synthetic air fresheners can emit toxic fumes that may increase the risk for a number of medical ailments and some are even life-threatening according to the environmental action group, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

Reportedly, car air fresheners are one of the most in-demand vehicle commodities and a whopping 98 percent of consumers use them. The NRDC states, however, that birth defects are one major hidden side effect of many of these manufactured products, primarily due to the harmful chemicals they contain. Other reported conditions that are linked to many car air fresheners include breathing difficulties, chest pains, allergic reactions, weakened immune systems, headache, dizziness, nervous system disorders, diarrhea and even cancer. Older adults who are especially prone to the adverse health effects of conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) may find their breathing symptoms worsened by airborne irritants like car air fresheners. What makes matters worse is that the health-offending culprits in many of these products are unregulated by the feds, so toxic chemicals like phthalates, dichlorobenzene, benzene, and aldehydes are just sliding by unchecked.

Instead of masking vehicle odors with dangerous air freshening products, consider getting rid of them by trying natural products. Here are a few smell good tips that might help get rid of the funk in a vehicle:

  • Baking soda works wonder in the fridge, so why wouldn’t take care of offensive smells in a car? Baking soda boxes come with a sheer mesh across the opening, so place an opened box under a vehicle’s seat to absorb unwanted odors.
  • Coffee beans are notorious for overpowering bad odors. Throw some beans in an open container or in one sheer nylon knee-hi stocking, then position inside a passenger door pocket or open cubby.
  • Lay some fresh herbs like basil or mint on a piece of newspaper in the backseat of a vehicle, then leave the windows up. The windows make your vehicle a natural greenhouse, so as the herbs dry, the delicious smell will spread throughout.
  • Sprinkle a few drops of lemon or eucalyptus oil onto dark car mats or on cotton balls that you can place inside door pockets or in center cupholders. The natural fragrance of the oils will last for weeks.

Here’s to a sweeter smelling ride!


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