Everyone loves a fresh-smelling home, car, gym bag, bathroom, etc… But unfortunately, a lot of conventional air fresheners are filled with toxicants like phthalates, carcinogens, VOCs, allergens, and more.

We’ve investigated a number of home fragrance products—from Bath & Body Works candles and Wallflowers, to Glade and Air Wick plug-ins, to Yankee Candles and Febreze spray. Many of these conventional air “freshener” and room spray products either contain potentially hazardous ingredients, and/or they don’t actually provide their full ingredient list at all!

The good news is that there are so many great alternatives that not only smell great but also don’t contribute to your indoor air pollution or make you sick.

So, I’ve rounded up the best natural air fresheners, organic room sprays, and Febreze alternatives that you can spray in your home without worry.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may earn a commission if you choose to make a purchase.

My Favorite Non-Toxic Air Fresheners at a Glance:

Best for Scented Sprays: Grow

Best Plug-In Air Fresheners: Scent Fill

Best Odor-Eliminating Spray: Force of Nature

Best Odor-Eliminating Powder: ATTITUDE

Why Are Conventional Air Fresheners Bad?

As mentioned above, a lot of air fresheners you’ll find in stores contain things like volatile organic compounds (VOCs), carcinogens, endocrine disruptors (which can cause or exacerbate infertility and other issues), allergens, sensitizers, and more.

Why do brands include these toxic ingredients? Well, for a variety of reasons… It might be to increase the shelf-life, it might be because they’re cheaper than safer and more natural alternatives, it might be to create a stronger scent, or it might be some combination of all of the above.

Here are some of the most commonly used toxic air freshener ingredients to avoid:

“Fragrance”

Almost all conventional air fresheners will contain the word “fragrance” on their ingredient list. Unfortunately, under that one word, companies are legally allowed to include over 3,500 chemicals in their products without disclosing them to their customers.

Some of these chemicals are completely safe, but others are endocrine-disrupting phthalates, carcinogens, VOCs, allergens, and more. This is why I recommend either trying to avoid “fragrance” altogether or only shopping from brands that clearly list ALL their ingredients for consumers.

You can read more about the fragrance issue right here.

Isothiazolinone Preservatives

Ingredients like benzisothiazolinone and methylisothiazolinone are used as preservatives, but they’re also irritants and allergens. Methylisothiazolinone is also a suspected neurotoxin and endocrine disruptor.

Of course, preservatives are often necessary in order to prevent things like mold growth, but there are safer options available.

Ethoxylated Ingredients

During manufacturing, ethoxylated ingredients (like PEGs) go through a process called ethoxylation. This process requires ethylene oxide, which is an irritant that’s known to cause multiple types of cancer and infertility, along with 1,4-dioxane, which is another known carcinogen.

The problem is that ethoxylated ingredients have been found to be contaminated with these two toxic ingredients.

Ethoxylated ingredients are extremely difficult to avoid completely, so I recommend just trying to minimize and/or avoid them when possible. You can also shop from brands that actually test their products to ensure contamination is not happening.

Are Essential Oils Safer?

Most non-toxic and natural fragrance brands use essential oils in their formulations instead of synthetic scents. And while overall, they tend to be safer, it’s important to remember that essential oils are not always perfect either.

Some essential oils can be sourced in an unsustainable way, so it’s important to buy from brands that source their oils carefully and responsibly.

Additionally, certain essential oils are more sensitizing to some people than others, especially considering that essential oils are MUCH more highly concentrated than the actual plants from which they’re sourced. Therefore, products that utilize essential oils need to be dosed and formulated properly.

The Best Natural Air Freshener & Non-Toxic Room Sprays to Use Instead of Febreze:

Now, let’s get to my favorite brands for non-toxic and natural air fresheners!

1. Grow Fragrance

Grow Fragrance Reviews on TheFiltery.com

Grow is one of my very favorite non-toxic Febreze alternatives—every room spray smells sooo good! I would say it’s the closest product to Febreze in terms of how it’s used and how it smells.

They have a collection of standard scents that are offered all year-round (Lavender Blossom, Bamboo, Cedar Citrus, and more). They also release limited edition seasonal scents as well (like “Pine Forest” and “Snowscape”).

Grow is committed to true transparency when it comes to their fragrance ingredients. Everything is 100% plant-based and is free from phthalates, parabens, petroleum, and synthetic petrochemicals. Everything is made ethically in the USA. And they have candles as well.


2. Force of Nature

force of nature cleaner reviews on thefiltery.com

Force of Nature is not a scented spray, but rather works as an odor-eliminator that you can spray into the air, on furniture, in gym bags, and more. Instead of putting a good smell on top of the stinky ones, it works to actually eliminate bad smells by deodorizing and sanitizing.

Force of Nature has actually been lab-tested against Febreze and shown to work better at eliminating malodors. It’s also registered with the EPA to get rid of 99.9% of germs, bacteria, and viruses.

Use code THEFILTERY30 for 30% off Starter Kits & bundles.


3. Halcyon Grace Co.

all natural room spray from halcyon grace co

Halcyon Grace Co. combines rhodochrosite crystal purified water(!!) with witch hazel and essential oils to create non-toxic and long-lasting room sprays. Available scents include “Breathe,” “Full of Energy,” and “Oye Como Va.”

Shop on BLK+GRN and use the code THEFILTERY10 for 10% off.


4. Neals Yard

organic room spray from neals yard

Neals Yard carries several beautiful Organic Aromatherapy Room Sprays that come in “Uplifting,” “Balancing,” or “Calming” scents. These are made with organic essential oils and contain zero synthetic ingredients.

Neals Yard carries several certifications as well, including Soil Association Organic, Carbon Neutral, and Cruelty-Free.


5. Hank’s Garden

natural non toxic air freshener spray from hanks garden

Hank’s Garden’s products come with a handful of earth-friendly labels like organic, non-GMO, biodegradable, cruelty-free, locally sourced, and more.

Based in Bellingham, Washington, Hank carries a collection of room and body mists that are meant to “balance, harmonize, & promote the health of body, mind, & spirit.” His short ingredient lists include distilled water, glycerin, and essential oils.


6. Zum

aromatherapy room mist from zum

Zum’s Room & Body Mists contain very few ingredients: water, glycerin, and essential oils. Everything from this brand (which has been around since 1996) is made in Kansas City, Missouri. They carry some great bar soaps, too.


7. Nustad Family Ranch

non toxic lavender spray from nusted family ranch

The lavender used in this multi-purpose room spray is not only organic but it’s actually grown and harvested on their family farm! 

The only ingredients in this vegan spray are distilled french lavender hydrosol and pure lavender essential oil. You can spray it on linens, in the car, use it as a room spray, and more.


Other Safe, Natural Air Fresheners You Can Use As a Febreze Alternative

Here are a few additional non-spray air freshener and deodorizer options that you might want to check out to help freshen up your indoor air:

1. Guru Nanda Essential Oil Diffusers

natural essential oil diffuser from guru nanda

Guru Nanda carries a wide selection of diffusers and humidifiers that come in different shapes and sizes (including a mini plug-in one!). You can use them with their essential oils, which are sustainably sourced and pesticide-free.


2. Scent Fill Plug-Ins

non toxic natural plug-ins from scent fill

If you’re looking for a plug-in alternative to Glade or Air Wick, check out Scent Fill. It’s a 100% natural plug-in air freshener that contains “zero weird chemicals” while maintaining a long-lasting fragrance. They have a TON of different scents to choose from!


3. Attitude Air Purifiers

natural air putrifier from attitude

Using ingredients like activated carbon, these powders actually purify their air by absorbing contaminants naturally (instead of just covering them up). They also contain essential oils for a light, natural scent.


4. Moso Natural Air Purifying Bag

moso natural air purifier

Moso air purifying bags work in a similar way to the Attitude Air Purifying boxes mentioned above. They use moso bamboo charcoal, which works to eliminate odors and harmful pollutants without giving off a scent. These can last up to 2 years with monthly rejuvenation in direct sunlight!


5. Primally Pure

Primally Pure’s Room Sprays are game-changers! Their blends of wildcrafted botanicals—like lavender, spearmint, and sandalwood—not only smell amazing but also boast powerful antibacterial, antiviral, and antiseptic properties.

The Warm Citrus Spice Room Spray is a customer favorite because it fills your home with delightful holiday spices like cardamom, blood orange, and cinnamon bark. You’ll love the cozy and inviting atmosphere it creates. But they also have more discrete scents, too, like Sweet Floral Sage and Cool Citrus Breeze.


6. ATTITUDE (Fabric Freshener for Pets)

Looking for a natural way to freshen up your pet’s bed or favorite spot on the couch? ATTITUDE’s Fabric Freshener for Pets is designed specifically for your dogs and cats! Made with natural ingredients like zinc ricinoleate, it effectively neutralizes odors and leaves your home smelling like uplifting lavender.

Give this spray bottle a try and enjoy a fresh and pleasant environment for your furry friend!


Air Filter/Purifier

Of course, improving indoor air quality by actually cleaning it (instead of just covering it up) will go a long way in eliminating odors and keeping things fresh. AirDoctor is the brand I use (and you can get $300 off with this link).

Clean Regularly

Lastly, another way to keep unwanted odors at bay is to keep your home clean! VOCs, mold spores, and other tiny toxic molecules like to live in the dust around your home. Vacuuming regularly and using a non-toxic all-purpose cleaner like those from ATTITUDE, Force of Nature, or Branch Basics can go a long way!

Conclusion

If you were searching for a Febreze alternative, I hope this list of products was helpful for your research! There’s no reason to keep spraying carcinogens and endocrine disruptors into the air in your home… When it comes to air freshener sprays and plug-ins, there are plenty of great natural and non-toxic brands on the market to keep your living space feeling and smelling fresh.



About Abbie

Abbie Davidson is the Creator & Editor of The Filtery. With almost a decade of experience in sustainability, she researches and writes content with the aim of helping people minimize environmental toxins in an in-depth yet accessible way.


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2 Comments

  1. Iโ€™m looking for a non toxic spray to use in an automatic timed battery operated sprayer that will hang high on a wall. (No diffuser) One thatโ€™s easy on allergies, asthma and without cancer causing chemicals. Iโ€™m wanting to hang these high in the walls like the glade spray. My allergies cannot handle the glade. Any idea?

    1. Hi Crystal,
      Great question! You might want to check out Aera. You can connect it to an app which you can then set on a schedule to omit the fragrance when you want it to. You can also adjust the strength of the scent based on your preferences and needs. Unfortunately, they’re not battery operated, but they have a countertop version (which plugs in with a cord) and a mini wall plug-in option. This is the only non-toxic air freshener I’ve been able to find that you can put on a timer. I hope that will work for you!