Air fresheners are among the most commonly used household products, with nearly three out of four American households using sprays, plug-ins, candles, or other products to eliminate odors. Despite their wide use, there is a lot of misinformation online about how air fresheners are used and recycled, and their effect on health. That’s where we come in!

For nearly two decades the Alliance for Consumer Education (ACE) has empowered people with tips, tools and science-backed advice to make smart decisions about how to best use, store and dispose of air fresheners and other household products.

What do you know about air care products? Test your knowledge with our Mythbusters Guide!

Myth #1

Air fresheners might make something smell good, but they provide no real benefit to me or my family.

Fact #1

Air fresheners can serve multiple purposes, including adding a pleasant scent with fragrance or removing odors from our home, both of which have positive benefits to our overall health. Fragrance can enhance health, happiness and overall well-being. At the same time, odor from things like smoke, gas, or waste can lead to annoyance and stress. Science shows that eliminating odors or adding fragrance can elevate mood, cue memories and nostalgia, and evoke emotion thereby improving psychological health and overall quality of life.

Myth #2

Air fresheners aren’t safe to use around my pets.

Fact #2

Air fresheners are safe to use around most pets. Birds, however, have especially small and delicate respiratory systems, so any small particles can affect them. We recommend removing birds from a room before using aerosol fresheners, but they can be brought back into the room safely afterward.

Myth #3

Essential oils are a better at making my home smell good and freshening the air than a typical air freshener.

Fact #3

Air fresheners are carefully formulated to actively neutralize bad odors and provide a pleasant scent experience. Many air fresheners contain a mixture of natural and synthetic ingredients in their formulations, including essential oils. Air fresheners are subject to federal and state regulatory standards and undergo a series of safety evaluations before going to market. 

Myth #4

People with asthma or allergies shouldn’t use air fresheners.

Fact #4

To date, there have been no credible studies that demonstrate a link between air fresheners and asthma or allergies. When the on-package instructions are followed, air fresheners are safe to use and shouldn’t cause adverse health effects.

Myth #5

Air fresheners that come in aerosol cans can’t be recycled.

Fact #5

More than 5,600 communities across the country recycle empty aerosol cans. Two hundred and fourteen million Americans (or 70%) have access to curbside or drop-off recycling facilities that accept and recycle empty aluminum or steel aerosol containers. If you don’t have these options, some air fresheners, like Febreze™, also partner with volunteer-based pick up services like TerraCycle. Go to your favorite air freshener website to learn more.

Myth #6

Air fresheners are not eco-friendly and can be harmful to my family and the planet.

Fact #6

Air fresheners provide real benefits, safely. Despite what you may have seen online, air fresheners are not formulated to contain harmful ingredients like formaldehyde. Actually, fragrances are one of the most highly regulated and tested ingredients on the market to ensure they are safe for you, your family, your pets, and the environment. Always read product labels for directions on how to use, store and dispose of them properly.