Air Fresheners: Advantages & Disadvantages

Lots of people use air fresheners. In their homes, in their cars, and especially in their bathrooms.

But do you know all of the advantages – and disadvantages – of using them?

Most people don’t know anything beyond “it makes my room smell better.” Well, in this article I’m going to give you all the reasons that you should consider using an air freshener. But I’m also going to list the reasons that maybe you shouldn’t use one. Read below to discover these reasons for yourself.

Air Fresheners – Advantages

Most people already know the big one: “They smell good.” But can you name anything more specific? I’ve put together a list of all the advantages of using an air freshener. Let’s get into it.

1. Choose your scent.

Not only do air fresheners smell good, but you get to choose how they smell. There’s about… oh, a bazillion different scents of air freshener out there. Do you want ocean breeze, vanilla, or tropical fruit? You can find all sorts of different scents to freshen up your bathroom or kitchen.

You can even rotate scents when you get tired of one. Want to have a different scent in your living room for every season? I haven’t done it personally, but it might be fun to try.

2. Install them anywhere that smells bad.

Freshen up your car? Easy, get a car air freshener. Freshen up your desk at work? You can do that too. Freshen your kitchen to get rid of that burnt oven smell? Go ahead. And for goodness sake, be sure to freshen up your bathroom.

3. Easier than cleaning.

Okay, let’s be honest here: We should probably fix the actual source of the bad smell in our house. We should probably clean that oven with burnt food in it, or clean the toilet, or clean that bathtub that has mold growing in it. But that takes too much work, right? Using an air freshener can give the illusion that our house is cleaner than it really is.

And sometimes, when you’re feeling lazy, illusion is good enough, right?

4. Your guests will appreciate it.

Imagine visiting a friend’s house, only to discover when you use their bathroom, that it stinks! You wouldn’t think very highly of someone who couldn’t even clean up a bit before inviting you over.

Well, now imagine what will happen if the roles are reversed. You don’t want your guests to think your new apartment smells bad, do you? An air freshener is the easiest way to give the impression that you are responsible with your regular cleaning chores, even if you aren’t.

5. Improves your mood.

Nothing puts us off more than smelling something unpleasant, like our aforementioned guests who just used our bathroom after eating our dinner of liver and onions.


But we don’t have to put up with all those nasty smells if we come prepared. Get an air freshener in the right room (definitely in the bathroom first!), and you won’t be subject to gross smells that smell foul and put you into a foul mood.

Getting a whiff of a pleasant smell in our car, our bathroom, our kitchen, or anywhere, is a great way to remind ourselves to relax and chill out. “Ocean Breeze” sounds like a great relaxation scene, doesn’t it? Or how about lavender and vanilla? Vanilla is one of my favorite scents in the whole wide world.

My point is: Sometimes we just need that extra little boost, and a good scent in the air can do that. It might not be as good as smelling Mom’s fresh chocolate chip cookies (I don’t think there is an air freshener with that scent yet), but it can be the second best thing.

6. Long-lasting fragrance.

A good air freshener can last for weeks, or sometimes even months. And when they run out, some versions are very easy to refill or replace the cartridge, to keep your preferred scent lasting for as long as you want.

Plugging in an air freshener is about 100x easier than scrubbing and vacuuming. And the worst part of cleaning up is that often times, a bad odor will linger around for days after anyways. An air freshener can produce the long-lasting positive scent that you wish your regular cleaning efforts would produce, but don’t always do.

7. You don’t have to put up with other people’s smells. Eww!

I already mentioned that your guests will appreciate a good air freshener, especially in traditionally smelly parts of your house like the bathroom.

But you’ll appreciate it too. Imagine having a guest come over and leave a nasty stinker in your toilet. It’s a gross thing to even talk about, but in reality it happens all the time. Especially in cases where you have a friend or relative staying in the guest bedroom for a few nights. They’re going to use the bathroom eventually, right?

Some people also use air fresheners in their office or cubicle at work. Especially in places where you have to deal with smells like your coworkers who have bad body odor. Or maybe they like to eat Indian curry every day at lunch time, and you can’t stand the smell.

8. Cheaper than an air purifier.

Many people use an expensive air purifier to clean the air in their house.

This might be important for getting rid of allergens. But what if you just want a pleasant smell? You probably don’t want to spend several hundred dollars just to make your house smell a little better, right?

Many different types of air fresheners are available for only $5 to $10.

9. Controllable scent settings

Air fresheners of days gone by were pretty simple. You plug it in, and it starts emitting the scent continuously, until it goes empty.

But today, air fresheners have a few more options. One of the most common ones is a control slider that lets you decide how intense the scent is going to be.

This is great because it gives you versatility. Maybe you want just a tiny whiff of fresh scent in your living room, but you need a really strong scent in your kitchen. Or maybe you just used the bathroom and you want to turn the scent controller way up, to cover up the smell for a few hours.

You might also want to increase the intensity of your air freshener in larger rooms that require more chemicals to spread out and freshen the whole room.

10. A nice decoration.

You can get a simple electric air freshener that just emits odors. But some people like to do more than that.

Nowadays there are tons of cute little air freshener options that you can use to decorate your home.

From bags of spices, to bowls of scented bark. You can find a lot of cute options for setting on your bathroom sink, your coffee table, or your bedroom end table.

Air Fresheners – Disadvantages

We’ve covered almost all the good stuff about air fresheners. But the bad stuff is yet to come.

While I personally have never had problems with air fresheners, there are certainly people who do have complaints. Below, I’ll list them all, so you can decide for yourself if the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.

1. Fills your air with unnatural chemicals.

Okay, this doesn’t apply to all air fresheners. There are certainly natural options for creating nice scents in your home, like having bags of natural spices displayed on your coffee table.

But pretty much all electric air fresheners that you plug into a wall outlet are going to contain synthetic chemicals that are used to help spread the scent around the room.

Even some air fresheners that claim to use natural scents still employ the use of other chemicals which help to increase the potency of that natural scent.

I personally am not creeped out about inhaling synthetic chemicals from air fresheners. After all, all sorts of great inventions in our lives are based on using synthetic chemicals that were designed in a laboratory to achieve a specific purpose.

But some people do have complaints about these chemicals, for more reasons that I will list below.

2. Can trigger your asthma.

Some people with a history of asthma complain that the synthetic chemicals from electric air fresheners, and some spray bottle air fresheners, can trigger their asthma.

If you suffer from asthma, you definitely want to experiment and see if you can handle these chemicals before plugging in an air freshen into every room in your house.

And if you’re having a guest over that has asthma, consider turning off your electric air freshener before they get to your house.

3. And other allergies too.

It’s not just asthma.

Some people complain that the artificial scents and chemicals produced by various types of air freshener can trigger sneezing or watery eyes.

I personally have never been that sensitive. Sometimes I don’t like the smell of a certain scent, but I have never actually started sneezing because of one.

Some people are just more sensitive than others. You’ll have to try it out yourself to see how you hold up.

4. Not a replacement for cleaning up.

Let’s be honest. One of the biggest reasons we use air fresheners is because we don’t want to actually do the work of scrubbing and cleaning every little bit of our house as often as it probably needs to be cleaned.

This is especially true in the bathroom. Why clean your bathroom when you can just cover up the odor with a nice air freshener?

Well, that’s probably a bad attitude to take in life, especially considering that a bad odor can be indicative of mold or germs that some people would find repulsing.

Making your bathroom smell nice is certainly not the same thing as scrubbing the mold out of the shower, that’s for sure.

5. Not free – needs to be replaced continuously.

Air fresheners work by putting out a pleasant scent via a chemical that spreads through the air.

Whether natural or synthetic, this chemical source will eventually run out. This is true whether you are using wall outlet electric air fresheners with synthetic chemicals, or all natural bags of fresh spice with natural chemicals.

Replacing cartridges in your electric air freshener, or bags of all-natural spices, or even just the air freshener that’s hanging in your car, costs a little bit of money.

And if you want to keep replacing it, month after month, it will eventually cost a handful of money.

Now, maybe that’s worth it. I would certainly say that it may be worth bringing out the air fresheners when you have guests. But maybe you don’t want to pay for a new air freshener refill every month or two throughout the entire year.

The choice of how you spend your money, is yours.

6. Doesn’t get rid of odors – just covers them up.

This goes hand-in-hand with the point about air fresheners not being a replacement for really cleaning up.

Sure, an air freshener might be necessary after a bad trip to the bathroom. Maybe you just need a few hours of fresh scent to cover up a temporary bad smell.

But in many instances, this is not the case. If our car smells bad, it probably needs a nice deep vacuuming and scrubbing with water and cleaning chemicals on the seats or floors that will actually get the odor-producing materials out of the fabric.

The same is true in our bathroom. If your shower smells bad because of mold, the last thing you want to do is let it continue to keep growing by just hiding the smell with an air freshener.

In the case of scented chemical cleaning sprays, you might actually be able to get rid of the stuff that’s causing the odors. I know that many air freshening chemicals do claim to “abolish nasty odor-causing germs” and stuff like that.

In some cases it’s true, but not for all air fresheners, especially the type that are not used for cleaning and scrubbing but just for emitting a scent.

7. Takes up a wall outlet.

A small but relevant point. Sometimes, you need to plug in your electric razor, your electric tooth brush, and your hair dryer, all into the same bathroom outlet. But there’s an electric air freshener already taking up one of the outlets.

I know this is a small, nit-picky type of complaint. But sometimes an outlet air freshener just gets in the way. Consider using non-outlet air freshener if your outlet space is limited.

8. Could be bad for children and pets.

Just like the artificial smells coming from your air freshener can cause asthma or allergies to you, they can also cause it to young toddlers, and even to your pets.

But the problem is that your toddler and your pet can’t tell you what’s wrong.

when you install a new air freshener, make sure that you keep an eye on your toddler’s behavior, or your animal’s behavior.

If either of them start acting weird, or exhibiting strange new behavior like coughing or wheezing, consider ditching the air freshen to see if the strange behavior goes away.

Some people are also worried about the choking hazard. You don’t want your air freshener to be swallowed and choked on by either your kid or your dog. Be sure to keep in somewhere out of reach of both of them.

9. You might get unlucky with the smell.

Most air fresheners are designed to be strong enough to cover up bad smells.

But every once in awhile, you might run into a situation where the good scent of the air freshener combines with a bad scent in your house (such as from cooking certain foods), and the resulting combination produces something that’s just plain gross.

Be sure to test out your new scent to make sure this isn’t the case.

10. Environmentally unfriendly.

This doesn’t apply to all air fresheners. Some natural ones come in the form of a bowl of spice, or a scented candle, or a bag of scented tree bark.

But as for electric air fresheners, there’s no denying that they are just another piece of plastic that’s going to end up in the landfill sooner or later.

There’s also concern about the synthetic chemicals in these devices. I don’t know how much damage they could really do to the natural world, but it’s probably safe to say they certainly won’t make the environment better off than they were before.

The best way to avoid environmental damage is with proper disposal of your air freshener once you’re done with it. Don’t let it end up as littler – throw it away in the proper trash or recycling so that the artificial substances can at least be contained. properly.


There you have it. The advantages, and disadvantages, of air fresheners.

What do you think? Are they worth using? Do you prefer electric, or all natural?

Did I miss any good or bad points about them?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.