Most everyone you ask would agree that having a home that always smells fresh is a good thing. C and I have used Wallflowers in the past to freshen up places like the bathroom. But, when I found out that the liquids in Wallflowers (and other liquid-based, commercially-produced air fresheners) contain VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds), I wanted to stop using them immediately. But I didn’t. In truth, I liked the way they smelled, and I hadn’t found a good alternative. Unfortunately, the more I researched about VOCs, the more I realized they weren’t something to mess with.
Why are VOCs bad? Because, according to The Daily Green,
[e]ven at low levels, these chemicals can cause a number of symptoms. But they sound like symptoms of lots of things, so it can be hard for a doctor to narrow it down to VOCs. Common symptoms include fatigue, headaches, skin and eye irritation, tingling or numbness in the extremities, drowsiness and dizziness.
You can even find the EPA chiming in on VOCs dangers. Also according to the Environmental Working Group, VOCs can also contribute to cancer, birth defects and infertility.
So is our fresh-smelling house really worth all of those problems? Do I really want to risk our health and the possibility of our future family on a scent?
So what’s a good solution? Making your own, of course! Frugal and healthy!
The idea is to take an old Wallflower (this does require having a plug-in unit and an empty bulb) and fill the bulb with essential oil and water – therefore creating your own refill mixture.
Here’s how you do it:
- Unscrew the old bulb and remove the wick. This was my LEAST favorite part. The instructions I read made it sound easy peasy. Just pop the wick out. Right? Wrong. This step alone took me twenty minutes. I had to slide the flat head screwdriver under the plastic and pry it up, once I got it halfway, I used pliers to get it out. Let’s just say this step left me with blisters.
- Rinse out the bulb and rinse off the wick. Ours still smelled like the old scent, so I washed it a lot. and squeezed out the wick the best I could. Wash, squeeze, repeat. And then I dried them off the best I could, and squeezed excess water out of the wick with a paper towel. Even after all of this, it still smelled a little like the old scent, but was a lot less concentrated and will dissipate with time.
- Put desired essential oil in bulb. I used lavender for this, partially because it’s what I have on hand. If this works the way I want, I might branch out with some citrus essential oils. I filled the bulb up with about 1/4 inch of oil. The original blog post I got this from said to use more, but lavender is expensive.
- Fill the bulb the rest of the way with water. Fill to JUST BELOW the widest part at top! Do not overfill, remember that the wick being reinserted will displace some of the liquid, and you would hate to waste essential oils!
- Reinsert the wick. (My second least favorite part, it took me nearly as long as getting the wick out.) Make sure to apply pressure evenly, directly from the top as this will let it pop back in place. Wiggling it from side to side to get in doesn’t work. Neither does lightly hammering all the way around. Prayers did seem to help though
- Screw the refilled bulb back into the Wallflower unit. Plug in and enjoy the fresh scent!
So after all this is finished, I do really like the natural lavender scent emanating from our bathroom, but I do wish I had been cautioned about the process. If you are going to try this, just make sure you are aware that that wick sure doesn’t want to come out! It will eventually, but it does take some time. If you have any tips to get the wick out and in faster, I’ll appreciate it!
But, in the end, it’s a teeny tiny sacrifice to make when we’re talking about the health of our families.