Splat! Green Girl Whacks Air Fresheners

So I’m not the cleanest person in the world. OK, understatement, I am so far from the cleanest person in the world that I may, in fact, be the messiest. I thought my high school bedroom was bad, but it is no match for my dorm room.

With laundry so expensive and the workload so high, things get out of hand. There are books strewn everywhere. There are so many old papers on my desk that there’s not even room for my laptop. My chair is used more for jacket storage than sitting. There are so many clothes piled on the floor that you can literally see the point where my side ends and my roommate’s begins.

Now, I am certainly not the only messy college student. Most of my friends (except for the abnormally neat ones) face the same issues. Of course, between the dirty clothes, snack food remnants and body heat, a minuscule dorm room can start to get a not-so-lovely odor.

I walked into my friends’ room a few weeks ago only to be bombarded by the scent of “sweet apples and roses,” their attempt to mask the odor of their 18-year-old male selves. Oh, the wonder of plug-in air fresheners. Only, not so much.

First of all, the unforeseen power of a tiny air freshener in their minuscule dorm room was nearly suffocating. That was clear. What was not so clear to them, however, was the danger of these sweet apples and roses.

Personally, when I smell an air freshener my head immediately begins to ache and rightfully so. These synthetically perfumed air “fresheners” actually do exactly the opposite. They emit chemicals that, when mixed with ozone, create a toxic living environment. In turn, this toxic environment has been shown to cause headaches, depression, hormonal imbalance and reproductive problems.

In other words, this is clearly not the best way to hide that odor that becomes so prevalent in the college dorm room. Instead, try opening the windows or using a non-toxic freshener from the health food store. I have one that is scented with real lavender oil (not that fake stuff in commercial air fresheners), which is great for relaxation.

Note to self: Say no to Glade.

Lily Berthold-Bond grew up in a chemical-free zone and has struggled her whole life to understand and accept this non-commercial lifestyle. Now a freshman at Tufts University, she has embraced her green life and hopes to share its possibilities with the rest of her generation.

By Lily Berthold-Bond


Past Member
Dolly Navina L4 years ago


Viola Horne
Viola Horne5 years ago

Try using wax tarts scented with essential oils, like the ones at www.godscountrybotanicals.com for use in dorms. No flame, like candles, just pure, good-for-you fragrances. Lemon helps you remember things you studied while cinnamon keeps you alert and smells like Mom's baking. Yum!

Alicia Nuszloch
Alicia N6 years ago

Great work, Green Girl, so awesome ..... !!!!! At home, we use oil burner.

gail d.
gail dair6 years ago


Dorina V.
Doreen V6 years ago

While I don't advise to leave them plugged in when you aren't home, house fires from plug-ins...well you can read on: http://www.snopes.com/inboxer/household/glade.asp

I love reed infusers myself.


Warning!.. Did you all see the latest worry about plug-in air fresheners? Apparantly they have been the cause of some house fires! Yet another reason to use natural essential oils as a healhy alternative!


Warning!... Did you all see the latest worry about plug-in air fresheners? Apparantly, they have sometimes been the cause of house fires!!.. One more reason for the good old natural essential oil alternatives!

Abo Ahmed r.
Abo r6 years ago


Corey N.
Corey N.6 years ago


Corey N.
Corey N.7 years ago