Air fresheners are a popular and convenient way to freshen up the scent of a room or car.
However, it is important to understand the potential risks and hazards associated with using air fresheners, particularly when it comes to their flammability.
In this blog post, we will explore the flammability of air fresheners, what makes them flammable, and the potential for them to be explosive.
Let’s start by answering the question, are air fresheners flammable ?
Are Air Fresheners Flammable?
Air fresheners can be flammable. However, not all air fresheners are equally flammable. The flammability of air fresheners depends on two things;
- Specific chemicals used in its formula
- Method of dispersing the fragrance
Some of the most flammable air fresheners are sprays, plugins and scented candles. This is because they contain flammable chemicals as part of the fragrance formula, as solvents or as propellants to help disperse the air fresheners. Flammable ingredients increase the risk of fire if the air fresheners are exposed to open flames or heat.
However, other types of air fresheners such as reed diffusers and gel air fresheners are less flammable. It’s important to read the label, ingredients lists, and instructions, and use caution when using or storing air fresheners to minimize risk of fire.
What Makes Air Fresheners Flammable?
The flammability of air fresheners depend on:
Chemicals used in the formula
Certain types of fragrances, propellants and solvents used in air fresheners are more flammable than others. Some of the most flammable air fresheners contain alcohol based fragrances and solvents as well as hydrocarbon based propellants. Less flammable air fresheners either have water based or silicon based ingredients.
Let’s have a look at the most common chemicals present in air freshener formulas
- Fragrances: they provide the air fresheners with distinctive scents. Can either be natural or synthetic. Can be derived from essential oils, plant extracts or chemical compounds. Some fragrances are more flammable than others.
- Fragrance carriers: substances that help disperse and distribute the fragrance in the air. Can either be alcohol based, water based, or silicone based. Using alcohol based fragrance carriers increases the flammability of the air freshener.
- Solvents: chemicals used to dissolve or suspend fragrances and other ingredients. Solvents such as alcohol are flammable while others such as water or silicon are not.
- Propellants: substances that help disperse the air freshener from the container. Some common types of propellants include pressurized gas which is less flammable. Others use a pump or aerosol valves. Hydrocarbon based propellants such as butane and propane are the most flammable.
Method of dispersion
Air fresheners such as scented candles, and plug in air fresheners that use heat or an open flame are at risk of fire. While pressurized air fresheners are at a lower risk, when exposed to heat, they become a fire hazard.
It’s important to understand the ingredients and ways of storing air fresheners to minimize the risk of fire.
Specific Air Freshener Models and Their Fire Hazards
Let’s look at the different types of air fresheners and the fire hazards associated with them.
- Plugins: use an electric outlet to disperse the fragrance. Are more flammable than others due to the use of electricity and the flammable chemicals used in the fragrance formula. Should be used with caution as improper use or storage can increase the risk of fire.
- Sprays: use a pressurized container to disperse the fragrance. The presence of flammable chemicals in the formula increases the risk of fire. Should be kept away from heat and open flames.
- Scented candles: use an air wick and open flames to disperse the fragrance. Are more flammable than others. They should never be left unattended.
- Beads and reed diffusers: use a porous material to disperse the fragrance in the air. Are less flammable than other types due to lack of open flame or pressurized container.
Are Some Air Fresheners More Flammable Than Others?
Yes. Some air fresheners are more flammable than others. This is due to the specific chemicals used in manufacturing them and also the method of dispersion. Air fresheners that contain alcohol based fragrances or solvents, and/or have hydrocarbon propellants are the most flammable.
Furthermore, if they use open flames, pressurized containers as a method of fragrance dispersion, they’re all highly flammable.
Air fresheners made with natural or plant based ingredients and have no volatile organic compounds (VOCs),are less flammable and have fewer potential health hazards.
Is Febreze Flammable?
The short answer is, Febreze is flammable. However, it depends on which Febreze product as Febreze products vary. Febreze air fresheners that contain propylene glycol, a flammable liquid are likely to cause fire.
However, the concentration of the flammable solvent in Febreze is too low and the risk of causing fire is reduced by the presence of water and other non flammable liquids.
Is glade air freshener spray flammable?
Yes. Some Glade air freshener sprays are highly flammable. They should never be sprayed on open flames, or left near heat sources. Glade air fresheners have been recalled by the company at least once due to the risk of fire and personal injury.
How Can I Protect Myself from Flammable Air Fresheners?
There are several steps you can take to protect yourself from flammable air fresheners and minimize the risk of fire. Here are some tips to minimize risk of fire as a result of air freshener:
- Read the label and ingredient list of the air freshener carefully before purchasing and using it. Go for products made with natural or plant-based ingredients and have minimal or no volatile organic compounds (VOCs), as these may be less flammable and have fewer potential health hazards.
- Use air fresheners as directed and in moderation. Overuse of air fresheners can increase the risk of fire and negative health impacts.
- Store air fresheners away from heat and flames, including cigarettes and open flames such as candles.
- Avoid using air fresheners near heat sources or in poorly ventilated areas, as this can increase the risk of fire.
- Dispose of air fresheners properly when they are no longer needed or when they are past their expiration date.
Are Plug-In Air Fresheners Flammable?
Yes. Some plug in air fresheners are more flammable than other types of air fresheners. This is because they use electricity and may contain flammable chemicals in their fragrance formula. Ingredients such alcohol based fragrances or solvents used to disperse air fresheners are likely to increase the risk of fire.
It is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use caution when using plug-in air fresheners to minimize the risk of fire. Some precautions to consider include:
- Keeping the plug-in air freshener away from heat sources and open flames.
- Using the plug-in air freshener as directed and in moderation. Overuse of the product can increase the risk of fire.
- Disposing of the plug-in air freshener properly when it is no longer needed or when it is past its expiration date.
Is It Safe To Leave Plug-Ins On Overnight?
As already stated, plug in air fresheners do pose a fire risk. It’s not recommended to leave plug in air fresheners on overnight. To reduce the risk of fire, only purchase plug in air fresheners equipped with safety features such as automatic shut off and low voltage heating element to prevent overheating.
Are Air Wick Plug-Ins a Fire Hazard?
Yes. Air Wick plug-ins are a fire hazard. Air wick plug in air fresheners use electric outlets to dispense the fragrance. They work by heating up a fragrance infused wick, releasing the scent into the air. Also, they may contain flammable chemicals in the fragrance formula. One of the common solvents used in air wick plug-ins is propylene glycol, which is classified as a flammable liquid.
However, the risk of Air Wick plug-ins causing fire is reduced by the design of the product. They have safety features such as automatic shut off and low voltage heating element to prevent overheating. Also, the presence of other non flammable ingredients reduces the risk of air wick plug inc causing fire.
Reasons Why Car Air Fresheners Are Flammable?
Car air fresheners can be flammable due to the specific chemicals used in manufacture and also the method of dispersion. Using sprays or plug in air fresheners in your car increases the risk of fire. Other air freshener types such as paper air fresheners, for instance little trees Black ice have no chance of causing fires.
Are Air Fresheners Explosive?
Yes. some air fresheners have the potential to explode. However, the risk of explosion is generally low. Just like the risk of fire, The likelihood of air freshener exploding depends on the chemical used and the pressure inside the container. Pressurized containers such as air freshener sprays are more likely to explode.
Here is a detailed guide on air freshener explosion and how to avoid it.
Other Hazards of Air Fresheners
Apart from fire hazard, air fresheners also have other effects on human health, environment and pets. Some air fresheners contain harmful ingredients such as VOCs and phthalates. These have a negative impact when inhaled or absorbed in the skin.
These chemicals can cause a wide range of health problems including respiratory issues, allergic reaction or hormone disruption. They also lead to air pollution and have a negative impact on indoor air quality.
Air Freshener Safety: What You Need to Know Before Using These Products