Can Air Fresheners Explode? Get the Facts

Can Air Fresheners Explode

Air fresheners are a popular household and car accessory for masking unpleasant odors and improving indoor air quality

However, there are some potential risks and safety concerns with air fresheners that should be considered. 

Air fresheners have been known to explode in rare cases, causing property damage and injury. 

In this article, we will look at the possibility of air freshener explosions, the causes of air freshener explosions, and how to prevent and avoid air freshener explosions. 

We will also discuss alternative air freshener options that do not pose an explosion risk, as well as tips on how to use air fresheners safely in your home and car.

Lets answer the question, can air fresheners explode?

Can Air Fresheners Explode?

Yes. air fresheners can explode.  While most air fresheners are safe to use and do not pose any risk, there are rare circumstances in which air fresheners have exploded. These explosions include the bursting of spray cans or the overheating of plug in air fresheners.

Furthermore, different manufacturers have previously recalled their products due to the risk of explosion. A good example is the 8-ounce cans of AirWick Fresh New Day aerosol air fresheners. They were recalled due to a missing corrosion inhibitor. With a missing corrosion inhibitor, the metal can can easily explode leading to injuries and risk of irritation.

Why Do Air Fresheners Explode?

There are several reasons why air fresheners may explode. Here they are;

Malfunctioning heating element

This applies to plug in air fresheners. If the heating element starts malfunctioning, the air freshener is exposed to high temperatures.  This causes the air freshener to overheat, and potentially explode. 

Exposure to open flames

Aerosol sprays are at a risk of explosion if exposed to open flames such as lit cigarettes.  This is because they are highly flammable due to the compressed gas used to disperse the fragrance. 

Defects in the manufacturing and design of the air freshener

Sometimes  the design of air fresheners can lead to explosions. A good example is the recall of AirWick Fresh New Day aerosol air fresheners. They were recalled due to a missing corrosion inhibitor.

How To Avoid An Air Freshener Explosion

To avoid air freshener explosions, it’s crucial to follow proper handling and safety instructions, and use caution when using air fresheners. Here are some easy ways of preventing air freshener explosions. 

Keep air fresheners in a cool location  

This applies to air fresheners that use electrical heating elements to disperse fragrance such as plug-ins.  They should not be placed in areas prone to high temperatures such as in direct sunlight or near a radiator.

Avoid using air fresheners near open flames 

This includes cigarettes, candles, and other sources of open flame. Aerosol air fresheners, in particular, are at risk of explosion when exposed to open flames due to the highly flammable nature of the compressed gas used to propel the fragrance.

Follow proper handling instructions

Make sure to read and follow the instructions provided with your air freshener. This may include recommendations on how to properly store and use the air freshener to prevent overheating or other accidents.

Consider alternative air freshener options

If you are concerned about the potential risks associated with air fresheners, you may want to consider alternative options that do not pose the risk of explosion. These options may include natural, non-aerosol air fresheners such as reed diffusers for essential oil diffusers.

Air Freshener Options That Will Never Explode

If you’re too concerned about the potential risks associated with air freshener explosions, there are alternative options which do not pose the risk. They include;

Reed diffusers: they use reeds to diffuse essential oils into the air, eliminating odors and freshening up the air. They don’t use compressed gas or electric heating elements to disperse the fragrance making them a safer alternative to plugins and sprays.

Essential oil diffusers: they use water and essential oils to create a mist that is dispersed into the air. They don’t need an electrical heating element to disperse the fragrance.

Natural non aerosol sprays: these use natural ingredients and do not rely on compressed gas to disperse the fragrance. They are a much safer alternative to traditional aerosol sprays ad do not pose an explosion risk. 

Can Air Fresheners Cause A Car To Explode?

Yes, air fresheners can cause car explosions. In Halifax, UK, a driver blew his car when he lit a cigarette after spraying too much air freshener. You can watch the news here :

That being said, cases of car explosions due to air fresheners are rare, and often the result of other factors. In most cases, car explosions will be as a result of mechanical issues, or fuel leaks, but not air fresheners. 

However, you still need to take caution when using car air fresheners. Here are some specific precautions to take;

  • Avoid storing air fresheners in hot cars as high temperatures increase the pressure inside an aerosol can, potentially causing it to burst or explode.  Store them in a cool location and avoid leaving them in a hot car.
  • Follow proper handling instructions. They include recommendations on how to properly store and use the air freshener to prevent overheating or other accidents.
  • Consider using alternative air freshener options with low risk of explosion.
  • Avoid smoking in cars if you use air freshener sprays.

What To Do In Case of an Air Freshener Explosion

There’s been an air freshener explosion, what should you do?  It’s important to know what to do to minimize the risk of injury and property damage. If the air freshener explodes:

Stay calm: while it’s tempting to panic, staying calm will help you think clearly and take the necessary steps to resolve the situation.

Evacuate the area: if the air freshener explosion occurs in an enclosed space such as a car or a room, immediately leave the area. If it occurs near a naked flame, turn off the flame and move to a safe location.

Call for help: Call 911 for emergency assistance if the explosion resulted in injuries or significant property damage. Even if the explosion was minor and caused no injuries or property damage, you should still report it to the manufacturer or your local fire department for further investigation.

Secure the area: Take steps to secure the area once you are safely away from the explosion site to prevent further accidents or injuries. Turning off any heat sources or open flames, such as a stove or cigarettes, and closing windows and doors to prevent the spread of any potential fumes are examples of precautions.

Is It OK To Leave Air Fresheners Plugged In?

Yes. generally, it’s safe to leave plug in air fresheners plugged in as long as they are used and handled correctly.  Here are some air freshener safety precautions when using plug in air fresheners.

  • Follow proper handling instructions such as how to properly store and use the air fresheners to avoid overheating.
  • Avoid placing the air freshener near flammable materials
  • Replace the air freshener if it becomes damaged

Are Air Fresheners Flammable?

Yes. air fresheners are flammable. However this depends on the type of air fresheners and the ingredients used.  Aerosol sprays that include compressed gases such as butane or propane are highly flammable and can ignite when exposed to open flames hence leading to explosions.

Here is a guide on the flammability of air fresheners and safety tips.

What Should You Avoid In Air Fresheners?

When purchasing air fresheners, you should be concerned about the potential health risks and environmental impacts. Some of the ingredients to avoid include

  • Phthalates: used to make fragrances last longer. They have negative health effects, including hormonal disruption and reproductive issues.
  • Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs): These chemicals are emitted by certain products and can have negative effects on indoor air quality.
  • Artificial fragrances: Some air fresheners contain synthetic fragrances that may be made from a variety of chemicals. These fragrances may cause allergic reactions or irritation in some people.

How To Dispose Of Air Freshener

Proper disposal of air fresheners is critical to avoiding potential environmental impacts and ensuring your own and others’ safety. There are a few steps you can take to ensure that you dispose of an air freshener safely and responsibly:

Follow proper disposal instructions: This may include recommendations on whether the air freshener can be disposed of in the trash or if it requires special handling.

Check with your local waste management agency: Your local waste management agency may have specific guidelines on how to dispose of air fresheners. 

Recycle if possible: Check with your local recycling center to see if they accept air fresheners and aerosol cans.

Consider alternative disposal options:If your local waste management agency does not offer special disposal options for air freshener, you may want to consider alternative options. For example, you could recycle the container or donate it to a local art or craft supply store.

What Next?

Finally, it is critical to exercise caution when using air fresheners to avoid the risk of explosion or other accidents.

If an air freshener explodes, it is critical to remain calm, evacuate the area, call for assistance if necessary, and secure the area to reduce the risk of injury and property damage. 

You can help to avoid potential accidents and ensure the safe and responsible use of air fresheners in your home or car by following these steps.