While they might have exotic names like citrus bamboo and leave your kitchen and bathroom smelling like a fresh flower bed, those plug-in air fresheners can do serious damage to the interior of your home if you aren’t careful.

Air Freshener Plug-Ins Can Peel Away PaintYes, those tiny, barely noticeable plug-ins have the power to strip paint and completely ruin a refinishing job. Something we unfortunately found out first hand.

It started when one of our customers noticed the paint on a recent refinishing project was dissolving in certain areas. After letting us know what happened and doing some further investigating on the matter, we found an answer. The paint-peeling culprit turned out to be air freshener juice from a nearby plug-in.  And although the leak was small, just a few drops had been all that was needed to cause serious problems.

This was enough to drive us to do some research on plug-in air fresheners, what’s in them, and report these findings to our customers. Here’s what we found:

♦ Plug-in air fresheners contain methylene chloride.  As many of us know, methylene chloride is common in paint strippers. It’s no wonder those few drops ate away the paint job. Never use an air freshener near a newly refinished surface.

♦ A single fragrance in a product can contain a mixture of hundreds of chemicals. And it’s important to understand how they might interact with products and materials in homes.

♦ Different scents are made with different chemicals. The most commonly detected chemicals are limonene, common in citrus fragrances and pinene responsible for pine scents.

♦ Information regarding air fresheners is neither reported on very often nor publicized to the public. The last official report was published 10 years ago. This means it is important to conduct your own outside research on possible reactions air fresheners might have with newly refinished surfaces and other things inside your home. It also means report any unusual things you might experience with NAPCO and others. That way, we can better ensure the quality of our services and safety of all our refinishing contractors and their clients.

While air fresheners come in all different shapes and sizes, all of which make the air smell good, it is important to be mindful of the ways in which these scent sprayers can impact your home and your refinishing work. Plug-in air fresheners contain methylene chloride and can ruin newly refinished products. Even the slightest leak can leave your new paint and refinishing job a complete mess. As a point of caution, never use any air fresheners, especially plug-ins, near refinished surfaces.