Think Twice Before Trying TikTok's Air Freshener Hack For A Cleaner-Smelling Home

It's probably safe to assume that everyone wants their home to smell fresh and clean. Some folks, however, take their quest for a scented oasis to the extreme. When typical measures like candles, room sprays, fabric sprays, and good old-fashioned cleaning aren't enough, those scent seekers apparently take to TikTok to share their hacks for supercharging (and reusing) their favorite air freshening products. 

Creators like __Thatgirlllllll have been posting videos depicting a hack that consists of cutting the wicks out of used Air Wick air fresheners and boiling them in a pot of water on the stove to disperse their scent — and get more out of the product for which they already paid. Now, the idea of simmer pots isn't anything new, but simmering wicks is new to us. In fact, how many should you use, according to this hack? In the aforementioned video, __Thatgirlllllll places two used wicks in a pot of water and claims that boiling them will leave your home "smelling amazing." 

As with all things, while the idea of reusing a household product might sound economical, there are other factors to consider before trying this hack. 

The risks of boiling air fresheners

When you disassemble an oil-based air freshener to access the used wick, you potentially expose yourself to abrasive and undiluted essential oils and synthetic scent oils that can cause an unpleasant reaction on your skin, especially if you're allergic to them. According to Duly Health and Care, the "most common allergic reaction" to these oils is called contact dermatitis, and it's a tricky beast because symptoms, which include a rash with the potential of peeling, can take weeks to manifest, though they're instant for some.

These products also contain a number of alcohols, which are highly flammable. "Having these wicks in proximity to other sources of combustion can increase the risk of fire," Dr. Kelly Johnson-Arbor, the National Capital Poison Center's medical director and interim executive director, told Lifehacker of the TikTok trend. Between potential fires and skin concerns, this is one trend you might want to think twice about.

If you'd like a pleasant scent throughout your home in a more natural manner, consider creating a traditional simmer pot. Add aromatics like cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, star anise, vanilla bean pods, citrus peels, halved apples, and herbs to a pot of water, and let the mixture gently simmer. Your home will smell amazing, and you won't be putting your health — or the health of others — at risk to achieve it. Plus, simmer pots can go for hours at a time without their scents fading, so there's really nothing like them.