The Green RV: DIY Healthy Scents for Your RV

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DIY Healthy Scents for Your RV

The Green RV: DIY Healthy Scents for Your RV

Scent is important. We tie it to special memories, use it to relax after a tough day, and infuse it through out homes to make our environment smell better. We use air fresheners, wax melts, potpourri, and candles to bring those scents into our homes – and our RVs. Unfortunately, the majority of those products that line the store shelves (and smell so good) are laden with toxic, harmful chemicals that can actually make you sick – very sick.

Related Read: 10 ways Your RV could be Making you Sick (and what to do about it)

Paraffin, an ingredient in most scented candles and wax melts, is a waste product of petroleum. It has to be chemically bleached and deodorized before it can be made into wax. When it is burned it emits toluene and benzene which is highly toxic. In fact, both are known carcinogens. Petro-soot is considered to be as harmful as second hand smoke.

And then there’s the wicks. Candles manufactured and sold in the United States are supposed to have paper or cotton wicks. However, there have been several studies conducted that have found an alarming 30 percent of candle wicks contain heavy metals. If you get candles made in other countries, that number increases. This means that when you burn them they release high levels of airborne heavy metals. We’re not talking about minute traces either. A candle that has a wick with a lead core releases high amounts of lead, five times what is deemed hazardous for children. It also exceeds the outdoor air pollution standards set by the EPA.

On top of all this, the dyes and scents that are used by many candles release harmful chemicals into your home – and into your family’s lungs. And just what are those chemicals? Well, for starters: Acetone, 2-Butanone, Carbon Disulfide, Carbon Tetrachloride, Chlorobenzene, Cresol, Cyclopentene, Ethylbenzene, Phenol,. Styrene, Tetrachloroethene, Trichlorofluoromethane, Trichloroethane, Trichloroethene, and Xylene.

Basically, air fresheners, scented candles, and wax melts are air pollution.

Exposure to these chemicals have been linked to neurological issues, learning disabilities, hormone disruption, asthma, behavioral problems, respiratory conditions, and a lengthy list of health problems.

Related Read: Surviving a Cold or Flu in your RV

Healthy Alternatives for Scented Candles
Some people turn to soy based candles as a healthier option. The problem with that is that most soy is genetically modified. There are better alternatives; beeswax is an exceptional one. They are safe to burn in your home, but have the added benefit of helping to actually clean the air in your home or RV. Bluecorn Naturals has some nice beeswax candles with natural scents.

The cool thing about RVs is that they are small spaces so it doesn’t take a lot to make them smell good. I have a tiny crockpot and I use it to create wonderful air fresheners. I put a little water in the pot and add some orange or lemon slices (with the peel) and a couple of sticks of cinnamon. Sometimes I cut a few pieces of apple and add cinnamon, cloves, or allspice. I also like to cut a few pieces of ginger and maybe add some slices of lemon or a couple of bags of tea (I love that tea smell). I try different combinations of herbs, spices (rosemary is great for helping you maintain focus), and fruits. Get creative and try different combinations.

Related Read: 10 Helpful RV Hacks Every RVer Should Know

It is also nice to add some essential oil. During cold season or when allergies are bad I like to put a few drops of eucalyptus oil in the crock pot, along with a few slices of lemon. It clears your head and keeps you breathing easy.

If you want to make beeswax melts, the Measuring Flower site has great directions and offers several wonderful recipes using essential oils (that you can also use for your candles).

You can also make your own beeswax scented candles for your RV. Wellness Mama has great instruction for making a basic beeswax candle (you can add your own essential oil blend). Aromahead also has some good instructions along with a great video tutorial.

You can make your own essential oil air freshener too. The Prairie Homestead has instructions along with 10 great essential oil blends.

Finally, some essential oils that make great air fresheners are cedarwood, cinnamon, lemon, pine, lavender, peppermint, clove, mandarin, real vanilla extract, wild orange, frankincense and myrrh. A blend of cinnamon, geranium, and mandarin is nice. The Organic Authority has some too.

Related Read: Natural Cleaning Products for the RV

You don’t have to rely on commercial products to freshen the air in your RV and make it smell great. There are plenty of DIY options. Have you ever made your own air fresheners or candles? If so, share your recipes!

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Stephanie A. Mayberry


Stephanie A. Mayberry

Stephanie A. Mayberry escaped the hustle and bustle of city life in Washington, D.C. where she worked as an analyst, FOIA officer, and technical writer for the U.S. federal government to pursue her first love, freelance writing, full time. She has been a writer, author, public speaker, and photographer for more than 25 years; now she, her husband, and little dog Gizmo enjoy the laid back lifestyle as RV full-timers going wherever the wind takes them. Learn more about Stephanie at

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