With New Air Care Line, Method Bids Adieu to the Aerosol Can

Image: Method.

Having previously conquered dryer sheets, Method, San Francisco-based purveyor of attractive products to wash your hands and clean your countertops with, has now set out to revolutionize another domestic staple with a dubious ecological profile: air fresheners.

Like dryer sheets, air fresheners are one of those things that consumers can easily do without. And many of us do, choosing to eliminate offensive odors — via strategically placed bowls of white vinegar and/or baking soda, activated charcoal, open windows, etc. — rather than masking them with candles, plug-in doodads, and cloying aerosol sprays that make your home smell like a bakery exploded in your living room or someone vomited up a bouquet of freesias.

Still, the $5.9 billion “air care” market is a massive one; folks just can’t get enough of synthetic scents whether they’re employing them on the regular or only breaking them out on special occasions (wet dogs, fish dinners, Grandpa Al's cigar fumes wafting indoors from the patio, etc.).

While not the first company to do so, Method is now offering a line of spray air fresheners — Air Refreshers, to be exact — that rely on compressed air (“revolutionary air pressurized air technology” per a press release) instead of the petroleum-derived propellants found in aerosol products. Offering a “cleaner way to spray,” Method Air Refreshers only release fragrance from the bottle’s airtight chamber when spritzed, not a drippy mix of fragrance and chemical propellants as aerosol sprays do.

Designed to attract consumers that may normally shy away from aerosol products, the Air Refreshers are pure Method: fun, colorful, pleasing to the nose, and dressed up in innovative packaging — the recyclable see-through bottle sports a nifty loop where the cap would normally be — that’s meant to be proudly displayed, not shoved under the kitchen sink.

Despite the commendable step of doing away with chemical propellants and aluminum cans, the fragrance — the five “inspired by nature” scents include Fresh Clover, Sweet Tangerine, Beach Sage, Wild Poppy, and French Lavender — found within each nifty-looking bottle is just that: “fragrance.”

Manufacturers, Method included, are not required to disclose what exactly “fragrance,” aka the mystery meat of consumer products, consists of. Generally, it’s a heady synthetic brew of indoor air-polluting petrochemicals capable of triggering asthma, allergic reactions, and other health woes.

But this being Method, there’s a refreshing and very-much-appreciated level of transparency involved. Like with its other products lines, the company provides consumers with information as to what ingredients are used to magically mimic the aroma of, for example, lavender. In the case of the Air Refresher line, it’s a phthalate- and “dirty ingredient”-free blend of essential oils and “partly synthetic ingredients” that have been tested skin and respiratory irritation. Furthermore, the fragrance is nontoxic and non-carcinogenic.

Along with fragrance, the other ingredients found in Method Air Refreshers are biodegradable and/or nontoxic and have been tested by scientists at McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry (MBDC). All Method products are Cradle to Cradle Certified and are not tested on animals.

Method had previously offered an expansive range of air care products previously including scented soy candles, plug-ins, diffusers, and spray “air enhancers.' Much to the dismay of rabid Method junkies, the line was officially discontinued in 2010 so that the company could further concentrate on its core cleaning product lines.

Although I’m not one to use scents in my own home (I kicked the scented candle habit a couple years back and, with a few exceptions, use unscented everything), I had the chance to give Method Air Fresheners a test spritz. I immediately gravitated toward Fresh Clover. It smells as advertised — like fresh cut grass — and was pleasing to the nose. It packs a fragrant punch without being overwhelming or outstaying its welcome. Although it won't become a much-grabbed for fixture in my apartment, I’m definitely going to be keeping it around for the next salmon dinner night.

The entire Method Air Refresher line is available exclusively at Target. The 6.9-oz bottles retail for $4.99 a pop.