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parrot safe air fresheners

Is Air Freshener Safe for Parrots? [Toxic vs. Non-Toxic Substances]

Parrots have a sensitive respiratory system. Any odors, fumes, or scents can carry toxic compounds that cause illness and death. So, ensure your pet isn’t exposed to any dangerous aerosols.

Commercial air fresheners contain chemicals that are highly toxic for parrots. When inhaled, they can cause seizures, paralysis, or death. However, there are safe and natural alternatives with pleasant aromas that aren’t harmful to the respiratory system of parrots.

While keeping your house smelling fresh can be challenging if you have pet birds, it’s possible to do so with the right products.

Can Air Freshener Kill Parrots?

According to the Journal of Avian Medicine and Surgery, parrots have delicate respiratory systems that are highly susceptible to irritation and illness.

Any strong scents can trigger adverse reactions that can be fatal. For this reason, pet owners are advised to avoid spraying scented products or burning any product that may be harmful to birds.

Most pet owners understand how difficult it can be to keep a house clean and fresh without using cleaning supplies or scented air fresheners.

However, since standard air fresheners are detrimental to a parrot’s respiratory system, you may want to consider using air freshening remedies that are non-toxic and safe.

Is Glade Safe Around Parrots?

While Glade products are typically marketed as non-toxic air fresheners, they contain chemicals that can harm parrots.

The aerosol room sprays and fragrances found in Glade air fresheners contain potentially toxic compounds, including:

  • Polyethylene glycol (PEG)
  • Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
  • Methylisothiazolinone

Given the fragile respiratory systems of parrots, exposure to these compounds can have fatal consequences. So, you should avoid using these aerosol air fresheners around birds.

can air freshener kill birds?

Which Air Fresheners Are Harmful to Parrots?

Air fresheners come in various types, including air fan vents, essential oil diffusers, plug-ins, and aerosols. When choosing the ideal air freshener to use in your home, you must ensure that it’s not toxic.

Some of the air fresheners and scents that are dangerous to parrots include:

Essential Oils

Many people use essential oils for their therapeutic, soothing, relaxing, and restorative properties. Some are even effective in managing anxiety and depression in parrots.

Unfortunately, not all essential oils are safe when inhaled or ingested. Here are common essential oils you should avoid using around your pet:

Peppermint Oil

Peppermint has a potent aroma, so it’s used as an ingredient in rodent and insect repellents. Unfortunately, peppermint is among the scents that can harm your parrot’s respiratory system.

Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is one of the worst essential oils for parrots since it causes severe illness upon contact.

In one case published in BMC Veterinary Research, a cockatiel suffered serious liver damage and neutropenia after being exposed to only a few drops of tea tree oil.

Cinnamon Oil

Cinnamon oil has a strong smell that makes it ideal for repelling pests.

However, the smell can irritate a parrot’s respiratory system, so you should never use it in a diffuser around your pet.

Citronella Oil

Citronella is another essential oil used in diffusers to improve the scent of houses. Unfortunately, the aroma of this oil is too strong for most parrots to tolerate.

Parrots have a fragile lung membrane that is sensitive to intense fragrances. As a result, when they inhale an undiluted essential oil as potent as citronella, they may struggle to breathe and die.

Aerosol Air Fresheners

Aerosols are air fresheners sprayed as minute liquid droplets from a pressurized container. Usually, they’re made from a blend of chemicals that give off a distinct scent, and in most cases, these compounds are completely unnatural.

All fragrances in the aerosol category of sprays are toxic to your parrot. Some of the most common aerosols include canned air fresheners, deodorant sprays, and hairsprays. Commercial insecticides also fall under this class of hazardous aerosols that can cause your parrot to fall sick or die.

Therefore, you should avoid using these products. If you have to use them, never spray them in the same room as your parrot since doing so poses a grave danger to its health.


Incense has an aroma that most people find uplifting and therapeutic.

However, parrots dislike incense since it releases smoke when it’s burnt. This puts an enormous strain on a parrot’s respiratory system and may cause severe lung and air sac damage.

Avoid burning incense (scented or otherwise) in the presence of your parrot.

Scented Candles

While scented candles are less dangerous for parrots than other air fresheners, they’re not risk-free.

There are two main things you should consider when using scented candles to improve the scent of your house if you have a pet parrot. These are as follows:

  • How far the candle is from your pet.
  • The kind of scent emitted by the candle.

It’s usually fine if the candle burns far away from the parrot’s cage as long as the smoke doesn’t reach it. Likewise, if the candle has a mild fragrance, it may be safer for your pet.

Nevertheless, it’s still advisable to exercise caution when burning scented candles around your parrot.

Parrot-Safe Air Fresheners

While parrots are sensitive to fragrances, there are still numerous air freshener products you can use in your home without jeopardizing the health and safety of your pet. These include:

Parrot-Safe Essential Oils

Although most essential oils have potent scents that can overwhelm a parrot’s air sacs, there are floral and citrus essential oils that are milder for home use by pet owners, including:

  • Lavender
  • Eucalyptus
  • Geranium
  • Grapefruit
  • Jasmine
  • Bergamot
  • Lemon
bird safe odor eliminator


Potpourri is one of the best ways to freshen the air in your house if you keep a parrot.

You can make potpourri with various fresh-smelling components, including flowers, citrus slices, spices, and parrot-safe essential oils, such as lavender and eucalyptus.

The quickest way to make this natural home-blend air freshener is in the oven:

  1. Select your favorite fragrant flowers, herbs, and spices and place them on parchment paper.
  2. Add a few drops of your desired essential oil and put the mixture inside an oven, setting the temperature to 275 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Allow the potpourri to dry until the flowers are brittle but not burnt.
  4. When the potpourri is ready, douse it with more drops of essential oils and transfer it to a bowl.

Although potpourri is made from natural organic products that aren’t harmful, your parrot might still find the scent unpleasant if it is too strong.

Fortunately, this blend of natural fragrances doesn’t release toxic fumes and loses its scent over time as it cools. So, it won’t cause your parrot respiratory discomfort like commercial aerosols, air fresheners, incense, and strongly-scented candles might.

Aroma Beads

Aroma beads air fresheners are harmless, provided parrots don’t make contact with or swallow them.

Since these products are brightly colored and circular, a parrot can mistake them for seeds and munch on them. This is dangerous since it can cause organ damage.

To be safe, use faintly fragrant fragrance beads and store them in a tightly sealed jar to prevent your parrot from accessing and ingesting them.