Most air fresheners don’t actually refresh the air. Instead, they simply try to overpower odors with chemicals — chemicals that have made headlines for the health risks they carry. And while greener air freshers and bathroom sprays offer safe alternatives to mask odors, I got curious about a newish green product line called Fresh Wave, which promises to eliminate odors altogether — naturally.

Fresh Wave launched a Green Home Kit a couple months ago, which comes with a spray, soy candle, and a “crystal gel” in a jar that you can simply leave open in the room with the offending smell. All three products are scented with natural ingredients — lime, pine needle, aniseed, clove and cedar wood — which, when released, are supposed to absorb and break down funky-smelling molecules, eliminating odors instead of masking over them.

My apartment doesn’t really have an odor problem, simply because my balcony doors and windows are open most of the day, letting in sunshine while letting out any cooking smells. On colder days though, when doors remain shut, the place does start smelling like stale coffee by late afternoon if I forget to clean out my French press after my morning fix.

So I tried keeping Fresh Wave’s Crystal Gel open in my kitchen. The result: Less stale coffee smells, plus intermittent pleasant whiffs of pine and cedar. The “crystals” themselves are made of a biodegradable food grade polymer that expand to hold the natural scents — then shrink as the liquid slowly dissipates.

I’ve tried lighting the candle and using the spray — but because there’s just not that much odor I’m trying to get rid of, I can’t really tell the difference. I definitely can, however, tell that Fresh Wave’s products smell much more natural compared to the strange artificial scents that come out of other products.

So if you’ve got home odors, give Fresh Wave a try to keep your place chemical-free and smelling better. A Green Home Kit costs $29.99, while an 8-ounce jar of just the Crystal Gel costs $8.99.

Of course, I always recommend simply opening windows to air out your home first — something I’m convinced people just don’t do enough of in this air-conditioned city. Let the fresh air in! Even in urban areas, the air outside’s often cleaner than the air inside your home.

Also on MNN: 15 houseplants for improving indoor air pollution

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