Image by/from Ajay Suresh from New York, NY, USA
Febreze is a brand of household odor eliminators manufactured by Procter & Gamble. It is sold in North America, South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand.
The name “Febreze” comes from the words “fabric” and “breeze.” First introduced in test markets in March 1996, the fabric refresher product has been sold in the United States since June 1998, and the line has since branched out to include air fresheners (Air Effects), plug-in oil (Noticeables), scented disks (Scentstories), odor-eliminating candles, and automotive air fresheners.
The product was initially introduced in the UK under the name Fabreeze, but has since changed to Febreze.
In many non-English speaking countries, the products are sold under Ambi pur brand.
The active ingredient in several Febreze products is hydroxypropyl beta-cyclodextrin (HPbCD). The molecule traps and binds volatilized hydrocarbons within its structural ring, retaining malodorous molecules, which reduces their volatility and thus the perception of their scent. The active ingredient is derived from corn. The use of cyclodextrin as a sprayable odor absorber was patented by Procter & Gamble until November 24, 2019.
The products include additional ingredients such as emulsifiers, preservatives, and perfumes. Benzisothiazolinone is a preservative included in some of the products.
There are many types of Febreze branded products. For example, the main Febreze products are air freshener sprays, which are claimed to have a disinfectant effect. There are specialized ones for odor from pets, for cars, and for fabric. Some are aromatic and others are odorless.
In other countries, there are Febreze products for house dust and toilet facilities.
The product, initially marketed as a way to get rid of unpleasant smells, sold poorly until P&G realised that people become accustomed to smells in their own homes, and stop noticing them even when they are overpowering (like the smell of several cats in a single household). The marketing then switched to linking it to pleasant smells and good cleaning habits instead, which resulted in a massive increase in sales. Only after the product became well established in the marketplace did the marketing go back to emphasising odor elimination properties as well.
Veterinary toxicology experts working for the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center consider Febreze fabric freshener products to be safe for use in homes with pet dogs, cats, ferrets, rabbits, and rodents. However, the package labeling indicates that the product is considered not safe around birds, and results from testing with other animals are not indicated.