In a Nutshell:
- If you’re looking for a safer and more eco-friendly alternative to Febreze, I think Grow Fragrance’s Air + Fabric Freshener Sprays are the BEST option to try.
- Grow not only uses 100% plant-based ingredients that are free from toxicants like phthalates, but they also make all of their ingredients very transparent on their website (which is rare for fragrance brands!).
- Plus, they offer a wide variety of scent options. So, whether you prefer warm and cozy scents or you’d like to go for something more light and fruity—they have something for you. (I like pretty much all of the scents I’ve tried so far… and I’ve tried most of them over the past several years!)
- You can read my full Grow Fragrance review below (including pros & cons). If you already know you want to give Grow a try for yourself, you can head right to their website and start shopping.
There are a lot of potentially toxic products around us that we don’t really need…
Consumer goods like fabric softener, nail polish, and scented room sprays commonly contain things like endocrine disruptors, allergens, and carcinogens. But unlike other categories (like food, clothing, or soap) we can easily go without them!
That’s why when someone is first starting out on their low-tox lifestyle, I recommend just cutting out some of these products completely. It’s a really easy way to decrease your exposure to environmental toxicants very quickly (and it can save you some money, too!).
However! I totally get that many folks may not want to give up these types of products because they provide value and enjoyment to their lives. Wearing nail polish can be a fun way to express yourself. Air freshener sprays, scented plug-ins, and candles can create a certain type of mood in your home—from energizing to calming, welcoming, or something else. Smells can create and evoke pleasant memories that can stick with us for the rest of our lives.
And I don’t want to be the Grinch Who Stole Nice-Smelling Things! If you want to keep your candles, fabric sprays, cosmetics, and the rest of it—then go for it.
That’s why I like to provide better options for folks (perhaps like yourself) who love using candles and air fresheners and don’t want to give up. I want to give you safer options so that you can ditch your Febreze spray and Bath & Body Works candles and make the switch to more non-toxic and eco-friendly choices.
One of my favorite brands for fabric and air freshener sprays and candles is Grow Fragrance. And in this article, I’m going to tell you why.
Table of Contents
- Grow Fragrance in a Nutshell
- What Makes Grow Fragrance Different Than Other Air & Fabric Fresheners
- My Personal Grow Fragrance Review
- Where to Buy Grow’s Products
- Pros & Cons of Grow Fragrance
- More FAQs About Grow Fragrance
This article contains affiliate links, which means we may earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase. Keep in mind that policies and available discounts change. All of the below info is correct as of September 2023, but be sure to check Grow’s website for current offers.
Grow Fragrance in a Nutshell
First, let me give you the rundown of what Grow Fragrance is, in case you’re not already familiar with the brand.
Grow is a home fragrance brand that offers:
- Air + Fabric spray fresheners
- Refillable scented candles
- Car air fresheners
All of their products are:
- 100% plant-based (with fully transparent ingredients available right on the website)
- Cruelty-free (Leaping Bunny Certified)
- Made in the USA (They’re a part of the Durham Living Wage Project, which ensures workers are paid living wages and receive healthcare.)
- Free from toxins like phthalates and petrochemicals (more on that in a minute)
They offer a core set of scents year-round, which includes:
- Lavender Blossom
- Cedar Citrus
- Black Currant Rose
- Pomegranate Fig
- Amber Santal
And then they also offer seasonal scents, which are rotated throughout the year. For example, their Limited Edition Fall 2023 scents include:
- Woodland Sage (a brand new scent that customers actually voted on!)
- Pear Cider
- Ginger Pumpkin
- Apple Pomander
Other Limited Edition scents that are sometimes available include Hibiscus Tea, Green Tea Matcha, Pomelo, Holiday Hearth, Pine Forest, Coastal Tide, Sea Salt Neroli, Wildflower Rain and more.
If you can’t decide which scents to choose, you can take their 2-minute Scent Quiz, which will give you their recommendations as well as 20% off your order. (You do have to give them your email address to get your quiz results and discount.)
I took their Fall Scent Quiz and got Woodland Sage! And I can tell you that’s accurate because I tried out all of Grow’s 2023 Fall Scent Collection and I DO like the Woodland Sage the best!
They have a few different ways you can save a little bit of money:
- You can Build Your Own Bundle, where you can save by combining a couple of sprays and candles.
- They offer free shipping on orders over $50 to all 50 U.S. states. (They have a pretty good return policy, too: You can get a one-time exchange or refund on any product purchased within the past 60 days, and there are no restocking or return fees involved.)
Grow also has various eco-friendly initiatives in place, which I’ll talk about more in a minute.
What Makes Grow Fragrance Different Than Other Air & Fabric Fresheners
Other conventional air freshener sprays, fabric refreshers, scented candles, and household cleaning products can increase indoor air pollution and expose users to things like endocrine disruptors and carcinogens. Let’s look at a few ways Grow is different.
Grow’s ingredient transparency is one of the main things that really caught my attention when I first heard about the brand several years ago, mostly because in the world of home fragrance, ingredient transparency has been practically non-existent until very recently.
Up until 2020/21, there were practically no laws in the United States requiring companies to list the ingredients in their cleaning products and scented home goods.
Because of what’s commonly referred to as the “fragrance loophole,” any products that contain fragrances (whether that’s air freshener sprays, cleaning products, perfume, personal care products, cosmetics, etc.) do not actually have the full ingredients listed on them. In fact, brands can include over 3,500 different chemicals under the one word “fragrance” (or “parfum”) on an ingredient label, and they don’t have to tell you about it. Some of those ingredients are safe, while others are potentially problematic (like phthalates, for example).
There were also very little labeling requirements when it came to home cleaning products (even non-fragrance ingredients).
But not too long ago, the state of California passed the Cleaning Product Right to Know Act, which (finally!) requires brands to list the ingredients used in cleaning products, including fragrances. (The law was passed in 2017, but didn’t go into effect right away. By 2020, brands were required to have their cleaning product ingredients listed online, fragrance ingredients included. By 2021, brands were required to list the ingredients on the product label, but the full fragrance breakdown could still be online-only.)
Even though this is a state-based law, all U.S. citizens end up benefiting from it. Most brands aren’t going to make a separate website and different packaging for California residents versus everyone else, so even those who live in Indiana should still be able to find a product’s ingredients online.
That said, however, the full ingredient lists for fragrance products are still quite difficult to locate, even with this new law in place. For example, you’ll now find a list of ingredients on the Febreze bottle at Target, but to find the fragrance ingredients, you still have to go to their website > then click through to the SmartLabel database > then click through the Fragrances to find out what’s actually in it. (And who has time for that?)
On the other hand, Grow was one of the very few fragrance brands that has always published their full ingredient list on each product page (even before California said they had to).
Not only that, but these lists are much easier to find and understand compared to most other brands. Just go to any product page on Grow’s website, click on the “Ingredients” tab, and you’ll see a clear list of the ingredients and which plant they come from.
For example, here’s a list of the ingredients for the Pear Cider Air + Fabric Spray:
I believe ingredient transparency is not only important when it comes to brand accountability, but it’s also a necessity for people who have allergies or sensitivities to specific ingredients (even natural or plant-based ones). If you’re interested in taking more of a deep dive into this issue of ingredient transparency, you can read more of my thoughts right here.
We’ve recently seen increased demand from consumers & activists to improve labeling requirements on consumer goods. But WHY does ingredient transparency matter?
100% Plant-Based Ingredients
When you visit Grow’s website, you’ll quickly notice that all of their ingredients are 100% plant-based.
But what does that actually mean?
Terms like “plant-based” and “all-natural” can be very confusing because there isn’t a true consensus or set of standards that a brand or product has to meet in order to use these terms in marketing.
Sometimes brands will even put a claim such as “Made with plant-based ingredients” or “Made with natural materials” on their labels, when in fact maybe only a portion of their product is made with plant-based or natural ingredients.
What most conscious consumers will probably want to know when it comes to Grow’s ingredients is that they are free from any synthetic and petroleum-based ingredients. This includes known toxicants like phthalates (which are commonly used in fragrance products and hidden under the “fragrance loophole”), as well as dyes, paraffin wax, and more.
In fact, all of Grow’s ingredients go through a test utilized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to verify that all of their ingredients are plant-based. (That’s how the products come with the USDA BioBased certification.)
(As a side note: remember that just because something is “natural” doesn’t automatically mean it’s “good”… Lead is natural and is very toxic. And just because something is synthetic doesn’t mean it’s “bad.” I’m not going to go down that rabbit hole right here, but I just wanted to mention it, as it is relevant when we’re talking about natural versus artificial ingredients!)
It is worth noting here that some of Grow’s products do contain ingredients that are on the E.U.’s list of Fragrance Allergens (like Hydroxy-citronellal and Linalool, for example). These ingredients are still “natural” and “plant-based,” but some people may react to them, especially if they have pre-existing conditions such as eczema or asthma. BUT, that’s why I really appreciate how easy it is to find out what exactly is in each and every one of Grow’s products. You can quickly check the ingredient list before buying to make sure there isn’t anything specific you’re allergic to (or avoid it if there is!).
In terms of the “extra” (non-fragrance) ingredients, Grow primarily uses alcohol, water, and glycerin (made from sustainably harvested palm, soy, or coconut oil) for the carriers, along with sodium citrate (which is salt from citric acid) for the preservative. Sodium citrate is one of the safest preservatives that can be used in personal care and cleaning products.
Other Sustainability Initiatives
Grow has a few other eco-friendly initiatives as well. For example, they are Leaping Bunny Certified, which means none of their ingredients or finished products are tested on animals.
The company is also B Corp Pending, meaning they’re currently going through the (long) process of becoming a certified B Corporation. This process involves a series of audits to verify that the whole business is prioritizing the welfare of people and planet just as much as profit.
Although their air freshener sprays come in plastic bottles, Grow says they are working on more eco-friendly options for those. The candles are refillable and almost plastic-free (except for the labels). I’ll talk more about the packaging below.
My Personal Grow Fragrance Review
Okay, now that I’ve given you the overview of the brand and their ingredients, let me tell you my thoughts after using Grow Fragrance for several years now.
The scented sprays
Grow’s sprays can be used in a variety of ways—you can spray them into the air, on fabrics (like the couch or carpets), into smelly sports bags, in the bathroom, etc.
Just like any other scented air “freshener” spray, it doesn’t really “eliminate” odors at the source. Rather, it covers them up. So I definitely don’t use fragrance sprays as a replacement for keeping things clean. Instead, I use them as a supplemental “pick-me-up” when I might be having people over, or when I just feel like making the place smell nice.
The full-sized sprays come in 5 fl. oz. plastic bottles, or you can order a Discovery/Sampler Set, which come with four bottles of 2 fl oz each (although not all of the scents are available in the Sample Sets). These mini bottles are also TSA compliant, so you can take them in your carry-on if you want to!
The sprays come in aerosol-free pump bottles, which is good because many aerosol spray products (like dry shampoo and sunscreen) have been found to be contaminated with benzene (a carcinogen) in recent years. It might be a little thing, but avoiding aerosol sprays is just one more small way you can decrease your exposure to environmental toxicants.
Okay, now onto the scents. I haven’t tried every single one of Grow’s scents, but I have tried a LOT of them over the past several years!
It’s honestly so hard to choose a favorite scent—partly because it depends on what season it is and what mood I’m in.
For the fall, I already mentioned that the Woodland Sage is my favorite. But if you want a more “stereotypical fall” scent, the Ginger Pumpkin is realllyyy good, too. It’s very warm and cozy, and I will definitely be burning through a few Ginger Pumpkin candles this season.
And for Christmas time, I think the Pine Forest is my favorite.
There really aren’t any scents that I don’t like, but if I had to choose a least favorite one, it’s probably the Agave Mint (which was one of their spring scents). I don’t know why—it just didn’t get me like some of the other ones did! But they actually discontinued that one… They are always trying out new diverse fragrances, which I think is pretty cool.
In my experience, the scents last several hours (even up to a day) when sprayed into the air. I live in a pretty small apartment, so I usually just stick to one or two pumps at a time when I’m using it as an air freshener.
When I spray it onto textiles, the scent seems to last even longer. I’ve sprayed it onto a blanket before and then I can still smell it when I go to use the blanket a couple of nights later.
There’s one important caveat that I will mention for chemically-sensitive folks, which is that these scents might be a little strong, depending on how sensitive you are. Although their fragrances generally work well for people with sensitivities, if you or someone in your home has a very low tolerance to scented products (even natural & non-toxic ones), then I would suggest either trying out their Blondewood (which is the most mild scent) or even trying out the candles first (more on that below). Alternatively, you could try transferring the fragrance into a larger bottle and diluting it with some water so that the scent isn’t quite as strong!
Grow’s candles come in basically the same scent options as the sprays do, and they’re mostly made with the same ingredients. The main difference, of course, is the wax. Grow uses a combination of soy wax + coconut oil, which means it’s all still 100% plant-based (no petroleum-based paraffin wax here).
The candles are more low-waste than the sprays are. You can get a refillable vessel, which is made from a white stone material that has a layer of cork on the bottom so that it doesn’t scratch up your tables or countertops. As you can see, the vessel is pretty and minimalistic, so it looks nice in a wide variety of spaces.
All of the candles come in the same size (6.5 oz) and Grow says they have a 40-45 hour burn time. I haven’t timed it myself, but I would say that’s about accurate if I had to make a rough estimate based on my experience.
I have found that when they’re lit, the candle scents are more subtle compared to the sprays. So if you tend to have a sensitivity to fragrances but would still like to have something that smells good in your home, I would consider trying out the candles over the scented sprays first!
The car air fresheners
Non-toxic car air fresheners that are similar to those conventional tree ones you hang from your rearview mirror have been virtually non-existent… until now!
As of right now, they just offer one scent for the car fresheners (Sea Salt Neroli), but they’re planning to add more soon, so stay tuned. As I mentioned earlier, I really like the Sea Salt Neroli smell. I think it smells like a mix between the beach and that “fresh laundry” scent.
Each pack contains two car fresheners, and Grow says that each freshener provides up to 7-14 days of scent. In my experience, however, it has actually lasted longer. I think about a month went by before I swapped mine out for a new one.
The scented sprays come in plastic, which is not ideal, but at least they are made out of recycled plastic and can also be recycled or reused when you’re done with them. (And I will say that they’re pretty durable compared to some other spray bottles you end up with, so you can totally re-use them several times if you want to.)
Grow says they have plant to hopefully launch glass bottles and refillable sprays at some point in the future, which would be amazing. Stay tuned!
The candles are more low-waste (probably in part because they were launched later). As I mentioned, the candles themselves come in aluminum, which is infinitely recyclable. (But you do have to get the wax out before recycling them!) The only “plastic” part of the candles is the sticker label, which you’ll want to remove and throw away before recycling.
In terms of the packaging used for shipping, pretty much everything is paper and cardboard, so you can either compost it or recycle it. (The exception here again are the sticker labels that hold the packaging together, which you’ll want to just throw away.) There isn’t any excessive plastic packaging or bubble wrap or anything like that.
Also, the car air fresheners do come in a plastic zipper bag, which, although *technically* might be recyclable, is probably not really going to get recycled if we’re being realistic.
Here you can see what the packaging looks like:
All-in-all, I would say that Grow’s packaging is pretty eco-conscious, especially compared to other brands, but there’s definitely room for improvement. If/when they can get those aluminum/refillable options launched for the sprays, that will be even better!
Where to Buy Grow’s Products
At this time, the best place to get Grow Fragrance’s products is on their website. That’s where you can find their full collection and ensure you get the benefits like bundle discounts, free returns, and access to exclusive scents.
You can also find Grow’s products on Amazon.
Pros & Cons of Grow Fragrance
To sum it up, here are the main pros and cons from my point of view:
- It’s the best alternative to Febreze.
- They’ve got lots of scents to choose from.
- Their products are non-toxic and plant-based, and they have always priortized ingredient transparency.
- The candles are refillable/low waste (and the refillable vessel is pretty!).
- The packaging is mostly cardboard, so it’s recyclable and/or compostable.
- They offer perks like free shipping over $50 and free & easy returns.
- Some of their ingredients are listed on the E.U.’s list of allergens, so those with specific allergies or sensitivities (such as asthma or eczema) may want to check the ingredient list before buying.
- The spray scents are relatively strong, so they may not be suitable for people with MCS. (You can always dilute them if you want to. The candle scents are more subtle than the sprays, in my opinion.)
- The sprays come in plastic bottles and are not refillable at this time. (Although you could technically re-use the spray bottle for something else when it’s empty.)
More FAQs About Grow Fragrance
Is Grow fragrance clean?
Unfortunately, there is no real definition or specific set of standards when it comes to what the word “clean” actually means. However, what brands and consumers usually mean is that the product is free from potentially toxic chemicals, such as endocrine disruptors or carcinogens. In this case, the answer is yes, Grow Fragrance can be considered a “clean” brand. The only thing to note is that some of their products do contain some of the natural ingredients that are on the E.U.’s list of allergens. Therefore, those with specific allergies, eczema, or other sensitivities may want to check the ingredient list before purchasing.
Is Grow fragrance safe for dogs and other pets?
Yes. Grow Fragrance says they have had a veterinarian review their ingredients to ensure they are safe to use around healthy cats and dogs. (But they’re not meant to be sprayed directly on your pets!) They say that if you have smaller pets (such as birds and reptiles), you may want to check with your vet first. If your pet has any specific allergies, you can always check the ingredients for each specific scent on Grow’s website if you want or need to.
Does Grow Fragrance use essential oils?
Grow Fragrance uses a mix of both essential oils and naturally-derived fragrance oils in their formulations. These are both types of “plant-based” oils, with the main difference being how they are processed (how the oil is derived from the plant). What many consumers will probably care to know is the fact that Grow’s products are completely free from artificial fragrances. This is not always the case for fragrance brands that make claims such as “Made with essential oils” or “Made with plant-based ingredients,” which indicates that only a portion of the ingredients can really be considered “natural” or “naturally-derived.”
Is Grow Fragrance vegan?
Yes, all of Grow Fragrance’s products are vegan. They are not certified vegan; however, they are Leaping Bunny Certified Cruelty-Free.
Where is Grow Fragrance based?
Grow Fragrance is headquartered in Durham, North Carolina. This is where their main offices are located and also where their products are manufactured. Grow is a part of the Durham Living Wage Project, which ensures workers are paid living wages and receive healthcare.
Who owns Grow Fragrance?
Grow was founded by Daniel Swimm. With almost 20 years of experience in the world of conventional candles and fragrances, Daniel wanted to create a safer and more eco-friendly choice for consumers who love fragranced home goods.