I’m writing this from the grooming area of the Grand Valley dog show in Grand Junction, Colorado where I’m in town for a four day dog show weekend. I’m surrounded by a rich variety of purebred dogs, but some of my immediate neighbors are Newfoundlands, Samoyeds and their owners. It occurs to me that one of the perks of any hobby or sport is the people you meet, and at a dog show, new acquaintances are often made when you’re set up next to each other in a grooming area. The folks shown in the picture below are Bergit and Hans, the new pals I made just yesterday. The Miniature Schnauzer they have on the grooming table is “Justin” who’s on track to break the Best in Show record for his breed. I think he’s quite lovely and will easily meet this goal, and yesterday’s Best in Show puts him only two “bests” away from that achievement.
Grooming areas are all about the pursuit of presentation, and for that reason, I’m surrounded by blowers and combs, brushes and chalk, spray bottles and towels. It’s been fascinating to watch “Justin” get prepared for the ring – so very different from what I do to get a Puli ready. What every dog here has in common, however, is that they’re squeaky clean and smell that way.
We dog owners know that even the cleanest dogs can smell “doggie” after a few days, especially if they live in a multiple dog household. Seventy-five percent of American homes use some form of air freshener or room deodorizers, either as solids, aerosols or plug ins, and I would bet that a lot of them are pet owners.
The bad news is that according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, most of these store-bought air fresheners consist of formaldehyde, petrochemicals, p-dichlorobenzene and aerosol pollutants, and the agency’s “Indoor Guide to Air Quality” notes that air fresheners “release pollutants more or less continuously.”
It’s bad enough we inhale this stuff ourselves all day long, but using these products in a house with pets is, in my view, an especially bad idea. Even small levels of artificial chemicals isn’t healthy for a small animal such as a cat or dog. I bet that you’d never freshen the air in your house with mothballs, but the same active ingredients that’s in mothballs, 1,4 dichlorobenzene, is also present in many air fresheners. Ewwww.
If you think you’re safe because the room deodorizing products you use are advertised as “natural” because they use scents derived from citrus oils, think again. The EPA found the presence of “terpenes,” in these “natural” products. While terpenes, or chemicals derived from citrus oils, aren’t inherently dangerous, they do react with ozone (occurring either naturally or as a by product of pollution) to form formaldehyde. Not so good.
Also not good is that “phthalates,” hormone-disrupting chemicals, were found in twelve common air fresheners by the Natural Resources Defense Council, and not only were some of these marketed as “all natural” and “unscented,” none listed phthalates on their labels. Do you really want this stuff around a stud dog or a bitch expecting puppies after reading that Phthalates are known to interfere with hormone and testosterone production? The only two commercial products that tested entirely free of phthalates were Febreze Air Effects and Renuzit Subtle Effects, both sprays, but they are still chemicals.
More than most, I’m sympathetic to the challenges of keeping a house full of dogs smelling fresh because if I fall behind in grooming, it doesn’t take long for the house to announce the presence of heavily coated dogs. And if it’s been raining or snowing, well, is there anything that can beat that wet dog smell?”
There are truly natural options for us: Baking soda, coffee grounds or lemon peels do disperse and eliminate odors. And if I were more like my mom, my house would always smell like fresh baked bread because she was always making it.
How my mom managed to raise three kids, be a commercial artist and still have time to make fresh bread without a microwave oven, bread maker, cell phone or even zip lock bags is a blog for another day. I only know that I have more conveniences than she did and I get far less done. Peeling lemons isn’t convenient for me, so when I got the chance to review an odor control product that required no heavy lifting on my part, I jumped on it.
My immediate problem in testing “Moso Natural Air Purifying Bag” was that my house didn’t smell. Mind you, it has had the distinct fragrance of “au de doggie” before, it just hasn’t lately because I’m in the middle of dog show season and the dogs are washed seemingly every other day.
I was wondering how I was going to put this product through its paces when I opened the door to my son’s room and walked in. Eureka. I had found the perfect test lab.
As an aside, my son recently moved back home while he attends law school. The money he’s saving by living at home is equivalent to the national economy for a small country, but I do feel for the kid living again with ol’ Mom and Dad. I’m pretty sure we’re terribly fascinating people and the laughs in our house never end, but, well, you know. It’s not the same as having your own digs. That said, there are certain perks to living at home and one of them involves having a laundry room in the same building. He usually does his own laundry, but in his own good time, and when I walked into that room, it took my breath away. Literally. The best way I can describe it is this way: It was “I’m-a-dude-I-like-to-work-out-and-play-sports” smelly laundry.
I deposited the Moso bag in a corner and left the room gasping and clutching my chest. It had been a close call.
Four days later I got the nerve to enter the room again. His laundry had now had more time to “marinate” and I was ready.
Okay, I’m kidding about the gas mask thing, but neither did I need it. The room had no odor! The laundry was still sitting in its basket, but the room smelled like – nothing! I was impressed. If this product could handle my son’s room, it could easily deal with doggie smells.
So here’s what you need to know about Moso Natural Air Purifying Bags.
- Each Moso Bag contains high density bamboo charcoal that absorbs and filters out pollutants and odors while the bag itself is made of linen;
- Bamboo charcoal has been used in China for thousands of years and is made up of pieces of bamboo (called “Moso”) taken from plants five years or older and burned inside an oven at temperatures over 1000° C. It not only provides a new way to utilize fast growing bamboo, but also benefits environmental protection by reducing pollutant residue;
- Bamboo charcoal has excellent absorption properties with excessive moisture. Because it’s so porous, it’s extremely effective at absorbing moisture, preventing mildew, mold growth, and bacteria related odors that occur when there’s excess moisture in the air.It also helps remove airborne mold spores. The Moso Bag doesn’t give off a scent like an air freshener, it simply absorbs the nasty smells already in the room;
- The Moso Bag has been scientifically proven to reduce the amount of formaldehyde, ammonia, benzene, and chloroform gases emitted from everyday items in a house, unlike some commercial air fresheners which can CREATE formaldehyde;
- A 200g sized bag (which costs around $9.95) is appropriate for areas like cars, closets, bathrooms or a laundry room (or about 90 square feet), but for bigger areas such as kitchens, bedrooms or a dog room, use the 500g sized bags which run about $22.95;
- Once a month, I’m to put the Moso Bag out in the sun for an hour or more to release and disintegrate the pollutants trapped inside the charcoal. After a couple of years, the life span of a Moso Bag, I can cut the bag open and spread the charcoal into my garden and it’ll supposed to actually help my plants grow bigger and stronger.
In review, the Moso bag is all natural, environmentally friendly, can be “recharged” under the sun and eventually recycled into my garden – and it works!
I give this one a big thumbs up.