Wallflowers Continuous Home Fragrance Starter Kit

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This Wallflower Isn't Staying On the Wall

Jul 19, 2005
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:nice look, lasted close to the full eight weeks

Cons:expensive, uses two wall outlets, smells like burnt sugar, inconsistent strength, liquid level masked

The Bottom Line: If it weren't dangerous to use the air freshener without a fragrance bulb, I might consider some for decorations, but I won't be using them as air fresheners ever again.

I've been eyeing the Bath & Body Works Wallflower air fresheners for a while, but I just couldn't make myself pay $12.50 for a single air freshener. When they went on sale for $6, still expensive for an air freshener but no longer ridiculously so, I decided to go for it.

I bought two, one in my favorite Bath & Body Works scent, Mango Mandarin, and one in a new scent that I really liked when I took a whiff at the store, Coconut Lime Verbena. I was planning on trying one in my bathroom and one in my home office.

When I got home I had a rather unpleasant surprise. Not only did the air fresheners have to be placed upright (not unexpected but eliminating the possibility of using a surge protector or multi-outlet plug), but they were so large they required both outlets in a standard double wall outlet. So much for using one in my office where outlets are at an absolute premium.

I discovered this unfortunate truth when I opened and installed the Coconut Lime Verbena wallflower in my bathroom. I did have the outlet space there so I went ahead and plugged it in, but I wasn't happy. The problem is that the manufacturers went out of their way to present a piece of wall art masquerading as an air freshener and went for a grand, classical, sculpted look. It was very pretty but made no attempt to conserve space and thus the long thin narrow bulb of scent extended too far down, the large open white flowery top way too far up to allow anything else nearby. Even had something else fit above, it would be advisable and possibly not safe to place anything directly above the unit.

The wallflower unit comes in two separate pieces, the main air freshener casing and a fragrance bulb. The freshener is made from standard household white plastic, the bulb a surprisingly light semi-opaque hard plastic. You have to unscrew the top of the bulb then screw the bulb into the main unit. The bulb only turns a few times; I would have been more comfortable with a slightly more secure system. Still, I never ended up with fragrance oil all over my bathroom so I guess it's good enough.

Once I plugged in the system, I retreated to another room but left the door open. I figured my bathroom was small and nearby rooms would probably still get some scent if I kept the air passages open. Unfortunately, the wallflower didn't appear to do anything at all for over a day, and after that you almost had to lean over it and deliberately sniff deeply to notice scent. There was a very slight burnt sugar smell in the bathroom itself if you really tried to notice it, but otherwise nada.

Each bulb is supposed to last 6-8 weeks and you're not supposed to leave the unit plugged in once the fragrance bulb is empty. I found it really difficult to determine the liquid level in the bulb; the so-pale-it's-almost-clear yellow liquid was barely visible through the frosty bulb surface. I was worried that it would be sitting there dry and I'd never notice, especially since at first the bulb was emptying at a fairly fast pace. Oddly, after a few weeks, the scent seemed to get a little stronger (although it still smelled like burnt sugar) and the bulb seemed to be drawing much less liquid. I think this may be a saturation thing for the first use of the system; it may need to get to a certain level of coverage before it's really effective and drew liquid faster than normal until it reached its preferred state. Whatever the reason, I found it quite surprising. I ended up getting almost the full eight weeks from the fragrance bulb, and while it was never as effective or pleasant as most other air freshener systems I've used, toward the end it did effectively scent the bathroom and I even got the infrequent whiff elsewhere in my apartment. It wasn't quite a total loss.

I really can't recommend the Bath & Body Works Wallflower air freshener system. at $12.50 for the system plus one bulb or for two bulbs, it's horribly expensive. Its rather attractive look comes at the expense of needing a full double wall outlet to itself and difficulty in determining the fill level of the fragrance bulb. It took several weeks for the scent to penetrate anything beyond the very immediate vicinity of the air freshener and even when it did, it smelled like burnt sugar rather than the Coconut Lime Verbena scent promoted on the box. If it weren't dangerous to use the air freshener without a fragrance bulb, I might consider some for decorations, but I won't be using them as air fresheners ever again.

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