Febreze Allergen Reducer

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Allergen Reducer? Where's the Beef?

Feb 18, 2008
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Works on Odors just as well as regular Febreze

Cons:Does it really reduce allergens 75 percent? I don't know. I emailed Proctor & Gamble.

The Bottom Line: Works as well as regular Febreze to Reduce Odors. Does it really reduce allergens 75 percent? Who know, but with alcohol and water, I doubt it.

Disclosure: I am a Board Certified Allergist. More importantly, though, I am married to a wonderful woman with terrible allergies and asthma, plus one of our kids is allergic to cats.

So what do we do? Go out and get 2 cats. And 2 dogs.

The treatment of allergies is broken down into three categories:
1) Avoidance
2) Medications (that either treat or prevent symptoms)
3) Allergy Shots/Immunotherapy These work great if you really have allergies because they are "disease modifying" They make you less allergic for years after you STOP taking them, assuming you took shots from a doctor who gave you honest-to-goodness strong shots

Under avoidance, people think about ripping up their carpet and laying down a washable surface, like tile, Pergo-type synthetic wood, or linoleum. Also helpful, if you have no carpet, is putting Dust Mite impermeable covers on your pillow and mattress.

Sprays to reduce allergens have come and gone over the years. Does anyone remember Acarosan? Johnson Wax brought it out several years back. It was shown in many well-controlled studies to reduce dust mite allergens, but was only so-so at reducing a patient's symptoms.

Same thing with the Sharper Image Ionic Breeze: It is a decent Allergen Sampler, per Thomas A.E. Platts-Mills, MD, PhD, the Chief of Allergy at U. of Virginia, Charlottesville. But it's not a great filter if your goal is to have fewer allergy symptoms. That's a much harder test to pass. According to Consumer Reports, my coffee table is a dust filter, too, since it collects dust.


So back to Febreze Allergen Reducer: The label says it reduces tree and grass pollen, plus Dust Mite allergen (which is not the dust mite at all, but its fecal waste particle---ewww, gross!!) But it is just water and alcohol, so HOW in the world does it reduce allergens? Come on, people, don't take these claims at face value! Be skeptical. I'll update this if/when Proctor & Gamble emails me with its study. I'll be impressed if the study has been published in a peer-review journal.

I bought a bottle 6 weeks ago, and have been spraying it in my allergic daughter's bedroom twice each day. She usually takes Claritin, one pill each day, and a couple sprays of Nasonex nasal spray each day. When she forgets the medicines for a couple of days, her symptoms get much worse. I went out of town for a couple of days, and no one was there to remind her to take her medicines. So she forgot. I came home, gave them to her, and she got better in 2 or 3 days.

But wait...Shouldn't that Febreze have reduced her allergen load significantly enough so her symptoms wouldn't be so bad? I guess not. So, in my study of one patient, Febreze Allergen Reducer didn't work, even though we used it regularly for 6 weeks.

What do I advise? Well, environmental control for allergies is a controversial field. Just read what I wrote about dust mites, including the links to the two manuscripts in the New England Journal of Medicine:


And since we were talking about air filters up there, read this too:


And before you start annihilating, assasinating, and mutilating Dust Mites, you'd better read this:


Febreze works nicely to reduce odors, but its Allergen Reducer is a gimmick, containing only water and alcohol, neither of which has been shown to decrease allergen loads significantly. Do you find that hard to believe? Ask P & G to see their study. I'm still waiting for it.

Recommend this product? No

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