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Air Wick vs. Glade: Which Air Fresheners Are Better?

Air Wick and Glade are two of the most popular air fresheners.

But which is better? Is there any difference between them?

In this comparison of Air Wick vs. Glade, you’ll learn how they differ in product offerings, scents, ingredients, safety, and pricing.

I’ll also answer the most frequently asked questions about each brand.

Read on to determine whether Air Wick or Glade air fresheners are right for your home.


Use the links below to navigate the comparison:


Odor Eliminators vs. Fragrances

Before I get into the specifics of Glade vs. Air Wick, it’s important to understand the different types of air fresheners.

Some air fresheners are odor eliminators, which neutralize and remove odors, while others are fragrances, which merely mask the odor with a competing scent.

Most Air Wick and Glade products are fragrances, not odor eliminators. Both brands’ products release a pleasant scent that temporarily masks odors. When the air freshener’s fragrance dissipates, the odors return.

Air Wick toilet spray technically eliminates odors, but it does so by creating a film on top of the water that prevents odors from releasing into the air. Glade doesn’t offer any odor-eliminating or neutralizing products.

If you want a true odor-eliminating spray, Febreze is one of the few options.

Febreze contains sodium citrate and cyclodextrin, which bind to odor-causing chemicals at a molecular level, neutralizing and eliminating odors.

Air Wick claims that its room sprays eliminate odor. The formula contains water, chemicals for fragrance, preservatives, and borax (sodium tetraborate) which helps neutralize odor (similar to baking soda), but it isn’t as effective as the ingredients in Febreze.

If you really want to eliminate odors, you need to keep rooms clean and well ventilated and remove the source.

Product Offerings

Glade and Air Wick both offer a range of air freshener products, from aerosol sprays to essential oil diffusers.

Let’s look at each brand’s product lineup, starting with Air Wick.

Air Wick Plug-In Scented Oils (view on Amazon):Air Wick plug-in scented oils are a warm oil diffuser that plugs into a wall outlet. The fragrance is released continuously, and you can adjust the warmth as needed (warmer settings mean a more potent scent). Air Wick now formulates its fragrance oil with naturally-derived essential oils –– this is generally a plus, but research pet sensitivities before choosing a scent. 
Air Wick Scented Oils Refill
Air Wick Scented Oils Refill
Air Wick Essential Mist Diffusers (view on Amazon): Air Wick’s mist diffuser is a battery-operated and remote-controlled misting machine. It releases a continuous fragrance mist via a small reservoir, which you can fill with any essential oil you’d like.
Air Wick Automatic Sprays (view on Amazon): Air Wick’s automatic sprays are another battery-operated air freshener. They are operated by two AA batteries and include a timer to adjust the spray frequency.
Air Wick Automatic Sprayer Refill
Air Wick Automatic Sprayer Refill
Air Wick Room Sprays (view on Amazon): Air Wick room sprays come in aerosol cans or plastic spray bottles that you operate manually. Air Wick describes its sprays as odor eliminators, but the formulas don’t include odor-eliminating ingredients, such as sodium citrate and cyclodextrin. Instead, the formula includes borax, which is known to neutralize odors in fabrics, but there isn’t research proving its ability to remove odors from the air.
Air Wick Toilet Sprays (view on Amazon): This product is exactly what it sounds like. You spray it in the toilet bowl before you sit down. The spray creates a film on the water, trapping unpleasant odors before they can escape.
Glade Sprays (view on Amazon): Glade air freshener sprays come in two formats: automatic or aerosol. The automatic spray is a set-it-and-forget-it option and is battery-operated. The aerosol spray comes in a can.
Glade Air Fresheners
Glade Air Freshener Sprays

Glade Plug-Ins (view on Amazon): Glade offers a scented oil and a scented oil PLUS® plug-in. The regular plug-in comes with standard settings and releases fragrance via warm oil. The PLUS option has more settings, a refill indicator light, an 8-hour Rest Mode, and more.

Glade PlugIn Refill
Glade PlugIn Refill

Glade Candles and Wax Melts (view on Amazon): Glade candles come in a variety of sizes and scents, and they’re easy to use. The wax melts are slightly more complicated, as you’ll need a warmer dish to use them. Once they are in the warm bowl or dish, the wax cubes melt and release fragrance until they’re expended, or you turn the warmer off.

Glade Candle

Glade Carpet Refresher (view on Amazon):Glade’s carpet refresher is a powdered product you can sprinkle on carpets and rugs. After a few minutes, you simply vacuum the powder up and enjoy the fragrance it leaves behind.

Scents

Scent is a key factor when you’re deciding between air fresheners, and both Air Wick and Glade offer several to choose from.

Air Wick Scents

Air Wick provides the following options:

Relaxing Lavender: Within this category, you can choose from Lavender & Chamomile, Lavender Superstar (toilet spray only), or Lavender & Almond Blossom.

Fresh Citrus: Within this category, you can pick from Mandarin & Sweet Tangerine, Sparkling Citrus, White Lilac & Orange Blossom, or Lemon Thyme.

Fresh Linen: This is a standalone scent category, so there are no secondary scents under it.

Sweet Vanilla: In this category, you can choose from Vanilla & Pink Papaya, Sweet Melon & Vanilla, Summer Delights, or Vanilla Indulgence.

Spring Seasonal Scents (availability varies): In the seasonal category, scent options vary. For Spring (the season sold at the time of this article), you’ll find Hibiscus & Blooming Orchids, Peach & Sweet Nectar, Cotton & Spring Lilac, and Lush Honeysuckle & Raspberry.

Essential Mist Fragrances: These fragrances are designed to set a specific mood and are based on aromatherapy. Options include Happiness, Rejuvenate, Relax, and Sleep.

Glade Scents

Glade also categorizes its scents, and you can search their website by using these categories as a navigation tool. The options are as follows:

Fresh: Under this category, Glade lists Aqua Waves, Clean Linen, Lavender & Peach Blossom, Moonlit Walk & Wandering Stream, Pet Clean Scent, Pet Fresh Scent, Pine Wonderland (limited edition/seasonal), Snow Much Fun (limited edition/seasonal), and Tranquil Lavender & Aloe.

Fruity: In this category, you can choose from Apple Cinnamon, Apple Of My Pie, Blooming Peony & Cherry, Bubbly Berry Splash, Cranberry Oh So Merry (limited edition/seasonal), Hawaiian Breeze, Lemon Fresh, Vanilla Passion Fruit, or Vanilla Passion Fruit & Hawaiian Breeze (combo).

Floral: The floral category includes Angel Whispers, Bamboo & Waterlily Bliss, Exotic Tropical Blossoms, Floral Perfection, Joyful Citrus & Daisies, and Sunny Days & Clean Linen.

Warm: Under the warm category, you can choose from But First, Pumpkin Lattes (limited edition/seasonal), Candy Cane Cheer (limited edition/seasonal), Cashmere Woods, Cookie Caramel Rush, Elegant Amber & Oud, Fall Night Long, Lavender & Vanilla, Powder Fresh, Pumpkin Spice Things Up (limited edition/seasonal), Sheer Vanilla Embrace, or Sheer Vanilla Embrace & Apple Cinnamon (combo).

Ingredients

Air Wick provides a comprehensive list of its ingredients via its parent company website, rbnainfo.com. It also lists the ingredients on SmartLabel.org.

Here’s a list of the ingredients in Air Wick’s best-selling product, the aerosol room spray:

  • Water: Adjusts the ingredient concentration.
  • Ethanol: Solvent that dissolves other ingredients to form a solution.
  • Trideceth-4: Another solvent that dissolves ingredients into a solution.
  • Compressed Air: Creates pressure so the product can be sprayed.
  • Sodium Tetraborate Decahydrate: Binding agent that links to hard water particles and other minerals, neutralizing some odors.
  • Fragrance: Imparts the desired scent (each fragrance has its unique formula listed on the product label).

Glade is an S.C. Johnson company, and it lists all of the ingredients at WhatsInsideSCJohnson.com.

These are the ingredients in Glade’s most popular product, the room spray:

  • Water: Base ingredient that carries the others.
  • Sorbitan Oleate: An emulsifier/binder that holds the other ingredients together within the solution.
  • Isobutane: Propellant that allows the spray to be ejected from the bottle.
  • Propane: Propellant, same as above.
  • Fragrance: Imparts the desired scent.
  • Propylene Glycol: Surfactant that allows molecules within the formula to bind to those causing odors in the air.
  • Sodium Phosphate: Inhibits corrosion of the dispenser.
  • Steartrimonium Chloride: Stabilizer that holds the formula together and acts as an anti-static agent.

Safety

Air Wick and Glade are safe for household use when used as directed. However, some ingredients can be harmful if you’re overexposed.

S.C. Johnson evaluates the safety of its products (including Glade) through a program called Greenlist. This four-step process uses data to assess the risks of each ingredient to the environment and humans.

All Air Wick products comply with the International Fragrance Association and Research Institute for Fragrance Materials guidelines. They also comply with all relevant regional US and Canadian regulatory requirements.

That said, not every ingredient in Glade and Air Wick is completely safe.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is a nonprofit organization that reviews and rates household products’ health and environmental safety.

EWG Safety Ratings
EWG Safety Ratings

According to the EWG, Glade sprays get a C rating for “moderate concern” on its scale that rates the potential for hazards to health or the environment. Other Glade products, such as the Carpet Refresher, are rated D for “high concern.”

The EWG rates Air Wick air fresheners either D for “high concern” or F, which indicates the “highest concern.”

The main issue with air fresheners is the chemicals used to make the fragrances. Overexposure to these chemicals can irritate your skin, eyes, and lungs.

According to Poison.org, “Small amounts of most air fresheners are usually not dangerous. Swallowing the gel-type evaporative beads or reed diffuser solutions can cause serious effects in children. There are concerns about adverse effects on the environment and health with repeated exposures to air fresheners.”

If you’re concerned about the safety of Air Wick or Glade products, follow the labeled instructions, ensure proper ventilation, and keep the products out of small children’s reach.

Price

Air Wick and Glade products are both affordable and comparable in price.

However, you should note the significant price variations between specific products within each brand’s overall catalog. For example, handheld room sprays cost much less than automatic sprayers and diffusers.

The chart below shows the current prices on Amazon for both brands’ most popular products.

Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

FAQs About Air Wick and Glade

Here are the answers to some of the most common questions about Glade and Air Wick air fresheners.

What soft surfaces can you use Air Wick and Glade sprays on?

You shouldn’t use either sprays on clothing, upholstery, carpets, or any other soft material unless the product is labeled for use on these items. Glade makes a carpet refresher for rugs and carpets, but if you want an air freshener specifically for clothes, linens, or upholstery, you’re better off using one of Febreze’s fabric-friendly sprays.

What hard surfaces can you use Air Wick and Glade sprays on?

Avoid spraying either air freshener directly onto surfaces. They are meant to be used in the air, not as a cleaning product or perfume. Instead, spray the product around or near a surface.

Are Air Wick and Glade toxic to pets?

It depends. Certain essential oils are highly toxic to pets (especially felines), so any product containing these is not safe for use around them. Make sure to do your research before you pick a scent. Never spray air fresheners around or near pets –– make sure they are out of the room first.

How long do Air Wick and Glade plug-ins last?

On average, each plug-in (from either brand) will last approximately 1-2 months on the lowest setting. If you use a higher setting, expect the plug-in to need more frequent refills.

How do you refill Air Wick and Glade plug-ins?

Both brands allow you to simply remove the spent scent cartridge and replace it with a new one within seconds. Push the new cartridge in until you hear a “click,” and then it’s ready to go.

How often do Air Wick and Glade plug-ins spray?

You can choose the frequency that either brand’s plug-ins spray by using the built-in settings located on top of the base. It varies by product, but with most, the high setting sprays every 10 minutes, medium sprays every 15 minutes, and low sprays every 30 minutes.

Do Air Wick and Glade plug-ins rotate?

Yes, you can rotate either the base of either plug-in (using the actual plug) or the canister. Both have removable components that allow you to adjust the angle and rotation of the device.

Do Glade refills fit Air Wick?

The canisters on each plug-in are different sizes, so these cannot be exchanged between brands. However, you can fill a Glade canister with Air Wick fragrance and vice versa if you wish.

Who owns Air Wick and Glade?

Air Wick is owned by Reckitt Benckiser, a parent company specializing in scented products. The S.C. Johnson corporation owns Glade.

Bottom Line: Which Air Fresheners Are Better, Air Wick or Glade?

Now that you know the key facts about Air Wick and Glade air fresheners, it’s time to decide which brand to buy. To review:

  • Air Wick and Glade are fragrances that mask odors, but they don’t eliminate odors (despite Air Wick’s claims).
  • Both brands offer several products, including plug-ins, automatic sprays, room sprays, scented oils, and diffusers.
  • Glade and Air Wick both produce an impressive range of scents to choose from, and they each have their own ways of categorizing these scents based on characteristics and themes.
  • Both companies are transparent about the ingredients used in their products, and you can find full listings on their respective websites or via SmartLabel. From an ecological and personal health standpoint, Glade products score better than Air Wick products (based on EWG criteria).
  • The brands are comparable in price.

The truth is, there’s no significant difference between Glade and Air Wick. Both add a pleasant aroma to your home and temporarily mask foul smells. Their room sprays and plug-ins are reliable, easy to use, and affordable. If you want a basic air freshener, either brand will do.

If you’re still not sure which to buy, browse each brand’s scents and give a few a try. Since the main components of their formulas are similar, go with the scent you like the most.

Check out Glade and Air Wick on Amazon, where you can read dozens of reviews and compare current prices.

Andrew Palermo Founder of Prudent Reviews

Andrew Palermo - About the Author

Andrew is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Prudent Reviews. He’s studied consumer buying behavior for 10+ years and has managed marketing campaigns for over a dozen Fortune 500 brands. When he’s not testing the latest home products, he’s spending time with his family, cooking, and doing house projects. Connect with Andrew via emailLinkedIn, or the Prudent Reviews YouTube channel.

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