Urban Legends

Glade Air Fresheners

The Legend

Found on the Internet January 2005

My brother learned a hard lesson a few months ago. His house burned down with his dog, wife, and children inside. Nothing was left but ashes. He has good home-owners insurance, and he'd just taken out a multi-million dollar policy on his wife, so he should be able to easily replace his possessions. And fortunately, at the time of the fire, he was driving away from the house in his Ferrari with his laptop computer, baseball-card collection, and two suitcases of clothes. That's the good news. But he must have been horribly upset when he found out the cause of the fire.

An insurance investigator spend days sifting through the ashes of the house. He traced the fire to the master bedroom and asked my brother all sorts of questions about what in there might have caused the fire. He named normal bedroom things, like a TV and another TV and a video camera, and he even asked if it could have been caused by a concentrated reflection of light off the ceiling mirror. But the investigator said it couldn't have been any of those things.

Then the investigator had an inspiration and asked if my brother had one of those Glade Plug-in air fresheners in the room. My brother said he did, and the investigator said that's what it must have been. There is a wiring problem in those things and when they get too hot they can give off heat, which, according to the investigator, is what must have set off all that gasoline my brother had left in the bedroom (which you also shouldn't do, he said).

It was so absurd that an air freshener could ruin his life that my brother just started laughing. He laughed so hysterically that they had to sedate him. The next day he moved in with this young waitress who wants to be a model, and hopefully she can help him through the healing process.

I thought I'd tell you this story as a warning. I had several of these Glade Plug-ins at my house and I got rid of them. But what's weird is that next week my brother's going to marry the model he moved in with (she's pregnant) and he bought her some of those Plug-ins as a bridal gift. I guess some people never learn.

Behind the Legend

It has not been proven with complete certainty that Glade brand plug-in air fresheners ("Don't smell like a thug -- use the plug!") can lead to horrible death, but there are a number of pieces of information that have caused people to think in that direction. For example:

  • Several people have reported that the Glade "springtime fresh" scent smells like death.
  • One family put a Glade air freshener in their living room, and every time they checked on it the thing had been moved one plug closer to the bedroom. That night, the woman was awakened by a pleasant odor and saw the freshener plugged into the socket beside the bed, and it had a knife.
  • ABC TV news ran an investigation into the dangers of these devices in which they plugged a Glade air freshener into the bathroom wall socket of an old house that had been condemned for faulty wiring. Less than an hour later, the place exploded. It was later learned that the segment's producer, in order to get dramatic footage without having to pay the crew overtime had given himself a little "insurance" by also connecting the air freshener to four sticks of dynamite. He contends that the result would have been the same in any case.

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