Few things make a home more inviting than a pleasant scent. Whether you overcooked dinner, have guests on the way or simply want an aroma that makes you feel relaxed, air fresheners are an easy solution. And while you can spend a pretty penny on storebought sprays, diffusers and plug-in systems, you can get the same results (without the chemicals) with a homemade air freshener using items you have around the house! We asked pros to share their DIY tricks and easy ways you can customize the recipes to your liking. Read on for the best homemade air fresheners.
1. Homemade air freshener spray with vodka
“It turns out, vodka isn’t just the life of the party — it’s also effective for DIY air fresheners!” says Karen Morales, a member of the shine squad at CompanyClean in Highlands Ranch, Colorado. “Vodka evaporates quickly due to its high alcohol content, and high-quality vodka is relatively odorless once it dries. The alcohol in vodka acts as a solvent, which helps to dissolve essential oils and allows them to be evenly distributed.”
Her go-to mix: Combine 1 oz. of vodka, 3 oz. of distilled water and 15 drops of an essential oil of your choice in a glass spray bottle.
2. Homemade air freshener simmer pot with citrus
Like many TikTok trends, simmer pots have been around for awhile but are experiencing a resurgence, with Simmer Pot recipes garnishing 8.4 million views. So what is a simmer pot? It’s simply a pot of liquid and fragrant ingredients that you heat to infuse a pleasant aroma into your home.
“It’s as easy as boiling a small pot of water and adding cinnamon sticks, a tablespoon of vanilla extract and orange peels,” shares Tonya Harris, founder of Slightly Greener and author of The Slightly Greener Method. But you can also add any seasonal fruits and herbs you like, from cranberry and apples to cloves and rosemary sprigs. “For an everyday way to neutralize odors in the kitchen, slice a lemon and simmer the lemon slices.” (Click through for more ways to use citrus peels around the house.)
3. Air freshener potpourri with packing peanuts
Next time you run out of refills for your room freshener, skip the trip to the store and create your own pennywise potpourri. To do: Place packing peanuts (the old-fashioned kind that don’t dissolve in water) in a small bowl and spritz with your favorite fragrance. The mailing essentials’ porous material absorbs the perfume molecules, releasing the scent over the course of four to five days. Once the fragrance has evaporated, simply respray and be on your way. (Click through for more brilliant uses for packing peanuts.)
4. Homemade gel air freshener with gelatin
Gel air fresheners continue to be popular because they add a burst of familiar scents to a room. Rather than buy one at the store, you can make your own at home with common ingredients. Harris notes, “These can be a fun way to scent the air naturally, but they don’t really work to absorb odors. I change the essential oils with the season — I love lemon and citrus essential oils in the summer, and orange, cinnamon and clove essential oils in the fall and winter.”
A recipe from One Little Project: Mix ¼ cup cold water and 1 packet of gelatin together in a jar. Add ¼ cup of boiled water; stir. Add 1 Tbs. rubbing alcohol and stir again. Add a drop or two of food coloring, then 10-20 drops of essential oil. Secure a frog lid (buy on Amazon, $5.99 for 8) to your jar and refrigerate 1-2 hours.
See it all come together in the video below:
5. Homemade air freshener with vanilla extract
If company is showing up unannounced, make your home more inviting in a flash with this favorite trick of Morales. You only need one thing: vanilla extract!
“Line a baking sheet with foil, pour a few teaspoons of vanilla extract, and put it in the oven at 150°F,” she says. “Your house will smell like cookies, though guests may feel cheated if they don’t get any!”
6. Homemade air freshener with baking soda
One pantry staple that makes for a great homemade air freshener! Baking soda! “Baking soda is a base, and most scents and odors are acidic, so baking soda is able to actually neutralize and absorb the odor,” says Harris.
To make: She recommends filling a small jar with baking soda and a few drops of your favorite essential oil (to add extra scent naturally). Poke a few holes in the jar’s lid or leave the lid off if you plan to put the jar in an out-of-the-way spot.
“Then just shake the jar once every couple weeks to refresh the scent and the odor-absorbing qualities of the baking soda,” she adds. “Replace baking soda every couple of months.
7. Homemade air freshener with essential oils
You love how diffusers fill a room with natural scents, but the devices can be costly. Try this easy DIY technique instead featured in this video from Melissa Maker of Clean My Space.
You’ll need rattan reeds (found at craft stores) and a small dark glass bottle to start.
“We want dark colors because they help keep the essential oils intact longer by limiting light exposure,” she explains in the video. “The glass is really important because essential oils do better in glass than they do in plastic. And finally, we want one with this really teeny, tiny small opening because the smaller the opening, the slower the solution will evaporate and the longer this will last.”
Inside the bottle, add a half cup of a carrier oil like sweet almond oil, safflower oil or mineral oil. Follow with 1 tsp. of a carrying agent like vodka or rubbing alcohol (but it must be a minimum of 90% rubbing alcohol). Then drop in 30 drops total of essential oils, and give the bottle a swirl.
Now it’s time to add the reeds! She recommends using eight inside the bottle. “The more reeds, the more scent, but the faster you’re going to use up that solution” she explains.
Swirl the bottle and flip the reeds once a week for lasting scent!
For more household odor erasers, keep reading: