6 Super Simple Natural Air Freshener Recipes You Have to Try

How do you avoid toxic air fresheners and still have a fresh home? By going back to the basics! Here are our favorite natural air freshener recipes. #homedetox #sofreshandsoclean #getnatural


Natural air freshener remedy recipes

It’s no surprise to NAR readers that most of the popular store-bought air freshener products on the market today are not only unnatural but are also quite toxic. Everyone comes across some not-so-pleasant odors. So when our noses were under attack, we admit to having fallen for the store-bought air freshener spray with trendy eco-friendly packaging and the “all-natural” label. But that was before we discovered that even those products can contain some seriously suspect ingredients. So how does one avoid toxic air fresheners and still have a fresh home? By going back to the basics, of course!

The two healthiest ways to eliminate odor are to eliminate its source and to increase the intake of fresh outside air. So Nancy Drew, what is the source of that smell? Is it the mildewy basement, a pet-related odor, smelly shoes, decomposing garbage, or simply last night’s dinner? Don’t worry, we have natural home remedies for them all. So go ahead: crack a window and check out our favorite natural air freshener recipes and do-it-yourself home deodorizing remedies.

Our Favorite Natural Air Freshener Remedies

1. The Baking Soda Method

Good old sodium bicarbonate, or baking soda, is a staple in our natural remedy kit. It’s nothing fancy, but it comes in handy for just about anything around the home, including fighting odor. Some consider baking soda an all-around deodorizer, but we like to think of it as an odor neutralizer as it works best when neutralizing those odors associated with acidic substances (think: pet urine or sweat). To neutralize odors in fabrics like carpet or upholstery, sprinkle some fresh baking soda on the area and leave for several hours (overnight is even better). After the baking soda has had time to do its job, vacuum the remaining powder to reveal the freshness. This method works best when the fabric is clean and dry and you can ensure that the area won’t be disturbed by pet paws or crawling children. You can even try a little sprinkle of baking soda into those smelly shoes or leaving smelly gym clothes in a bag dusted with baking soda before running through a wash cycle.

Other substances that absorb and neutralize odors like baking soda include natural kitty litter and coffee grounds. So try emptying those used coffee grounds into the kitchen trash can to keep gross garbage odors at bay.

2. The Super Spray Solution

We know, you’ve grown attached to your air freshener spray. Well, don’t fret. You don’t have to wean yourself off the bottle just yet. We love keeping these DIY natural air freshener sprays on hand. All you need is a clean fine mist spray bottle and a few simple ingredients. You can reuse an empty spray bottle that you have on hand, but we recommend a tinted glass or stainless steel spray bottle (like this or this) for any solutions containing essential oils. Quality oils will keep better in glass or stainless steel and you can reuse the bottles over and over. They also look quite nice, if we do say so ourselves.

Here’s one simple recipe we love:

What You’ll Need

  • 3/4 cup distilled water
  • 2 tablespoons vodka, gin, or rubbing alcohol
  • 10-15 drops of your favorite pure essential oil or essential oil blend (or more, if you like)

Add the ingredients to your spray bottle of choice then just give it a good shake and spray. Experiment with different essential oils. The essential oil lends a chemical-free, natural scent and the alcohol will help disperse the oil in the water and help the solution evaporate more quickly. But be careful, the floor might still be a little wet after your spritz.

To naturally neutralize odors on hard surfaces like your kitchen counters (just not marble or granite – good old dish soap and water will do), you can make a simple vinegar solution with equal parts white vinegar and distilled water. Just spray and wipe. The vinegar definitely has its own pungent aroma, but that will dissipate. Trust us!

3. The Perfect Homemade Potpourri

Potpourri is coveted as much for decoration as it is for its pleasant smell making it a great natural air freshener and an even better homemade gift. Store-bought potpourri too often contains the same synthetic fragrance blends and preservatives we’re trying to avoid, so why not make naturally scented potpourri at home? Here are two recipes we love:

Homemade Fruit and Spice Potpourri

What You’ll Need

  • fresh orange
  • fresh apple (any variety)
  • cinnamon sticks
  • cloves
  • start anise

How to Make

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. While oven preheats, slice your orange and apple into thin slices. We’re talking really thin!
  2. Place fruit slices on baking sheet (you can use a sheet of parchment paper or aluminum foil) in a single layer. Bake for one and a half hours.
  3. After the first hour and a half, continue to cook while checking on fruit slices every half an hour until completely dry.
  4. One dry, remove from oven and allow to cool.
  5. Combine cooled, dried fruit slices with spices into an airtight jar. Allow to “marinate” in a closed jar for at least 24 hours before using. The potpourri should keep its scent for up to 2 months.
Homemade Lavender Potpourri

What You’ll Need

  • dried lavender buds (available in most health food stores like Whole Foods or online)
  • lavender essential oil

How to Make

  1. Combine the dried lavender buds with as many drops of lavender essential oil as you’d like into an airtight jar. Preferably, the dried lavender buds should not be treated with any chemicals or preservatives to maintain the color. The brighter the buds, the greater the chances chemicals have been used to preserve them.
  2. Allow to “marinate” in a closed container for a few days to allow the dried flowers to absorb the oil.

The dried lavender carries its own subtle aroma and the complimentary oil will continue to enhance it. You can also try mixing the lavender essential oil with a few drops of rosemary essential oil for a savory blend or a few drops of lemon essential oil for a refreshing blend.

Not in the mood to get too crafty? Trying leaving out some open bowls or jars with baking soda and a couple of drops of essential oil. We’re fans of using small, classic mason jars with these decorative cutout lids (they come in colors, too)! It won’t smell quite as nice as potpourri, but if deodorizing is your goal, this simple trick is where it’s at.

4. The Stove Top (or Slow Cooker) Solution: Simmering Potpourri

When you’re looking to freshen up the kitchen (and any surrounding rooms), you can try simmering some herbs and spices for a kitchen-friendly and naturally fragrant air freshener. Here’s one of our favorite spicy, fruity simmering scent recipes:

Orange Spice Stove Top Simmer

What You’ll Need

  • 2 quarts water
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 fresh oranges, sliced (or you can simply use the leftover peels)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cloves
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

How to Make

  1. Add all ingredients to a medium saucepan or pot.
  2. Put stove to medium-high heat and bring everything to a boil.
  3. Boil until the mixture becomes aromatic – you’ll know when!
  4. Then, turn down the heat and leave simmering uncovered, checking periodically to add more water as it evaporates.

You can also make this simmering potpourri in your slow cooker leaving it uncovered on low. While we love this simple trick, this is one natural air freshener solution that requires monitoring  to ensure that the ingredients don’t burn and ruin your cookware (not to mention cause a safety hazard). It’s also important to note that while some simmering air freshener recipes call for essential oils, we do not recommend them as many aren’t safe for consumption.

Though the Orange Spice Simmer is the ultimate in delicious kitchen scents, sometimes you just want to eliminate the smell of last night’s fish dinner. For abolishing lingering cooking odors, try simmering 1 tablespoon vinegar with one cup of water in a small pan.

5. The DIY Diffuser

You can buy essential oil diffusers, but more often than not, the ingredient list is a lot longer than we’d like and features low quality oils and additives that just aren’t necessary. Here’s how to make your own natural diffusers at home with your favorite essential oil:

Natural Essential Oil Reed Diffuser

What You’ll Need

  • small glass bottle or bud vase (we love these vintage glass milk bottles!)
  • bamboo skewers or rattan diffusing sticks (for better scent diffusion)
  • carrier oil (like baby oil, sweet almond oil, or safflower oil)
  • favorite essential oil or essential oil blend

How to Make

  1. Pour 1/4 cup carrier oil into your bottle of choice. Carrier oil should be a light oil to with little to no scent.
  2. Add 15-25 drops of essential oil to bottle.
  3. Stir oils together with a skewer and add remaining skewers to bottle (we recommended 5-10 skewers depending on the size of your bottle). You may choose to cut the skewers to a length that better fits your bottle.
  4. Within a couple of hours, the oils will travel up the skewers and begin to give off a noticeable scent. To refresh the scent at any time, just remove the skewers and replace them upside down with the ends that were originally in the oil sticking out.

While we love the classics, for a trendy take on the typical essential oil diffuser, try setting out these cool scented wood blocks on your coffee table:

Natural Scented Wood Blocks

What You’ll Need

  • small (approx. 1” square) wooden blocks (you will want untreated natural wood like these)
  • small container with lid (we like this empty candle tin)
  • small paint brush
  • favorite essential oil or essential oil blend

How to Make

  1. Using the essential oil of your choice, dip paint brush into oil and “paint” onto each side of the wooden blocks.
  2. Add extra essential oil to the bottom of the tin and place wooden block in the tin on top.
  3. Place lid on tin, shake gently and let sit overnight to absorb.
  4. After sitting overnight, open tin and set out wherever you want to freshen, adding extra blocks for aesthetics, if necessary.
  5. If you every need to refresh the scent, simply add more essential oil and give it a good shake!

6. The Potted Plant

When you’re a a believer in all things natural, what’s better than harnessing the natural air purifying powers of plants? While they won’t get rid of the nasty garbage odor or the smell of your stinky shoes, plants will naturally rid the air of unwanted substances (like formaldehyde) leaving it fresh and healthier than before. Potted palm trees like parlor palms are especially effective as home air purifiers and are easy to care for, but you can get similar benefits from a variety of other houseplants.

Where to Buy Natural Air Fresheners

Not feeling up to making your own natural air freshener? Here are our Editor’s Choice natural air freshener brands.

Interested in learning more about those seriously suspect substances in your store-bought air freshener? Check out our article: Why It’s Time to Ditch Those Toxic Store-Bought Air Fresheners.