Sustainability made simple

The Best All-Natural DIY Air Freshener

diy air freshener
Foto: Utopia/ Melanie Hagenau

Looking for a homemade diy air freshener that won’t harm you, your pets, or the environment? Look no further! We’ll explain why you should switch to all-natural air fresheners and give you a foolproof DIY air freshener recipe.

You may be wondering why you would need a DIY air freshener with all of the store-bought products available on the market. If you’ve ever tried to remove smoke smells from your house, you probably already know that store-bought air fresheners only temporarily cover up the scent that you’re trying to get rid of. 

Eliminating odors is all about absorption. You may be thinking, “I’ll just buy some of those absorbent beads,” but if a child or pet ingests these, it could cause skin and mouth irritation, nausea, or vomiting, along with a variety of other negative implications for their health. Between low efficacy and health risks, ditch the store-bought air fresheners and opt for DIY.

The Best DIY Air Freshener Recipe

Making a DIY air freshener is simple, and you likely already have the ingredients you need at home. What’s one of the most absorbent substances you can think of, whose cure-all possibilities are endless? Baking soda.

To make a baking soda-based homemade air freshener, you’ll need the following items:

  • At least one cup/130 grams of baking soda
  • A glass container, like a small mason jar or a clean pickle jar
  • A piece of thin fabric (from an old t-shirt, perhaps)
  • A ribbon, rubber band, or hair tie that will fit around the mouth of the jar
  • A small mixing bowl and a fork for mixing

Optional: Your favorite essential oil, dried herbs, or leftover apple peels. Other types of fruit peels work as well. If you do not have a piece of cloth, you can also use the lid of the jar: Simply punch a few holes in it with a small nail.

Step 1: Mix the Ingredients

Use a fork or a whisk for easy mixing.
Use a fork or a whisk for easy mixing.
(Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / Aqe)

Combine about 1 cup/ 130 grams of baking soda and whatever scented medium you’d prefer to use (if you choose to use any at all — more on that later!) in the mixing bowl. Incorporate any scent-enhancing elements into the baking soda with a fork. If you’re using essential oils, make sure that the oils are incorporated and not clumping into the baking soda.

Step 2: Put the Mixture in the Jar

Pour the baking soda mixture into your jar of choice. You can use a canning funnel if you already have one, or you can create a paper funnel out of recycled newspaper to prevent spills and waste. But, if you spill any, at least it’ll smell nice.

Step 3: Secure the Jar

You can secure the jar with a piece of fabric and a ribbon or punch a few holes in the lid with a nail.
You can secure the jar with a piece of fabric and a ribbon or punch a few holes in the lid with a nail.
(Foto: Utopia/ Melanie Hagenau)

Secure the jar by placing the piece of thin fabric over the mouth of the jar and securing it with a ribbon (perhaps leftover from gift-wrapping season, since preventing waste is key), a rubber band, or a hair tie. This way, if the jar gets tipped over, the fabric will prevent most of the baking soda from spilling out into a powdery mess.

If you prepared a lid instead, simply place it on the jar. Any room odors will be able to enter through the holes you punched in the lid. Just be careful not to tip the jar over. 

Step 4: Place the Jar

The final step is to place the jar wherever you’d like to eliminate odors in your home. We recommend placing a DIY air freshener in the backs of closets (baking soda will help control moisture, too), bathrooms, the kitchen, and the laundry room: places where odors are most likely to occur.

Step 5: Replace DIY Air Fresheners Once per Month

Replace the baking soda mixture once per month or when you notice odors starting to build up near your DIY air freshener. Since baking soda is relatively inexpensive, replacing them more often than needed is an excellent way to prevent odors as well as treat them.

Looking to freshen up the air in your car? Check out our 8 low-waste and natural DIY car fresheners.

What About Optional Ingredients?

Fruit peels make a lovely addition to any DIY air freshener.
Fruit peels make a lovely addition to any DIY air freshener.
(Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / jackmac34)

In the list of ingredients, we mentioned using optional essential oils, dried herbs, or leftover fruit peels. While baking soda will eliminate odors on its own, these ingredients can create pleasant scents when combined with the main ingredient.

If you’re using essential oils, make sure not to overdo it. If you’ve ever made DIY scented candles before, you know that essential oils are strong, so start with just a few drops and add more later if needed. 

If you’re using dried herbs, try chopping them or crumbling them into your baking soda mixture before mixing, which will maximize scent release. 

When using fruit peels, proceed with caution. You’ll have to replace your DIY air fresheners more frequently if you include fruit peels since they’ll rot over time. The last thing you want is for your homemade air freshener to become a breeding ground for fruit flies.

I Don’t Have Time to Make DIY Air Freshener

While we think our recipe is quite simple, some people just don’t have time to DIY all of their household products – including air fresheners. But, you still won’t be stuck with store-bought products if you harness the scent-absorption or scent-production of some of your other favorite products:

  • Fresh flowers: Begin growing fresh flowers for bees in your garden, and pick some for an indoor vase to harness their sweet scents. 
    • Chopped fresh or dried herbs: Whether you have a kitchen herb garden or pick them up from a local market, grab a few extras when you’re prepping your next meal. Chop them up and place them in a bowl on your kitchen counter to enjoy their aromatic effects. 
      • Coffee grounds: Naturally moisture- and odor-absorbing, small bowls of dry (not spent) coffee grounds can be placed around your home for both odor elimination and a pleasant coffee scent.

        Getting Rid of Odors without Sacrificing Sustainability

        Cut down on your use of aerosol air fresheners by mixing up a batch of our DIY air freshener.
        Cut down on your use of aerosol air fresheners by mixing up a batch of our DIY air freshener.
        (Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / khantayyab98)

        By making a DIY air freshener or placing natural materials around your home instead of purchasing a store-bought product, you’re contributing to sustainability efforts and reducing your carbon footprint. 

        Air fresheners in aerosol cans harm the environment, and absorbent gels and beads can be toxic to humans and pets. But, none of the ingredients in our DIY recipe require the purchase of anything plastic (or anything at all, if you already have baking soda at home). Reducing disposable plastic use is always a wise choice. 

        What are you waiting for? Get started on your homemade air freshener to eliminate odors without harming the planet.

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