I’m sure at one time or another you’ve purchased a store-bought air freshener or scented candle right?
If you still buy them, do yourself a favor and never buy them again.
That’s because most store-bought air fresheners out there, like plugins, Glade gels, or Febreze spray, are filled with toxic chemicals.
Even the National Geographic’s The Green Guide reported that
Many air fresheners contain nerve-deadening chemicals that coat your nasal passages and temporarily block your sense of smell.”
And that doesn’t even skim the surface.
In 2014, Scientific American reported that scented products like air fresheners or candles often contain harmful chemicals such as benzene and formaldehyde which can cause headaches, nausea, trigger asthma, cancer, and even damage your brain.
Air fresheners also often contain dispersants called phthalates.
This chemical is known to cause hormonal imbalances, birth defects, and reproductive problems.
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) found that 12 out of 14 commercial air fresheners contain phthalates.
And to make things worse, several of the air fresheners that contained phthalates were labeled as “all-natural” or “unscented.”
It’s just another example of companies exploiting the public’s growing interest in natural wellness and natural products.
After learning that most commercial air fresheners are downright horrible for my health, I started to look into ways to naturally scent my home.
Flash forward a year or so, I now have a collection of natural ways to scent my home.
I use these natural approaches almost every day. They are very handy to know.
1. Essential Oil Diffuser
Essential oil diffusers are one of my top favorite ways to make my home smell amazing throughout the day.
That is because you can scent your home however you want. Just pick an essential oil that appeals to you and put it in the diffuser with water. As you get familiar with the scents, you can begin to combine different essential oils into your own unique blends.
It’s really simple which is great because doing things the natural way often takes considerably more effort.
To get started, all you need is
- An essential oil diffuser (I use this one)
- Essential oils of your choosing or try a starter’s kit so you can try a variety of oils
- A room that you want to smell amazing
You can also use different essential oils for different situations.
For example, I use lemongrass and rosemary in my office. The smell is fresh and livening so it helps my productivity. Plus, a rosemary scented room has been found to improve your memory and ability to remember to-do tasks.
So that’s a huge bonus!
You can also try relaxing scents, such as lavender, to help you sleep at night.
2. Natural Air Purifier Bag
Natural air purifier bags work quite well for eliminating odors.
These bags typically contain bamboo charcoal which grabs odors and removes moisture from the air.
This makes them great for your wardrobe, car, bathroom, or shoebox / mudroom. It can make them smell much better and less stale.
Check out the Amazon reviews yourself, as I was skeptical at first too because there are so many products out there that simply don’t work.
But this product is pleasantly surprising in its ability to freshen up certain areas of your home.
I would not suggest this product, however, for large rooms (that’s where the diffuser comes into play).
You can get natural air purifying bags here.
3. Simmer Pot
This one reminds me of my childhood because my Mom used to always have a small pot of cinnamon sticks and apples simmering during the fall. It produces an amazing scent that completely captures the essence of fall in your home.
Simmer pots are probably one of the easiest ways to scent your home because you don’t have to buy much (if anything).
To scent your home using a simmer pot, take these steps:
- Gather your ingredients. You can use mostly anything or use one of my suggestions below.
- Fill a small saucepan with water (around ¾ of the way) and bring it to a boil
- Add the ingredients of your favorite scent and boil for 2-3 more minutes
- Turn the heat down to a simmer and enjoy the results
- Add water as necessary– every 30-45 minutes or so.
If you need some simmer pot recipes to start out with, give one of these a try:
- Cinnamon Sticks
- Apple peels
- Whole cloves (2-3)
- Orange rinds (optional)
- Dried rosemary
- Dried lavender
- Dried eucalyptus leaves
- Peppermint or spearmint leaves
- 3 sprigs of evergreen
- Cinnamon sticks
- Lemon rind
- OR orange rind
The only downfall of this method is that you should be home for the whole duration. It’s never a good idea to leave burners on when you’re not home.
It’s a great method for weekends or holidays.
4. Essential Oil Reed Diffuser
If you aren’t quite ready to invest in a diffuser or you need an option that doesn’t required electricity, reed diffusers are an excellent option.
You can make them yourself or purchase them for less than 10 dollars.
To make your own essential oil reed diffusers all you need is
- Reed diffuser bottle (like this one)
- Essential oil combination of your choosing
- Reeds or bamboo skewers
Fill the diffuser bottle with water, add 2-3 tablespoons of vodka and the essential oils (around 12 drops total per ¼ cup of water). Cover and mix.
Place one end of the reeds into the mixture, allow it to soak for 2 hours and then flip the reeds so the opposite ends are submerged.
Over the course of the next few hours, the oil will naturally travel up the reeds and you will begin to smell it.
Make sure you take out the reeds and flip them around every few days to refresh the scent.
5. Homemade Air Freshener Spray
Whether your pet decided to gift you with a morning surprise on the carpet, or your gym bag smells like something died in it, there are always nasty smells that need to be tamed.
DIY air freshener sprays are great for temporary smells that need to be vanquished.
And they are really simple to make.
All you need is:
- A spray bottle
- Distilled water (regular water works too but if you have well-water the minerals could stain certain things)
- One teaspoon of baking soda
- 12 drops of an essential oil of your choosing (lemon works quite well). You can also mix and match essential oils
Get out a small bowl and mix the baking soda and essential oil(s). Using a funnel, pour the mixture into the spray bottle.
Top off the container with water (I sometimes add a little vinegar or even tea tree oil to make it disinfect).
6. Gel Air Fresheners
Several commercial companies sell gel air fresheners but unfortunately they are filled with harmful chemicals (like all the other fresheners out there).
If you were a fan of gel air fresheners, you can actually make them yourself. They look pretty cool too!
You can try this recipe by the tastykitchen but you need to make the following modifications:
- Don’t add the essential oils until the liquid is below around 100 degrees F. Essential oils have a smoke point and if you put the oils in when it is too hot, your gels will have no smell to them.
- I would omit the food coloring unless you use natural food coloring alternatives. Food coloring is full of some nasty chemicals that can really mess up your body.
7. Fill Your Old Plug-Ins With Essential Oil[If you happen to have an old plug-in air freshener laying around you can actually fill it with natural essential oils!
With most plug-ins you buy in the store, you can remove the bulb (where their chemical scent is stored) and remove the wick.
Some plugins are a little more stubborn. If yours is this way, just try gently working a butter knife into it. It should eventually work its way out.
Once you remove the bulb, rinse it out thoroughly.
Then just fill the bulb up 3/4 of the way with an essential oil mixture of your choosing. Fill it up the rest of the way with water and mix it up.
Put the bulb back in and you’re good to go! You now have a natural plug-in air freshener.
Homemade Air Fresheners are The Way to Go
Whichever way you choose to naturally scent your own home, what’s important is that you’re avoiding potentially harmful chemicals. Plus, I whole-heartedly prefer natural scents that I make over commercial air fresheners.
Commercial air fresheners tend to have an unappealing chemical-ness to their scents. I became much more aware of this after using my own DIY air fresheners for the past couple of years.
With that said, hopefully you get a chance to try one of these out and ditch commercial air fresheners once and for all. There is no place for them.
Comment below if you have any more ideas to contribute or if you have an amazing essential oil combination that you would like to share with us all.