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How to Make Your Own Car Air Freshener

Updated on November 6, 2016

Car air fresheners are extremely popular, but they can be relatively expensive and may only last a few weeks. This Hub will show you a number of ways in which you can make your own home-made car air freshener which can be topped up whenever needed and for the matter of a few pence each time.

1. Buy some essential oils

Most retail air fresheners use a mix of chemicals and natural oils to produce a smell. Many people don't realise that you can buy the oils yourself - called 'essential oils' - and chose from lots of different smells.

Amazon sell a number of sets of different oils at very reasonable prices. At first you might think that the price is a little high for a small amount of oil but you only need a few drops of essential oil to provide a long lasting smell. What's more you can also use them around you home and even for bathing. You can them use them along with the method that we will go into below to make your own, natural, long lasting air fresheners for just a few pennies.

2. Homemade Potpourri

Potpourri is really easy to make and is totally natural. You can use a number of different materials including cinnamon rolls, pine cones, dried apple, star anise and many other materials. Even wood shavings work!

Once you've decided on the contents of your Potpourri simply pour around 6 to 8 drops of your favourite essential oil on a handful of the Potpourri, put it in an old (clean) sock or a little material pocket and put it under your seat. Just pour in a few drops every week or so to top up the smell.

Homemade Potpourri is very easy to make - you can even use wood shavings if you're low on materials.
Homemade Potpourri is very easy to make - you can even use wood shavings if you're low on materials.

3. Homemade Febreze

In my opinion, Febreze is a good product for spraying seats and carpets in a car but it's very expensive for what it is. So why not make your own for much less?

  1. Take an empty Febreze bottle (or any other type of unused spray bottle) around 500ml
  2. Add around 60-80ml of decent fabric softener (like Lenor) and pour it in the bottle
  3. Fill up the bottle with cold water

And there you have it - Febreze for the fraction of the price!

Note: If you're only going to use the spray every now-and-then, as an optional extra you can add 50ml of white vinegar to the mix to stop the water turning over time. No need to do this if you're going to use the mixture up in a month - it'll last.

Important: Don't spray water based sprays in your car during cold and damp weather as they may contribute to annoying condensation in the car.

4. Natural gel-style air fresheners

You're probably not going to want liquids splashing around in your car, so do you know you can make your own gel-style car air freshers cheaply and without the horrible chemicals contained in a shop-bought gel? Here's how:

  1. Take a small jar, around 200ml in size
  2. If you want a coloured gel, add a few drops of your favourite food colouring
  3. Add two teaspoons of essential oils to the jar (a bit less if you want a very mild scent)
  4. Bring 100ml of water to the boil in a pan and add 2-3 envelopes of unscented geletine to the water - whisk until dissolved
  5. Add half a tablespoon of salt and mix
  6. Add another 180ml of cold water
  7. Carefully pour the mixture into the jar (it'll be hot, so take it steady)
  8. Gentley mix a few time and then leave for 10 hours to cool.

That's it! Enjoy your natural, home-made, scented gel. Place it in a cup holder or door pocket in your car.

5. Simple Salt Freshener (which attracts damp)

This one's so simple it hurts. Just take some free-flowing table salt (the cheap stuff will do).

Pour about 100g of salt in a small plastic container or jar, drop 10-12 drops of your favourite essential oil into it, cover with some fabric (I used an old clean sock) and use a rubber band to secure. Place somewhere in your car.

The added bonus of this car air freshener is that it will also attract damp due to the salt. Very simple. Just make sure you try it daily (either by a warm vent in your car or perhaps overnight in your home airing cupboard):

6. Make your own hanging air freshener (like a 'Magic tree' or 'Black Ice') out of wool felt

If you like a gangly air freshener, why not make your own out of wool felt?

Wool felt can be purchased on Amazon very inexpensively and gives you the option of making all manner of shapes which can be hung inside your car. Here's how to make them:

  1. Cut out your shape to around 12cm high. You might want to go for a simple 'magic tree' shape or perhaps something more personal to you like an animal or festive character
  2. Drop 6 to 8 of your favourite essential oils right onto the wool shape.Allow to dry completely
  3. Using a small hole punch, punch a hole for hanging near the top of your shape and then thread a piece of string or a decorative lace to make the look for hanging
  4. Repeat step two every two weeks or so

6. Grass cuttings

No, I haven't gone completely mad.

When I worked in the motor trade we would occasionally get a car some in part-exchange which had been owned by a smoker. Getting rid of the smell of cigarette smoke in a car is almost impossible - the smoke penetrates the material of the seats, the seat foam, the head linings - and even the best car valets can't completely rid the car of the smell.

One day my Manager arrived at work with a cardboard box, lined with a black dustbin bag, full of fresh grass cuttings. He said he has been told by a friend that this could help absorb the smell. So, after cleaning the car, it was placed in a dark lookup garage with the box in the back and all the windows closed. One week later we opened the car up to the smell of fresh cut grass and the very tiniest smell of smoke. It wasn't perfect but it certainly made a difference.

Why not make a small material bag, place grass cuttings in it and replace once a week during the summer for that 'fresh grass' smell every time you get in your car?


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