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Green DIY Air Freshener Recipes and Essential Oil Blends

Updated on December 7, 2018
ChristinS profile image

Christin is a simple living, frugal, DIY enthusiast who loves showing others how to live their best by embracing simplicity.

DIY Air Freshner Recipes with Essential Oils
DIY Air Freshner Recipes with Essential Oils

Commercial Air Fresheners – The Awful Truth

Commercial air fresheners are loaded with carcinogens and neurotoxins and are one of the most toxic household products on the market. A study by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) showed that 12 of 14 common household air fresheners contained phthalates - known toxins linked to asthma, cancer, birth defects, and hormonal abnormalities. None of these products had this disclosed on their labeling. In addition to Phthalates, many air fresheners contain formaldehyde, a known carcinogen.

Aren't these ingredients required to be labeled? Surely companies can't just be allowed to poison consumers right? Wrong.

Currently there is no federal regulation of chemicals in cleaning products. Companies are not required to list their ingredients nor are they required to perform health and safety testing. The fragrance industry is able to hide all sorts of toxins behind the generic term fragrance due to “trade secret” laws that protect the industry. The result are hidden neurotoxins, carcinogens, and other irritants wrapped up in pretty packaging and marketed to you as a way to improve your home.

The reality is these products contribute greatly to indoor air pollution that may be making you sick without your knowledge.

DIY Air Freshener Benefits

  • Non-toxic
  • Non-staining
  • Eco-Friendly
  • Child and Pet Friendly
  • Provide Aromatherapy Benefits
  • Less Expensive that Commercial Products
  • Customizable

Clearing the Air - Literally!

There are safe and effective ways to create your own all-natural air fresheners that will reduce your exposure to toxins and give your home a fresh clean scent. You'll save your health, your money, and the environment every time you use them instead of a commercial product.

The DIY Air fresheners I'm sharing use 100% Essential Oils for their fragrance. Essential oils are naturally derived. Many are naturally germicidal and others have amazing aromatherapy benefits. You can use just one or a blend to create your own unique fragrance.

Base Recipe

  • ¼ cup vodka
  • 1 cup distilled water
  • 10-20 drops of your favorite essential oil or oil blend (see chart below for ideas)

Place ingredients in a clean plastic spray bottle. Never reuse commercial spray bottles, purchase a new spray bottle to use for your homemade products.

Essential oil use will vary depending on the oils you choose. All essential oils are concentrated and have a strong fragrance. Some are stronger than others, but as a general rule 10-20 drops is quite sufficient.

Alternative Method:

If you don't want to use alcohol, replace it with ¼ cup white vinegar. Vinegar is a natural deodorizer, but unfortunately over time it will also weaken your fragrance. You may need to refresh with a drop or two of oil before it runs out. Also, this blend has a shorter shelf-life since the alcohol isn't present to act as a preservative. The bonus to using vinegar is you can also use it as an all purpose cleaner to quickly wipe down surfaces and leave a fresh scent.

If I had to choose one from the list for cleaning purposes it would be tea tree oil for it's strong antiseptic properties - great for flu season and it has a variety of uses.

Essential Oils to Use

Essential oils are highly concentrated and a little goes a long way. Every essential oil has different properties that determine its unique scent and qualities. Oils can be used for their aromatherapy benefits, or simply for their lovely natural smell.

There are many oils to choose from. Use the list and chart below to find one or create a combination with 2 or 3. (more than 3 is not suggested)

  • Basil Basil is light, sweet-smelling and a bit spicy. In aromatherapy it is used for mental clarity, to relieve anxiety and depression, and fight fatigue. It blends well with bergamot and sage.
  • Bergamot Bergamot essential oil has a slightly floral, highly citrusy fragrance that is very refreshing. It is used to balance mood in Aromatherapy. It is gently uplifting and encouraging – great for a little pick me up during times of stress. It helps relieve anxiety. Bergamot mixes well with many other oils including sage, other citrus oils, rose and lavender.
  • Cinnamon Cinnamon is highly aromatic and spicy. It is a natural stimulant used to fight mental fatigue and depression. It also has antimicrobial properties and is good for preventing the spread of germs. Use sparingly in room sprays to avoid irritation. Cinnamon makes a great winter blend with any citrus oil.
  • Lavender Lavender has a distinct sweet, floral-herbaceous scent. It is calming and refreshing. In aromatherapy it used to fight insomnia and promote relaxation. It can also ease headaches and tension. Great for a relaxing blend, or use with a stimulating oil like rosemary to be alert but calm. Lavender blends well with citrus oils, sage, pine, rosemary, and cedarwood.
  • Lemon This oil has a crisp, clean fragrance just like the fresh fruit. It is uplifting and soothing to those with respiratory issues like bronchitis, colds, sore throats, etc. Lemon oil blends well with other citrus oils, lavender, rose or sandalwood.
  • Lemongrass This oil has a distinct lemon scent with a subtle earthy undertone. It is a light fragrance that is simultaneously relaxing and uplifting. In aromatherapy it is used to treat nervous exhaustion, headaches, and other stress related issues. Lemongrass blends well with bergamot, lavender, patchouli, and rosemary.
  • Orange This oil is sweet and refreshing, just like the fruit. Orange oil is multi-purpose with a variety of uses for home cleaning products. Orange oil is a natural antiseptic and bacteriacidal oil. It also works as an anti-depressant. Blend orange oil with other oils for best results as the orange scent tends to fade very quickly. Orange oil blends well with other citrus oils, sage, lavender, patchouli, and rosemary.
  • Pine Pine has a strong aroma that is refreshing and enlivening. It is naturally antimicrobial, antiseptic, antiviral, and bacteriacidal. In aromatherapy pine is used to relieve stress, clear the sinuses, and fight fatigue. It blends well with bergamot, lavender, lemon, rosemary and tea tree oils.
  • Rosemary Rosemary has a distinct, fairly pungent aroma that is woodsy and evergreen like. The scent is refreshing and invigorating. In aromatherapy rosemary provides a warming sensation and clears the head. It is used to fight stress related disorders like exhaustion, headaches, and depression. It stimulates the adrenals. In addition it is also antimicrobial and germicidal. Rosemary can be blended with basil, lavender, pine or lemongrass.
  • Tea Tree Tea tree has a very distinct scent that is strong and medicinal. It's best to blend it with other oils. The main benefit to this oil are its very strong antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, antiviral, and fungicidal properties. It is also stimulates the immune system. In aromatherapy it used to ease respiratory illnesses and it has a cooling, head-clearing effect. This oil blends well with lemon, lavender, and rosemary.

Essential Oil pairings and properties
Essential Oil pairings and properties | Source

There are many essential oils that can be used in the home. The ones I listed here tend to be the least expensive and most popular.

For Best Results

Don't use the same blend for extended periods of time. Overexposure to a certain oil can cause it to lose it's aromatherapy benefits.

Save money by purchasing oils online. Most health food stores and new age shops are extremely expensive when it comes to essential oils. I purchase most of my essential oils in bulk on eBay or individually on Amazon.

Store your essential oils in amber glass bottles out of the sunlight to keep them from degrading.

Shake thoroughly before every use to evenly disperse the ingredients.

Always spot test for color fastness if you plan to spray directly onto fabrics. I've never had a problem, but it's just a good practice.

Opinions on Essential Oils

What is your favorite essential oil?

See results

© 2013 Christin Sander


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    • ChristinS profile imageAUTHOR

      Christin Sander 

      5 years ago from Midwest

      Thanks Rosie I appreciate the pin :)

    • Rosie writes profile image

      Rosie writes 

      5 years ago from Virginia

      Great ideas for air fresheners! Pinned.

    • ChristinS profile imageAUTHOR

      Christin Sander 

      6 years ago from Midwest

      Thanks for reading and commenting Sue, I love the citrus oils also so uplifting!

    • Sue Bailey profile image

      Susan Bailey 

      6 years ago from South Yorkshire, UK

      Since having breast cancer a couple of years ago I stopped using commercial air fresheners and began using oil burners. I use organic beeswax tea lights and organic pure essential oils which I dilute with water. I prefer the citrous oils myself but occasionally add peppermint or rosemary to them for a change.

    • ChristinS profile imageAUTHOR

      Christin Sander 

      6 years ago from Midwest

      Thanks for the comments randomcreative and donna - I appreciate that and the pins.

      You'd be surprised by how many products are toxic - shampoos, lotions, deodorants, lots of stuff. Anything that has "fragrance" listed pretty much.

    • donnah75 profile image

      Donna Hilbrandt 

      6 years ago from Upstate New York

      I had no idea that commercial fragrances were toxic! Thank you. Pinning so I can make my own. :)

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 

      6 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      I am in awe at all of the DIY recipes available these days for basic home products. I'd never considered making anything like this until a year ago or so. Thanks for the wonderful resource. There are so many options here.

    • ChristinS profile imageAUTHOR

      Christin Sander 

      6 years ago from Midwest

      thanks everyone for the lovely comments - much appreciated. Nothing smells as natural and great to me as pure essential oils.

    • Gordon Hamilton profile image

      Gordon Hamilton 

      6 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

      Wow - what an awakening. I did have some vague idea of the dangers of commercial air fresheners but I didn't realise they were so profound. I love the range of fragrances you suggest, prepared in such a simple fashion. You should start a production company! :)

    • ChristinS profile imageAUTHOR

      Christin Sander 

      6 years ago from Midwest

      Thanks for reading and sharing Jaye I appreciate it. It boggles the mind what is allowed to be put into products and that they don't have to disclose that information!

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 

      6 years ago from Deep South, USA

      This is a great hub with a vital message. Too many people don't realize they're inhaling toxins when they spray that commercial air freshener. Thanks for sharing your DIY recipe for making a green and healthful air freshener.

      Voted Up+++ and shared


    • Sharkye11 profile image

      Jayme Kinsey 

      6 years ago from Oklahoma

      Sounds nice! I would love to make some cinnamon air freshener. It would be awesome to use in the closets! Thanks for the tips and the recipe!

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 

      6 years ago from Arizona

      Loved this hub with so many great ideas..and I love essential oils. Great job..pinning.


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