How to Make Homemade Natural Air Freshener

Posted on June 30th, 2011 by Tonia 31 Comments

Can we talk straight for a second? Sometimes the house can use a little freshening up. Knowimsayin’?

This week, for example, we had a couple sunny days {finally!} after a long stretch {weeks!} of rain and thunderstorms. When it gets sunny around here, it means we’re outside all day long busting our butts to get the gardens weeded and to catch up on the chores and projects that were on hold while it was raining.

We’re in and out with dirty boots to grab water or tools, we scarf down a quick lunch and head right back out without cleaning up, etc. The house gets messy, fast. After a few days like that, it’s time to give it some TLC.

So this afternoon, after sweeping the floors and doing the dishes, I went around the yard and cut some flowers for the table.

And I made some air fresheners as well. This is the simplest little project, and exactly what our house needed to perk it back up. All it takes is a vessel of some sort {I used old Ball jars}, baking soda {the list of uses this substance has is seemingly unending}, and your favorite essential oil.

Fill the vessel {Ball jar} about 1/4 full of baking soda, and add 6-8 drops of the essential oil into it. You can leave the jar open for maximum scent dispersal {but keep out of reach of pets}, or do what I did and punch some holes in the lid with a hammer and nail.

The baking soda absorbs odors, and the essential oil smells delicious and natural. This is much more economical and environmentally friendly than those chemical air fresheners you can buy and plug into an outlet.

Shake the jar gently every few days to revive the scent, and add more oil as needed.

I did a few different scents and placed the jars all around the house. Orange in the kitchen, to energize us. Rose in the bathroom, because it’s calming and feminine and dainty. Rosewood in the living room because it’s the smell of the first home I ever had, when I was a baby in Peru.

Smells can invoke all kinds of emotions and memories. Have you ever had that experience where a certain smell suddenly brings back a forgotten moment to you?

The smell of chainsaw fuel, snow and wood reminds me of my dad. Leather and hay bring back so many special moments spent with my horses growing up.

Apple pie reminds me of a moment when I was little, playing outside in the yard in the autumn, the smell of my mom baking inside wafting through the window, and a feeling of total safety and contentment.

And the smell of dog fur brings back the feeling of freedom and wildness I had on a sparkling winter night under a full moon when I took my Husky and my Springer Spaniel {who thought he was a Husky} out for a nighttime dog-sled run in the woods.


  1. Kitt says:

    Clever! And very appealing. I will have to try that. We’re a little heavy on the Eau de Wet Dog around here lately.

    Enjoying your blog, found via Six Orange Carrots.

  2. Devin says:

    A friend of mine just got married, and at her personal shower, someone gave her one of those little tins with good smelling wax into. Not sure if it was a perfume, or air-fresher, but the friend instructed her to keep it with her and smell it all through her wedding day, so that whenever she smelled it, she would be instantly transported back to her wedding! Isn’t that cool?

    It’s true that smells really do evoke some of the strongest memories. I still am transported back to middle school, if I get a wiff of Lemon-Lime Bonnie Bell Lip balm. haha!

  3. Rea says:

    Great idea! I think I will make a few of these today.

  4. Simple and useful. Thank you for the post.

  5. Patricia says:

    Really great idea- I’ll definitely give this a try (as soon as I figure out where to buy essential oils!) There’s an old perfume called “Taboo”…it reminds me of my great-grandma who was a lovely, soft, chubby little woman with blue eyes and white hair who wore it every day. She used to give me tea and let me wear one of her negligees with a silk ribbon around my waist to hold it up. Whenever I smell it- which is rare now- I’m instantly 7 years old and feel very grand indeed.

  6. Tonia says:

    All of you have such great stories!!

    @Patricia: Do you have a natural foods store nearby? I found these oils at our food co-op in town. Your story is so sweet.

    @Devin: SUCH a great idea! A regret I have from our wedding is that I never was able to find a perfume to wear on the day. I don’t normally wear perfume, and I am really picky about that kind of thing, so I ended up just going without. But I really wish I had a smell associated with that day. :\ However! I used a certain lip-gloss on our honeymoon constantly, and now whenever I put it on/smell it, my brain goes “HAWAII!!” :)

  7. Cristy says:

    Hi, I wanted to say I just found your website and LOVE it. I’m a native of central Wisconsin so it’s nice to see someone so close doing good for the enviro! :) I will be spending some time going through the backlog of your posts for more awesomeness.

    And I am loving these clever techniques and amazing photos. Very cool! :)

  8. Cathy Schroeder says:

    Tonia, very timely. I was just going to go off and buy some odor absorbing crystal type stuff that is way expensive and probably not very good for the environment. This will come in handy in the laundry room and Uncle Keith’s closet. Mariano’s sells those essential oils pictured on the left.

    I always have a funny story on your posts. Someone told the story of either Anna or Maggie getting in their car with friends and the friend said what’s that smell, it smells like poop and either Anna or Maggie said, “Oh that’s just my dad!” True story!

    I always loved the smell of Kate and Clare after they got out of the tub and wanted to cuddle with me. They had to have the “body wrap”, I would wrap them all up with towels and blankets and they would cuddle in my lap before they got their pajamas on!

  9. Chel says:

    Definitely going to try that for our closets. It’s always nice to have fresh smelling clothes. I have to use non-scented and high-chemical detergents because of allergies so this is a great substitute!

  10. Tonia says:

    @Cathy: HAHA!! I remember that story about Anna and Maggie. TOO funny. Little kids after baths are the most precious thing on Earth, I think. :)
    @Cristy: Hi! A fellow Cheese Head! :)

  11. Tonia says:

    @Chel: It would work great in closets {it is more effective in small rooms}!

  12. Great article. Your flowers in the first pic are amazing. Got a tip for you… the bulk barn sells aluminum free baking soda which is better as it does not disrupt the chemical structure of the essential oils.

  13. […] [does it] smell like fish in here”? I’m thinking I should try to make a few of these for the next time our dinner is a bit too […]

  14. […] [does it] smell like fish in here”? I’m thinking I should try to make a few of these for the next time our dinner is a bit too […]

  15. Emily says:

    Can’t wait to try this! Thanks for sharing!

  16. Amber says:

    I need to make this I can’t wait! Ok I can wait because I have to get some essential oils first.

    I’m going to link this post up on my blogs FB page on Friday! Life, Love, Green

    Oh and lastly I’m a new follower, you seem right up my alley šŸ˜‰


  17. Tonia says:

    Welcome, Amber!! Good luck with the air freshener. My favorite is orange for the kitchen and rose essence for the bedroom. Thanks for the link!!

  18. Susan says:

    How cool is this! Thanks for sharing. I have a baby shower this weekend, I might make these for party favors in small mason jars. Thanks again!


  19. Tonia says:

    That is such a cute idea, Susan! And it’s the gift that keeps on giving :)

  20. Anon says:

    Just an FYI on this idea… I used peppermint, turns out it’s in the same family as katnip. My cat ate the cotton ball with the peppermint on it as soon as I turned my back on her. Googled it and watched her carefully, it’s not good for cats. However, it’s a great way to freshen up the house. We also use peppermint oils for our boat during storage to keep the mice out.

  21. jamie says:

    where do you buy your rosewood? it’s my all time favourite scent and Aura Cacia doesn’t make it anymore. I would soooo appreciate the information: THANK YOU!~

  22. Tonia says:

    Jamie- The Rosewood essential oil I have is by Aura Cacia. I’m bummed to hear they don’t make it anymore! I wonder if NOW Organics makes it…

  23. Richelle says:

    I hate to think of how much I’ve spent over the years on AirWick plug in air fresheners! NO MORE!! I’m so thankful for this website! Am going to hit the store tomorrow & buy up some oils! Excited to try this! Thank you

  24. […] this idea on Pinterest and thought it was too cute not to try. It was posted my great blog called Itty Bitty Impact. Basically, itā€™s just baking soda and essential oils, but you can have so much fun with it and it […]

  25. […] was excited to try out this simpleĀ homemade naturalĀ air freshener thatĀ I read about here and here.Ā  It took me less than 5 minutes to assemble, including the time to find a cute scrap of fabric in […]

  26. Teresa says:

    I too, am making these for Christmas gifts! I am wondering though: How long do you think the fragrance will last if I make this now for Christmas this year? I am using a small ball jar with the lid on them for now.

  27. […] via itty bitty impact […]

  28. Patricia says:


    First time walking through your site. Love your idea of your homemade air freshener – simple and easy. Gonna make it !!! Gonna smells heavenly !!!


  29. lily says:

    I did everything that it says but it doesn’t work for me I can’t smell nothing do you think that it have something to do with the type of oil that I use I buy a Walmart brand do i need to buy other brand? Please reply thanks

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