While research suggests there are health benefits, the FDA doesn’t monitor or regulate the purity or quality of essential oils. It’s important to talk with your healthcare provider before you begin using essential oils and be sure to research the quality of a brand’s products. Always do a patch test before trying a new essential oil.
The more time you spend at home, the more you may find yourself contemplating fun and creative ways to refresh your space. One easy way to do it is with air fresheners — and making them at home is way simpler than you might think.
We’ve rounded up 17 recipes, any of which you can adapt to the scents you prefer.
These projects may inspire some resourcefulness, since ingredients can range from store-bought essential oils to flowers, fruits, and herbs from your garden or the farmers market.
You might even find inspiration on a hike or a neighborhood walk by foraging for the likes of fallen leaves, pods, and branches.
These recipes are designed for 8-ounce bottles, but you can halve a recipe to make a 4-ounce bottle.
|spray bottle (new or repurposed)||to hold your air freshener liquid|
|masking tape or chalk markers||to label the bottle|
|essential oils||to create your scent — use just one or a few in combination|
|distilled water, free of minerals||to water down the essential oils (which should always be diluted in at least a 1:1 ratio)|
|baking soda||to naturally absorb odor|
|witch hazel/vodka||to help emulsify the oil and water|
|dried herbs or flowers (optional)||to add different scents|
When using baking soda: Pour 1 tablespoon of baking soda into the bottle. Add your preferred essential oils. Fill the rest of the bottle with distilled water and shake. Add a dried herb or flower for more fragrance.
When using vodka or witch hazel: Use equal parts vodka or witch hazel and distilled water. Add your preferred essential oil and shake. Add a dried herb or flower for extra fragrance.
Spray these air fresheners into the air, onto towels, or onto bed linens to keep your home smelling fresh. For bathrooms, cars, and linens, use 2 or 3 pumps. For larger spaces, spritz 4 or 5 pumps.
Remember: Your nose will get used to scents, so don’t spray too much or your roommate or family might be a little shocked when they enter the room!
These recipes are based on research about how our brains respond to scents. But every person is different! If you find a specific scent to be more soothing or energizing, feel free to experiment. Just make sure you keep the ratio the same (3 to 5 drops to 3.4 ounces of water).
- For sleep: Combine 10 to 20 drops each of lavender and frankincense essential oils.
- To relax: Combine 12 drops of bergamot, 8 of sweet orange, and 2 of cinnamon.
- For focus: Combine 10 drops of peppermint, 10 of rosemary, and 5 of lemon.
- To de-stress: Combine 10 drops each of chamomile and ylang-ylang.
- For colds: Combine 15 drops eucalyptus and 5 of clove.
- For energy: Combine 15 drops of peppermint and 5 of sweet orange.
- To deodorize: Combine 15 drops of wild orange and 5 of clove.
Fill your space with the bright scent of citrus paired with the woody aroma of cloves.
Take a firm orange and puncture the skin with cloves — you can arrange them in a pattern or at random. Make a single pomander or fill a bowl for a more impactful scent. When it loses its scent, simply toss it in the compost bin.
Fill a pot with water and place it over low heat on the stove. Fill it with dried orange slices, fresh cranberries, cinnamon sticks, dried cloves, and fresh rosemary. (Set a timer for 20 minutes so you don’t forget it’s on the stove.)
Fill a large vase or small mason jar with fresh herbs plucked from the garden or purchased at the farmers market.
This is a great way to use up excess herbs too. Try using sprigs of thyme, rosemary, sage, mint, blooming basil, oregano, lavender, calendula, or yarrow. Add a single rose for extra color and fragrance.
Dried herb incense bundle
To make bundles of sage and or rosemary, cut pieces 4 to 5 inches long. Rinse them, and then trim the stems to make them even. Lay them flat on a cloth to dry.
Once the herbs are dry, wrap them tightly with butcher’s twine. You can also add dried flower petals for color. Hang them to dry for 3 to 4 weeks, and then burn them like incense.
No need for a fancy diffuser. Simply fill a pot with water and place it over low heat on the stove. Once it starts to simmer, add a few drops of your favorite essential oil. (Again, remember to set a timer for 20 minutes so you don’t forget it’s on the stove.)
To make a simple herbal tea that’s both soothing and aromatic, you can use an infusion tea kettle. Add some of your favorite herbs, like lemon balm, mint, lavender, or dried chamomile or calendula leaves. Trim leaves and flowers and rinse before adding them to the diffuser. Add more to taste.
Eucalyptus shower bouquets
Gather a dozen or more eucalyptus branches, hang them upside down, and trim the stems. Rinse to remove dirt, debris, and bugs. Tie tightly with twine, then use a separate piece of twine to tie the bouquet under the showerhead. The steam will help naturally release the oils inside the eucalyptus.
Rose petals and cinnamon sticks may remind you of your grandmother’s potpourri, but there are endless combinations of dried flower petals, leaves, branches, and pods to scent your home.
Consider dried apple slices or orange peels, along with cardamom pods, pine branches, bay leaves, juniper berries, and pine cones. Combine your ingredients in a large mason jar and let sit for a week, until the combined scent is ready for a dish.
Choose fragrant blooms from shrubs and trees like gardenias, lilac, and crabapple. They’ll fill your home with fragrance and make a beautiful tabletop or mantle centerpiece.
Lavender dryer bags
Add the scent of lavender to linens, clothing, and even your car with these DIY sachets.
Harvest fresh lavender, rinse, and hang to dry for 3 to 4 weeks. Clip flowers and chop or use scissors to cut. Place in a small muslin bag and tie in a knot.
The dryer bags can be used up to a dozen times, or until they lose their scent. You can also tuck them into drawers or place them in your car.
Chantal Lamers is the home editor at Greatist, covering everything from design to D.I.Y. to zero-waste topics. Find her tips on homesteading (and chicken wrangling) in the suburbs on Instagram.