Homemade air freshener is great, but sometimes it’s my clothes that need freshening. Homemade drawer fresheners aren’t a new idea (I’m pretty sure my grandmother had some), but they are a simple and economical way to add a fresh clean scent to your dresser drawers or add a special touch to the linen closet.
It’s also possible to make them with totally natural ingredients, and they are reusable! Sometimes time-tested methods are the best.
Why Use Homemade Drawer Fresheners?
I’ve talked before about the problem with fragrances, and that includes conventionally scented laundry products. Those laundry detergents, dryer sheets, and fabric softeners are linked to things like brain damage and cancer.
I use natural laundry options now, but often they don’t leave a lasting scent on clothing. I’d prefer to skip the toxins so sachets for drawers and closets are a simple, natural way to freshen clothing.
How to Make Natural Drawer Sachets
Drawer sachets are especially good for linen closets, sock drawers, and gym bags. This recipe uses essential oils, many of which have antimicrobial properties. These antibacterial and antifungal oils help to attack the stink at the root cause.
Lavender sachets are my favorite, but the scent options are endless! These also are a great gift idea!
I’ve seen recipes that use scented laundry beads for homemade drawer fresheners, but these are still made with conventional fragrances. DIY sachets with rice are a better choice. The rice absorbs the essential oils, and it’s also a cheap option. Herbs are another filling option. You could even use terra-cotta ornaments with essential oils dripped onto them.
For the sake of simplicity though, this recipe uses herbs, rice, and essential oils. (White rice has had the outer hull removed, so it will absorb more scent than brown.)
Ok, so essential oils aren’t going to last as long as chemical concoctions. However, there are some options that will linger longer than others. Some essential oils are considered “top notes” and these evaporate faster than “base notes.” Examples of top notes include citrus oils, peppermint, and eucalyptus.
Here are some examples of base notes, which have a longer-lasting scent. Typically these are the earthy and woodsy scents:
Base Note Essential Oils
- Amyris – Sweet, warm, and woodsy smelling. It has antiseptic and sedative properties
- Cedarwood – Woodsy and earthy smelling. It’s calming, helps relieve stress, and has antiseptic properties
- Benzoin – Has notes of vanilla and helps relieve stress
- Frankincense – Woodsy and earthy smelling. Helps to ground, calm, and relax the emotions. Good for stress and anxiety
- Ginger – A spicy, warm scent that’s uplifting
- Patchouli – Earthy, woodsy scent. Emotionally calming and grounding. It also has antiseptic and deodorant properties
- Peru Balsam – Woodsy with notes of vanilla. Soothing, helps reduce stress, and is anti-fungal and anti-septic
- Oakmoss – An earthy, mossy scent that is also a fixative (aka helps other scents last longer)
- Sandalwood – Woodsy, sweet scent. Calming, helps alleviate stress and depression
- Spikenard – Earthy and woodsy. Calming, relaxing, and helps with anxiety and nervous tension
- Vetiver – Woodsy, smoky, and earthy scent. Relaxing and grounding, helps with anxiety, nervous tension, and restlessness. Used in blends it acts as a fixative (aka helps other scent last longer)
- Vanilla – There is no such thing as vanilla essential oil, but there is vanilla CO2 extract, vanilla oleoresin, and vanilla absolute. If something is labelled “vanilla essential oil,” it’s likely synthetic. Vanilla helps with nervousness, anxiety, and restlessness (and it smells like sugar cookies!)
- Ylang Ylang – A very potent floral that works best when combined with other scents, like lavender. Helpful for anxiety, depression, and stress
Scent Combination Ideas
There are lot of different choices when it comes to making homemade sachets. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Lavender herb with lavender and bergamot essential oil
- Rose herb with ylang ylang and orange essential oil
- Dried orange peel with ginger and cinnamon essential oil
- Lavender herb with ylang ylang and geranium essential oil
- Dried orange peel with cedarwood and juniper essential oil
Be sure to use quality essential oils with a reputation for transparency and education on safe use. These are my favorite.
DIY Drawer Freshening Sachets
Pre-made organza or cotton bags (like these here) work for this project, or you can make your own. Here’s a very simple method that only takes a few minutes to put together.
Drawer Freshener Ingredients
- Fabric (breathable options like cotton work best)
- A small bowl, about 8 inches in diameter (soup/cereal bowls are the right size)
- Pencil or pen
- Pinking shears (these prevent the fabric from fraying)
- ¼ cup dried herbs (dried rose petals, lavender flowers, or orange peel are good options)
- ¼ cup white rice
- 10-20 drops of essential oils of choice
- Thin ribbon or yarn (about 6 inches long)
Drawer Freshener Instructions
- Lay the bowl on top of the fabric and trace around it.
- Use pinking shears to cut out the traced fabric.
- In the bowl make the filling by mixing together the dried herbs, white rice, and essential oil.
- Place the drawer freshener filling in the middle of the fabric , gather the edges, and secure with the ribbon or string.
- If you don’t have pinking shears you can use regular fabric scissors, but the edges will fray. To prevent fraying you can hem the edges, but then the project isn’t as quick.
- I find that hemming a square shape is much faster than trying to hem a circle. If you do decide to sew the edges, I’d use a ruler to measure and cut out a 8 inch by 8 inch square.
- As mentioned, you can use pre-made bags instead of fabric to make this project even faster and easier.
Storage and Shelf Life:
Scent will fade over time, but definitely store away from heat, light, and moisture for best shelf life.
To refresh, simply open the sachet and add a few drops of essential oils to the rice. Stir slightly or close and massage the bag to disperse the oils.
Fun Variations and Ways to Use
- Use sachet bags as home decor! Arrange several in a pretty bowl to serve as toddler-proof potpourri.
- If you sew, make it extra special by cutting and basting the edges to create a simple heart sachet. (Or use pinking shears and hem tape or hot glue the edge.) A great Valentine’s Day gift in place of candy!
- Makes a great DIY natural wedding or party favor.
- Use fabric scraps you already have to save time and money, especially if the sachets will be hidden away in a dresser drawer.
- Modernize sachets by using striped or graphic fabrics.
- Use as an inexpensive stocking stuffer or addition to a gift basket for a bridal shower or wedding gift.
- Put lavender-scented sachets under pillows to help induce better sleep naturally.
- Add drawer sachets between bath towels for a clean spa-like scent.
Have you ever made your own drawer fresheners? Which scents are your favorite?
Discussion (5 Comments)
I would like to make some for some of the men in my family to use however they like but most likely in their cars. What would be a good scent combo and the ratios for this? Thanks!
Where do I get the herbs lavender, citrus peel, rose hip? Thanks
How do you keep the contents from leaking out of the bags (through the weaving)? I’ve noticed that the contents break down over time and leave dust or tiny specks of matter in my drawers when more open weaves, like some muslins, are used. But if it’s too tight a weave, then maybe not as effective?
I knit cotton wash cloths so I can use them to use for making air fresheners
I like the dried flowers method without the rice as if you get any mice in your house that is the first thing they go for. For the bathroom and rooms I would use the dried flowers method in a decorative basket or a bowl as a room freshener and after the aroma fades I would use the essential oil or oils to replenish the scent. Now for the drawers in the house you could use them and make little bags for them out of cotton fabric and then when needed just open the bag and use the essential oil or oils of choice. Another way you could do this in drawers is save the cotton as it comes out of vitamin or herbs you buy and use the essential oil of choice on the cotton and make a bag to put over it so it will be easy to replenish the scent when needed.