Natural Homemade Air Freshener Recipes

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Between pets, kids, and everyday life, homes can smell less than fresh sometimes. Artificially scented air fresheners don’t offer much of a solution as they just mask the smell with toxins. I frequently use these 3 methods to cleanse the air in our home, but I also like using these natural air fresheners for their inviting and refreshing scent.

How Natural Air Fresheners Can Affect Mood

Smells, whether natural or not, affect our brain and body chemistry. When something is inhaled, the molecules enter into the amygdala, a part of the brain that controls emotion. (This is why smelling a fresh batch of gingerbread cookies can remind us of Christmas). Since these molecules have direct access to the brain, it’s important to watch what is inhaled.

Artificial fragrances may smell nice, but they can cause damage. The National Resource Defense Council tested fourteen air fresheners and found that most contained chemicals known to cause hormone imbalance, birth defects, or reproductive harm.

Inhaling essential oils, on the other hand, can affect the mind and mood in a positive way. Essential oils like lavender and vetiver are calming, while citrus oils are uplifting.

Why Not All Homemade Air Fresheners Are the Same

When creating natural, homemade air freshener recipes, it’s important to have a balanced blend. Artificial fragrances rely on synthetic chemicals to create a scent that will linger. Essential oils, unfortunately, evaporate much faster due to their volatile nature.

To combat this, certain essential oils are used as “base” note oils. Their constituents are heavier and the scent lingers for longer, helping to “fix” the lighter top notes.

These homemade air freshener recipes use a blend of top, middle, and base notes to create a fragrance with a little more staying power. They still won’t last as long as their synthetic counterparts, but they have actual physical benefits and make a home smell amazing.

Homemade Air Freshener Recipes

What appeals to one person may not to another, so here are four different natural air freshener recipes to try. They’re simple enough that it’s even easy to make different ones to fit the desired mood benefits.

Where to Get Essential Oils

I typically purchase my essential oils here. They offer many organic options, bulk sizes and a 10% discount with the code WellnessMama. Plant Therapy oils are also available on Amazon at the links below in the individual recipes.

Citrus Sunshine Spice Air Freshener

This blend contains uplifting orange and lemon essential oils. Sweet orange essential oil not only uplifts the mood but also has potent anti-fungal properties. Lemon has both antibacterial and antiviral properties. Lemon further affects the mood by increasing alertness and soothing angry feelings.

Ginger, on the other hand, helps to stimulate the mind in a positive way and is commonly used to alleviate depression.


Fantastic Floral Air Freshener

Floral scents are frequently calming and help to relieve anxious feelings. Lavender is well known for its wound healing capabilities, but it’s equally as good at relieving stress and sadness. Geranium has a wide array of cleansing properties and is antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal.

Ylang ylang is the grounding base note of this natural air freshener, and is frequently used to relieve fear and anxiety.


Walk Through the Woods Air Freshener

This blend has a woodsy scent and a grounding effect on the mood. Juniper berry helps combat feelings of apathy, and adds a fresh note to the blend. Cypress is also used for apathy and even grieving.

Cypress cleanses the air with its antibacterial and antiviral effects, and cedarwood grounds the blend and ties it all together.


Earthy Grounding Blend Air Freshener

Patchouli is infamously known as the scent of hippies, but it’s so much more than that. Patchouli is antifungal and antibacterial, helping to purify the air. Grapefruit is also cleansing and helps to uplift the mood. Finally, clary sage is often used when there are feelings of depression or apathy and helps balance the mood.


How to Make Homemade a Air Freshener with Essential Oils

It’s pretty simple … only two quick steps!


  1. Add the essential oils and vodka to the spray bottle and swirl gently to combine.
  2. Add distilled water until the spray bottle is almost full, then cap tightly and shake to combine.

Alternately- these all make amazing diffuser blends. I review my favorite diffusers here.

To Use:

  • Shake well before use and liberally spray into the air. Aim as high as possible, as the mist will fall through the air, releasing its scent as it does.
  • These natural air fresheners can also be sprayed on most linens and upholstery to freshen them. If there’s any concern about damage occurring, test an inconspicuous piece of fabric first.

Want to freshen your closet, drawers, and gym bag too? Try these DIY drawer sachets with essential oils and herbs.

What do you do to freshen the air in your home? What are your favorite air freshener scents?

Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


50 responses to “Natural Homemade Air Freshener Recipes”

  1. Syd Avatar

    I have been using essential oils to freshen the air in my home since last winter. Since I have several dogs and a guinea pig I always check to see which oils are safe for these pets before using them. I have been using just water to dilute the oil. What is the purpose of the vodka?

    1. Brad Avatar

      Alcohol is used in nearly all perfumes because it evaporates at room temperature. Mixing it with a scent gets the smell into the air as the vodka evaporates.

  2. Grace Avatar

    Is there a recipe to air fresheners without using Vodka? What is the substitution for alcohol?

  3. Lisa Avatar

    Hi, I am interested on buying a diffuser. My concern on them, is that I see alot of them are made in plastic and when the plastic heats up it maybe giving out toxins in the air. Are their ones made in a safe substance? You mentioned the nebulisers. I would be interested in them as well. Thank you for responding. Sincerely, Lisa

    1. Sarah Avatar

      Some people choose not to have alcohol of any kind in their homes for various reasons. Kids, past alcoholic additions, or simply keeping unhealthy items out of the home are all good reasons to question the vodka.

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar

      While water is a large part of the recipe, the vodka acts as a preservative so it should last a few weeks. Using distilled water will prolong its shelf-life as well.

  4. Tara Avatar

    These look great! Do you happen to have any Thanksgiving and/or Christmas (fall/winter) air freshener E.O. recipes (one heavy on the cinnamon would be fantastic)?

    Thanks for these air freshener recipes!

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar

      There’s a lot of debate on using essential oils with cats. From my understanding, a few essential oils are safe for use around cats, but I would err on the side of caution.

  5. Rebecca Avatar

    Hi, I’d love to try these air fresheners, but I’ve read that essential oils can be very dangerous to cats. Are these recipes safe to use around cats? Thanks!

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar

      There’s a lot of debate on using essential oils with cats. From my understanding, a few essential oils are safe for use around cats, but I would err on the side of caution.

  6. Beth Avatar

    Please keep in mind if you have cats that some essential oils are very toxic to them.

  7. Sarah U Avatar

    What’s the purpose of the vodka? Can I make it without it? That’s not something we have in our house.

  8. Rebecca Avatar

    Thanks for responding! I will try some of the alternative options as we simply can’t do the vodka here.

  9. Dalia Avatar

    Can you use Witch Hazel instead of alcohol? I have a baby in the home and don’t guess it’s okay for him to inhale alcohol.

      1. Dalia Avatar

        Thanks! I use Plant Therapy too, and love that they have a Kid Safe line! I’ll have to try some of these air fresheners for my bathroom.

  10. Renee Avatar

    Is there any way to make these without the vodka? Not something we choose to have in our home or even purchase.

    1. Katie - Wellness Mama Avatar

      Vodka works best which is why I use it in my recipes (and I’ve tried using multiple substances to test other options). It is possible to use rubbing alcohol but it is so potent that when you mix with the essential oils it can overpower the scent. Witch hazel is another option, but it doesn’t work as well as the vodka either.

      1. Kirstin Avatar

        Unfortunately, witch hazel doesn’t work well in a homemade reed diffuser, either.

  11. Jennifer Avatar

    Could you substitute rubbing alcohol or cooking sherry for the vodka? Are these safe to diffuse around cats?

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