Who doesn't love to walk into a home and immediately be welcomed by a wonderfully fragrant scent in the air? Air fresheners are big business, and it's not hard to see why, but making them at home is much cheaper, and way healthier for you.

I love making my own natural scented wax melts, and they're quite easy to do, but if you don't have a wax warmer already, there are some alternatives you can make right at home.

The Dangers Of Conventional Air Fresheners

Back in the day, air fresheners were never on my "toxic list" of things I should worry about, because I honestly never considered that they may be really bad for my health.

Unfortunately air fresheners, especially the aerosol kind, are loaded with chemicals and man-made fragrances that can cause all sorts of health issues, and even lead to cancer.

Studies done by the Natural Resources Defense Council shockingly found that air fresheners do not undergo any actual tests for safety, which means they can be put on the shelves and sold without knowing how they may affect our health.


It was found that the majority of the conventional air fresheners on the market, even the ones that claimed to be "all-natural or unscented", contained high levels of phthalates, which are known to be especially harmful to children. But even more disturbing was that this dangerous chemical wasn't even listed in the ingredients of the air freshener.

The NRDC goes on to explain:

Phthalates are hormone-disrupting chemicals that can be particularly dangerous for young children and unborn babies. Exposure to phthalates can affect testosterone levels and lead to reproductive abnormalities, including abnormal genitalia and reduced sperm production. The State of California notes that five types of phthalates -- including one that we found in air freshener products -- are 'known to cause birth defects or reproductive harm.


Another common chemical in most air fresheners, toilet bowl cleaners, and moth balls is 1,4-Dichlorobenzene, which is found in the blood of 96% of Americans. Yikes! This toxic chemical is an EPA registered pesticide known to cause lung damage, asthma, and even cancer.

This chemical literally works by attacking the scent receptors in your nose and deadening your sense of smell, so you can't smell any foul odors anymore. These modern day air fresheners don't work by adding fragrance into the air, but by committing acts of chemical warfare on your sense of smell!

Febreze was one of the first "fresheners" to utilize this chemical in their products, and because of their success, many brands soon followed suit. This is why when you use an air freshener you can only smell the scent for a few minutes, then it disappears...but this isn't because you just got used to the smell, it's because your sense of smell was deadened by the chemical cocktail of the product.

I ditched my Febreze and started making my own natural fabric refresher spray at home, and my nose thanks me.

Natural Air Freshener Alternatives

With all those scary dangerous chemicals in conventional air fresheners, I knew I needed to find a more natural alternative to freshen my home. Homemade scented wax melts are a start, but there are other really great ways to add wonderful fragrance to your home.

Here are some of my favorite natural air fresheners, and bonus scent combination recipes at the bottom!

1. Oil Scented Wood Blocks

Scented wood blocks are really simple to make, and you can put them anywhere in the home where you want to freshen the air.

What You'll Need

What To Do

  1. Add your chosen combination of essential oils in a small bowl.
  2. Put a handful of wood blocks into a plastic bag and drizzle the essential oils onto the blocks. Shake the bag well to evenly distribute the oils onto the blocks. Letting them sit overnight in the oil will allow them to really soak up the mixture.
  3. Place a handful of wood blocks into a small tin, glass jar, or any other container of your choice.
  4. Enjoy your air freshener! You can refresh the smell by repeating the above steps.

2. Natural Gel Air Fresheners

Natural Gel Air Freshener

Gel air fresheners started with those inexpensive cone shaped containers you would put in your bathroom, then took off once big brands started making them for the home. Unfortunately, those commercial gel fresheners use a lot of chemicals to make them work, but we can easily make our own at home!

What You'll Need

What To Do

  1. Follow the instructions to make your gelatin according to how many jars you will be using.
  2. While your gelatin is cooking, clean your jars and add 30-40 drops of essential oils, and food coloring to the jars to get your desired shade. Note: Normally food coloring is not something I would recommend using because of the health implications from the dyes, but since we are not eating or applying this to our body, food coloring is completely harmless in this application. You can still omit it if you would prefer.
  3. Once your gelatin is ready, slowly pour it into your jars and mix together well with the essential oils and food coloring.
  4. Place your special flower lid on the jar, or replace the flat metal lid with a round piece of construction paper with holes cut into it, then secure it with the outer metal ring.
  5. Enjoy!

3. Rattan Reed Diffusers

homemade reed diffusers

Reed diffusers are popular because of their eclectic style, and no-mess design...unless you knock it over (don't ask me how I know that). Luckily they are a breeze to make at home, and you can customize the smell to whatever you would like.

What You'll Need

What To Do

  1. Add your essential oils, about 30-40 drops, to your small vase or glass diffuser bottle. You can also use dried herbs and flowers, but it won't be as potent. A combination of dried flowers and essential oils makes for a really decorative look.
  2. Fill the rest of the bottle or vase with fractionated coconut oil. Regular coconut oil will not work because it will solidify at room temperature.
  3. Mix everything together well, then place 5-6 rattan reeds into the bottle or vase. The reeds will slowly draw up the oil and fragrance, and diffuse it into the air.
  4. Refresh your diffuser after several weeks by pulling out the rattan reeds and flipping them over.
  5. Enjoy!

4. Baking Soda Air Freshener

Baking Soda Air Freshener

Baking soda has been used as a natural deodorizer for years, usually in your fridge to deodorize smells, so it's no surprise that we can use baking soda around the house as an air freshener!

What You'll Need

  • Baking Soda
  • Essential Oils or Dried Herbs/Flowers
  • Small glass jar with vented lid - (I use these 1/2 pint mason jars with a piece of construction paper with holes in place of the lid)

What To Do

  1. Fill your jar with baking soda and add your essential oils, or dried herbs and flowers if desired.
  2. Make several jars and place around the home to naturally freshen and deodorize the air.
  3. Replace the baking soda once it starts to harden or get clumpy. This usually means it has absorbed moisture and won't be as effective in neutralizing odors.

5. Homemade Potpourri

Homemade Potpourri

If you thought potpourri was a thing of the past, think again! Homemade potpourri is really easy to make, and because it's incredibly customizable, you can change it up for whatever suits your mood, or make special seasonal and holiday ones.

What You'll Need

  • Different dried ingredients like:
    • Dried flowers/herbs
    • Pine cones
    • Dried fruit slices
    • Cedar wood shavings
    • Cinnamon sticks
    • Small pebbles or stones for decoration
  • Essential Oils
  • Small dish, bowl, fabric pouch, or glass jar

What To Do

  1. Place your chosen ingredients into a container and add your essential oils, then close the container to let the oils soak in overnight.
  2. Arrange your ingredients in a bowl, dish, fabric pouch, or jar and add any additional essential oils if desired.
  3. The potpourri should last for several weeks until it needs refreshing. To refresh, simply add more essential oils, or dried herbs, and mix well.

6. Fragrant Simmer Pot

Fragrant Simmer Pot

Fragrant simmer pots have been used for centuries to bring wonderful natural aromas into a home just by simmering select ingredients. This is so simple to do, and it will keep your home smelling amazing all day long.

What You'll Need

  • Large cooking pot
  • Different food ingredients like:
    • Lemon, Rosemary, and Vanilla
    • Orange, Cranberries, and Cinnamon sticks
    • Apples, Cinnamon, and Cardamom
    • Lemon, Basil, and Mint

What To Do

  1. Fill a large cooking pot with water and set on the stove to simmer.
  2. Cut your desired fruit into medium thick slices, about 1/4" thick, and add to your pot.
  3. Add additional herbs and spices to your desired aroma.
  4. Let your pot simmer low and slow all day long to fill your home with a wonderful fragrant aroma. You can use the same pot for several days, but you'll want to change it out after 3 days to keep it from smelling "off".

Bonus: Essential Oil Scent Combinations

With so many essential oils out there, it can be overwhelming to choose the right scent combinations for your desired aroma, so I put together some of my favorite scent combinations for inspiration!

I buy all my essential oils from Majestic Pure on Amazon. They have one of the largest selections of high quality oils I have found, and their prices for the quality are substantially cheaper than many other brands.

Note: 1 part is how ever many drops you choose, so for example if 1 part = 1 drop, then 2 parts = 2 drops of oil. If 1 part = 4 drops, 2 parts = 8 drops, and so on. 

Citrus Explosion

  • 1 part Lemon Essential Oil
  • 2 parts Orange Essential Oil
  • 1 part Lime Essential Oil
  • 1 part Grapefruit Essential Oil

Fresh and Clean

  • 1 part Lavender Essential Oil
  • 1 part Lemon Essential Oil
  • 1 part Rosemary Essential Oil

Deep Earth

  • 1 part Bergamot Essential Oil
  • 1 part Ylang Ylang Essential Oil
  • 1 part Patchouli Essential Oil

Spiced Chai Tea

  • 3 parts Cardamom Essential Oil
  • 2 parts Clove Essential Oil
  • 2 parts Cinnamon Essential Oil
  • 1 part Ginger Essential Oil

Warm Pumpkin Pie

  • 3 parts Cinnamon Essential Oil
  • 2 parts Clove Essential Oil
  • 2 parts Nutmeg Essential Oil
  • 1 part Ginger Essential Oil
  • 1 part Vanilla Essential Oil

Immune Booster

  • 1 part Lavender Essential Oil
  • 1 part Lemon Essential Oil
  • 1 part Peppermint Essential Oil
  • 1 part Eucalyptus Essential Oil

Awake and Focused

  • 1 part Orange Essential Oil
  • 1 part Lemon Essential Oil
  • 1 Part Peppermint Essential Oil

Autumn Woods

  • 3 parts Frankincense Essential Oil
  • 2 drops Fir Needle Essential Oil
  • 1 part Cedarwood Essential Oil

Flower Garden

  • 2 parts Jasmine Essential Oil
  • 1 part Lavender Essential Oil
  • 1 part Geranium Essential Oil
  • 1 part Rose Essential Oil

Christmas Morning

  • 2 parts Douglas Fir Essential Oil
  • 2 parts Fir Needle Essential Oil
  • 1 part Juniper Berry Essential Oil
  • 1 part Cedarwood Essential Oil
  • 1 part Cinnamon Essential Oil

Have you made your own natural air fresheners for your home? What are your favorite recipes?


    • Hi Scot!

      No, it shouldn’t smell messy with different fruits in there as long as you don’t over do it. It’s kind of like potpourri where you have different aromas that compliment each other. I would just start with a few different ingredients and experiment by adding more in at a time.

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