Homemade Air Freshener for Diffusers or Sprays

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Giving your home a signature scent is easy when you make homemade air freshener.

Two pump spray bottles containing homemade air freshener spray sitting on top of fresh herbs

You only need a few ingredients to make a homemade air freshener, and that’s the great thing about it. As health studies show, using commercial cleaning products and air fresheners leads to indoor air pollution that causes health problems. But when you make your own, you know what you’re using and can keep it simple.

Using Homemade Air Freshener

Here are three homemade air fresheners to mix and match around your home. Use them as room sprays or add fragrance to your home with a cool-mist or reed diffuser.

As a room spray: To use any of these as a homemade air freshener spray, shake the ingredients together in a spray bottle and mist the air. Do not spray delicate fabrics like silk or leather since the essential oils may leave spots. Store unused spray in a cool, dry spot and shake well before each use.

In a cool-mist diffuser: Fill the diffuser with 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the homemade air freshener liquid and allow the diffuser to spread the scent throughout your home. Refill as needed. (Do not use the essential oil air freshener recipe in a heated diffuser.)

In a reed diffuser: Fill a bottle or jar 3/4 of the way with your preferred homemade air freshener. Add rattan reeds and wait 2 hours. Turn the reeds over and insert the dry end into the container. Rotate the reeds daily and refill as needed.

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Homemade Air Freshener Using Essential Oils

Vary the scent based on the season if you like. In the winter, try warm and delicious scents like cinnamon, clove, ginger, and orange oils. In the spring, lift your spirits with a homemade air freshener featuring lighter scents like lavender with lemon or grapefruit and rose. Experiment with fragrances and discover what fragrances suit you. That’s half the fun!

1.5 ounces of distilled water
1.5 ounces of cheap vodka or 70% rubbing alcohol
20-30 drops of your favorite essential oils (pet owners, see note below)


1. Combine and use as a spray, or in reed or cool mist diffusers. (Do not use this recipe in a heated diffuser.)

2. Store the unused spray away from heat, flame, pets, and kids.

Essential Oils and Pets

If you have pets in your home, be careful about which essential oils you use. Many essential oils are toxic for pets. It doesn’t matter that you aren’t applying the oil directly to your pet’s fur — if you spray, diffuse it in a mister, or apply it to any surface your pet walks or lies on, it’ll get into their bloodstream.

To keep your pets safe, avoid using eucalyptus oil, tea tree oil, cinnamon, citrus oils, pennyroyal, peppermint, pine, sweet birch, wintergreen, and ylang-ylang. Consult your veterinarian about these and other essential oils you plan to use.

Deodorizing Homemade Air Freshener

The use of vinegar in this homemade air freshener recipe eliminates odors while adding fragrance, too. It does a brilliant job of deodorizing garbage cans and diaper pails.

1 cup water
1 cup white vinegar
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
4 whole cloves or 1 stick cinnamon


1. Combine all ingredients in a small pan on the stove.
2. Bring to a boil, then turn off the heat and allow it to reach room temperature.
3. Strain and store the unused portion in a cool, dark place.

Lemony Fresh Homemade Air Freshener

While lemon juice does neutralize baking soda, that’s only relevant when trying to use the baking soda for cleaning. Here, the reaction doesn’t destroy baking soda’s odor-killing power. The combination leaves a nice, clean fragrance.


2 cups hot water
1/8 cup baking soda
1/2 cup lemon juice (doesn’t have to be fresh)

1. Combine the water and baking soda in a deep bowl. Stir until the baking soda fully dissolves.
2. Slowly add the lemon juice — it will fizz, but that’s why you’re using a deep bowl.
3. Once fizzing stops, transfer the mixture to a bottle for use.
4. Store unused portion in a cool, dark place.

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  1. Melissa-TheHappierHomemaker says:

    Very cool! I can’t wait to try these! I’m a new subscriber!

    1. Katie Berry says:

      YAY! I like #2 in the fall and winter; the cloves and vanilla give the house such a warm, spicy smell. 

    2. Melissa@TheHappierHomemaker says:

      I bought my spray bottle today, off to make #2 –only because I have no vodka on hand…I figured red wine wouldn’t have the same effect 😉

    3. Katie Berry says:

      LOL! Red wine would definitely *not* have the effect you’re looking for. On the other hand, if you drink enough of it you won’t care what the house smells like.

  2. Liz Smits says:

    I decided to get serious about being a stay at home mom this year and found your site. I am 41 and have four children, three of which are still at home. I have always been a clean fanatic but I am learning so much from your site. It’s amazing how many places you forget to clean. Thank you so much for taking the time to put your to do list up for me to share. It is like you are doing half my work for me.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Thank you for the kind words, Liz! Being a full-time SAHM is tough work, and it’s so difficult to keep track of all the little things we’re expected to do on top of the obvious care-taking, cooking and cleaning. Kudos to you for the time and effort you’re putting into it!

  3. Hey Katie! I love your blog!! I follow so much of your advice! My question is, when I make your homemade air freshener #3 it has no smell! Am I doing something wrong?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      You aren’t smelling the lemon in the Lemony Fresh Air Freshener recipe? Oh no! You’re welcome to add essential oils to it if you’d like additional fragrance.