Homemade Air-Freshener Gel Recipe tinted green and poured into a jar

Homemade Air Freshener Gel Recipe

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This homemade air freshener gel recipe is an easy, all-natural way to add your favorite fragrance to your home’s air.

I like to make these DIY air freshener jars every six weeks or so. They last about that long if you use a lid with small holes in it, and by the time they’re ready to replace I’m ready for a new fragrance.

The Problem with Most Air-Fresheners

Air freshener sprays and plug-ins other sources of volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) linked to cancer, including several banned under federal law. So, the real question is: why would anyone want to spray that stuff around their home?

With homemade air freshener gels, you can have a delicious smelling home while knowing the exact ingredients you’re using, and you can enjoy those things for just pennies!

Homemade Air Freshener Gel Recipe


  • 20 drops of your favorite essential oil(s)
  • 2 tbsp. sea salt (table salt will make them cloudy)
  • Liquid food coloring (optional)
  • Four packets of plain, unflavored gelatin
  • 2 cups water
  • Four clean 8-oz. size glass food jars with screw-on lids


1. In a measuring cup, sprinkle the gelatin over 1/4 cup cold water. Let it soften 5 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, bring 3/4 cup water to boil in a small saucepan over high heat.

3. Immediately remove the pan from heat and gently stir in essential oils, and salt. (The salt helps prevent mold growth.) If you are using liquid food coloring, stir it in now.

3. Pour the softened gelatin into the hot water and stir until combined. Next, gently stir in 1 cup of cold water. Do not stir vigorously or it will foam up and create a cloudy gel!

4. Place the jars on a towel-covered countertop or cutting board and carefully pour one-fourth of the gelatin mixture into each container. Let the contents set-up overnight then put the lids on.

5. Store unopened jars in a dark, cool place and use within three months.

Fragrance combinations

Coming up with a signature scent for your home is part of the fun of making this homemade air freshener gel recipe. Here are a few ideas to help you get started.

Citrusy – Orange, lemon, grapefruit, and spearmint.

Fresh and clean – Lavender and lemon.

Autumn spice – Bergamot, sweet orange, frankincense, and cinnamon.

Winter woodsy – Balsam fir, cedarwood, cypress, and lemon.

Romantic floral – Rose, geranium, and neroli.


• Decide how many air fresheners you plan to use right away. Poke five to six holes in those lids using a hammer and nail. Leave the remaining covers without holes to keep their fragrance intact during storage.

• If you want to make the cap attractive, prime and spray paint it before hammering in the holes. Or cover it with a beautiful scrap of thin fabric hot-glued around the rim. Just be careful not to clog the holes with hot-glue!

• One 8-oz container of air freshener gel will scent an average-sized room. For larger rooms, use more than one jar.

• Keep the homemade air freshener gel away from direct sunlight. Don’t place the jars directly beneath ceiling fans or in front of air vents, or their fragrance will evaporate quickly.

• If you use a lid with holes, the homemade air freshener gel in each jar will last approximately one month. If you don’t use caps, you’ll need to replace them more often.

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  1. Will this work the same way as the gel fresheners that you hang in your air vent?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      These add fragrance to your air as they evaporate, so you don’t need to hang them in front of an air vent or fan.

  2. Adeyemi jumoke says:

    I try making ng the gel air freshener yesterday i find out the smells is no longer coming out, pls can u help me with the fregnance u have used that still scent for a month

    1. Katie Berry says:

      You could try adding more essential oil. I haven’t had a problem with the fragrance lasting except when we leave windows open all day. Air freshener isn’t intended to add fragrance under those conditions, though, so I’ve never worried about it.

  3. I was curious if we could add glitter and slime charms in these for decoration ? Has anyone tried to add one or the other ? I’m wondering if it would affect the smell ?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I haven’t tried it but it sounds cute.

  4. I had a huge issue with mold in these. How can I prevent this?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I’m sorry you had a mold problem. Using freshly cleaned jars, making sure the water completely boils and using the correct amount of salt can all help prevent mold growth.

  5. Hi, would Aloe Vera work instead of gelatin?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      No, although aloe is gelatinous it won’t firm up like gelatin.

  6. Heather David-Damm says:

    Would Coarse Kosher Salt work in place of the Sea Salt?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      As long as it’s not iodized, it will be fine. Even table salt would work but the iodine would make the gel cloudy.

  7. Denise D Turner says:

    Could you use glass mason jars with plastic lids as well as metal lids?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Absolutely, but you might want to use cheesecloth and a rubber band as a lid once you open them.

  8. How does this hold up in extreme hot/cold places? Was wanting to put one in my car.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Hi Mrs. C,
      I wouldn’t recommend that. The gelatin base isn’t heat-proof, so it would be like leaving a bowl of Jello in your car. I mean, it might smell nice but I think you’d find it causes a mess.

  9. Can you make these using fresh garden mint?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Hi Polly,
      I think the mint would cause mold problems as it decayed. But you could try steeping the mint in the water to extract the scent, then straining it before you continue with the recipe. You’d probably still want essential oils, too, for a longer-lasting fragrance. Let me know how it turns out!

  10. Would you try these in a gel fragrance warmer? Thanks!

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Hi Ashley,
      I haven’t tried them in a warmer, so I don’t know if they’d work in one or not. If you try that method, let me m ow how it goes!

  11. Will try this recipe. But I would love to add fragrance to it. At what stage will the fragrance be added?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      That’s in step 3, Tessie.

  12. Jennie Evans says:

    I made one but was not told to put salt in them to keep it from molding. I have one that has a few mold spots now. Can I do anything about the mold or should I just throw it away and start again? I’m new to making these?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Hi Jennie,
      I hope you already saw my reply to your email, but want to answer here for anyone else who might encounter this problem. The salt is in the recipe specifically to inhibit mold growth, so it shouldn’t be skipped. Since you’ve seen mold in your salt-free version, toss it out because the mold spores will have worked throughout the gel, even if you can’t see it.

  13. Hi! Would like to ask if you have tried to make a solid air freshener instead of gel???

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I haven’t tried it yet!

  14. Hi Katie
    I’m excited to try your air freshener using Gelatin nut could you please tell me what weight you are referring to when you say 4 bags of Gelatin
    Very new to this DIY sorry
    Thanks in advance

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Clear gelatin comes in packets. Knox is one brand.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      You’re welcome!

  15. How long once you have poked holes in the lid does it last? Very interested in giving this a go!

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Once you’ve poked holes in the lid they last around a month if you’re careful to keep them away from sunlight.

    2. Can something like agar agar be used as a vegan “gelatine” in your gel freshener please? Thank you.

    3. Katie Berry says:

      I have not tried agar agar in this recipe, but I believe it could work. If you try it, please let me know how it turns out.

  16. Is there a way to make it set faster? My son is doing this for a project at school that is due tomorrow and of course he waited until the last min

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Sorry I didn’t see this in time to answer. I hope it all turned out well!

  17. I would love to do this, but does it have to be essential oils? I LOVE coconut smell so I was thinking of using coconut oil, because there’s no such thing as coconut essential oil, but would the smell still last?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I have no idea if coconut oil would work but I suspect the gel wouldn’t set up properly since coconut oil has a different viscosity than essential oils. If you’re bent on coconut, perhaps try coconut fragrance oil in place of the essential oils. It’s similar in viscosity to essential oil but would still have the scent you enjoy.

  18. Thanks, now I have a perfect birthday gift for my mother. much

    1. The smell of clove oil reminds me of the old red cross first aid tooth ache first aid kits, and going to the dentist,it also reminds me of the old fashioned clove candy sticks

  19. Margi Lowry says:

    This.  Is.  Brilliant!!  I love clove oil and the air freshening ability of it but was getting tired of putting drops of it on my light bulbs.  I’m so going to try this.  Thanks, Katie!

    1. Katie Berry says:

      You’re welcome, Margi! And, hey, is it just me or does the smell of clove oil take you back to our heyday in the 80s?

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