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.

Homemade Air Freshener Gel

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

The Problem with Most Air-Fresheners

As we become increasingly aware of indoor air pollution dangers, many are choosing to replace commercial cleaning products with all-natural homemade cleaners. We shouldn’t stop there, however. Air freshener sprays and plug-ins other sources of volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) linked to cancer, including several banned under federal law.

Labeling laws don’t require manufacturers to disclose the specific ingredients in their air fresheners or cleaning products. If you or someone in your family have allergies, that lack of transparency can lead to a lot of unnecessary discomforts.

So, the real question is: why would anyone want to spray that stuff around their home? With homemade air freshener gels, you can have beautifully-scented air while knowing the exact ingredients you’re using, and you can enjoy those things for just pennies! (Related: How to Make Homemade Cleaners.)

Homemade Air Freshener Gel Recipe

Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

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.

Tips

• 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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40 Comments

  1. 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?

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

  3. Hi there! Tried your air freshener spray with cloves and vanilla extract and loved it. Going to try your gel today. Wondering how long will the gels stored for? How long will the gels last typically once you have them in use? Thanks in advance.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      If I make and store them without poking holes in the lid, they’ve lasted for months. That’s good, because I tend to make a huge batch and store them in my closet for future use. Once you’ve punched holes in the lid they last around a month.

  4. Asim Aquil says:

    just a clarification: we have to leave them to set with the lids on right? Also I’m wondering, just to save on all those lids, one can buy a few extra containers (or spar elides if possible) and make a hole in this elides and then when you want to use the gel jar, just replace the lid. Or just remove the lid and cover with a few layers of cling film with holes in it, and then cover with a nice cloth tied with a ribbon?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      You can absolutely use one set of punctured lids and swap them out. That’s what I do. I imagine the cling film would work, too. Let me know if you try it!

  5. 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.

  6. Could you use Gain fireworks instead of essential oils?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I really have no idea. The idea behind making homemade air freshener gel is to do away with using commercial products since we have no idea what’s in them and they aggravate many peoples’ allergies. If you give it a try, let me know how it turns out!

  7. 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!

  8. 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.

  9. Does the gel evaporate? Or can you re-use with new scent? Curious before I make them. Thank you!

  10. Hi,thanks for the tips on air freshener. But please can the glass jar be substituted with a plastic container with a lid? Humble regards.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      The only problem you might face with a plastic container is that it could melt when you pour the hot mixture in, but if you use a thick enough container that might not happen.

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

    3. Katie Berry says:

      That’s in step 3, Tessie.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      You’re welcome!

  11. 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.

  12. 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!

  13. V Ganesan says:

    Hi..
    I tried out…formation of gel takes long time… its 4 days…still its not hard enough…any suggestion
    I had used 20g of gelatin total water used is 250 + 250 ml..all procedure followed as directed…

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Hi V,
      I’m sorry if the instructions weren’t clear. Four packets of gelatin is 28g, not 20g — each packet contains 7g — so that may be the problem.

  14. 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.

  15. 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!
      Katie

  16. 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!

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

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