Easy Gift Idea: Homemade Air Freshener (and the dangers of regular air fresheners)

Easy Gift Idea Homemade Air Freshener

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I live in a house with three boys and a dog.  Let’s just say there are times when I could use some air freshener.

A few things to consider before we don our Martha Stewart hats….

1.  Regular air fresheners are bad for your health

“Air fresheners” include sprays, plug-ins, gels, candles, etc.

  • Various harmful substances in air fresheners include allergens, potential carcinogens such as acetaldehyde or styrene, dangerous substances such as toluene and chlorbenzene, glycol ethers, phthalates and artificial musk.
  • Paradichchlorobenzene (a white, solid crystal) has been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals, and phenol (carbolic acid) is flammable, corrosive and very toxic.
  • Air fresheners do not “purify” the surrounding air, nor do they add natural fragrances. In fact, they coat the nasal passages with an oil film (such as methoxychlor – a pesticide that accumulates in fat cells) or by releasing a nerve deadening agent, to drown out whatever smells may be deemed offensive.
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  • High exposures to certain kinds of phthalates can cause cancer, developmental and sex-hormone abnormalities (including decreased testosterone and sperm levels and malformed sex organs) in infants, and can affect fertility.
  • Despite the [Air Freshener] industry’s size, it is minimally regulated, not having to meet any standards specific to their products. Air fresheners are not tested for a variety of chemicals, including phthalates, because the government does not require it.
  •  These poisons can accumulate over a period of years, so the true causes, and the true health effects are rarely discovered.  The victims might suffer from a strange form of cancer, or they might have some new-age “disease” like “Chronic Fatigue Syndrome”, and of course, there is the ever-more-popular “genetic disorders”…

I could go on and on, but you get the idea.

2.  Essential oils are good for your health

[E]ssential oils make much more sense as air fresheners than commercial products, as they cleanse the air by altering the structure of the molecules creating smells, rather than masking the unwanted smells.  When we are looking for alternatives to toxic products in our homes and in our lives, essential oils are a convenient, practical and pleasant solution.   [Worwood]         

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Homemade Air Freshener Recipe

(Are you ready for this?)

Ingredients & Supplies

  • Essential Oils: Lavender, Peppermint, Eucalyptus (See below for additional suggestions)
  • Water
  • Dark glass spray bottle (2 oz)
  • Cute labels (optional)


  • Add 2-3 drops of each oil to clean bottles.
  • Fill bottles with water.
  • Insert spray tops.
  • Affix labels.

Planning to use this in the bathroom?

Did you know that spraying this delightful scent directly into the toilet bowl–before adding anything stinky to said bowl–is a powerful way to combat unpleasant aromas?  The oils camp out on the surface of the water, acting as an “odor barrier.”

Try it and see smell the difference!   🙂

Cost Analysis

Total cost, per bottle: about $1.30 OR $1.65
(And if you use recycled bottles, the cost is only $.30 per bottle)!!

Additional Scent Ideas

You really can’t go wrong here.  Use whatever you like!  These are a few of my favorite ideas…

  • Citrus blend: wild orange, lemon, lime & grapefruit
  • Calming blend: lavender, chamomile & ylang ylang
  • Refreshing blend: wild orange & peppermint

 What’s your favorite Room Spray scent?

Do you love essential oils?  Follow my Pinterest board All Things Essential!


  • Air Fresheners Create Toxic Chemical Soup  (Health In Motion)
  • How “Fresh” is Air Freshener?  (TIME)
  • How Air Fresheners Are Killing You (Healthwyze)
  • The Complete Book of Essential Oils & Aromatherapy (Valerie Ann Worwood)

photo credit

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Kathleen | Roots & Boots

Let's get real! I’m Kathleen Henderson, your Natural Living Mentor. I’m on a mission to help families see the joy in real food, while finding natural remedies and creating a nontoxic home. Learn more about my story >>


  1. Deirdre on 12/18/2012 at 11:56 pm

    Great idea and instructions on ‘how to’ for the poo pourri. I will be trying this!
    Grateful, DD

    P.S. Have you tried Cinnamon Oil for cooking and baking for the health benefits and if so, can you suggest where I can find a good quality oil? Thanxxxx.

  2. Deirdre on 12/23/2012 at 9:22 pm

    An unexpected and Delightful Gift Box arrived today! To our amazement a Wonderful Collection of ‘Natural Homemade’ gifts was found including an original work of art by “Malachi Matisse”. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE IT!! Already used the Herbamare…Yummy…resutling in using the PooPourri…grateful for fresh and clean air…tonight bathing in Epsom Salts with doTERRA Lavender Oil. Nick wants to try the brown sugar vanilla scrub. :)Thank you for the specialty made items…We are enjoying immensely!XOXO Happy Holidays to ALL with Love. The Paskys~

    • Yankee Homestead on 12/25/2012 at 4:00 pm

      Enjoy! 🙂

  3. Brittany S. on 09/20/2013 at 7:28 pm

    What company do you buy your essential oils from? I’m interested in getting a little “starter” kit with a variety of oils. When I’ve looked online, they seem to be a little pricey which is okay if the product is good…I just don’t know which product is good! Since it’s so easy to make fake versions of these scents, I’m just concerned I’ll get suckered.

  4. […] DIY Air Freshener– Stop me before I get too excited about this one. It was SO easy, and SO effective. I just added […]

  5. […] Air Freshener: Courtesy of Yankee Homestead […]

  6. kary almengor on 07/20/2017 at 12:14 pm

    Is it normal that these sprays’ smell doesn’t last for long? Or maybe I am using a shitty essential oil brand?
    I like to make them with one oil, meaning: I have one Lavender spray, one eucalyptus, and I use them for different purposes or house areas.
    Thanks in advance!

    • Brittany Schroeder on 11/25/2018 at 6:17 pm

      Essential oils are powerful! The scent should last a long time.

  7. […] only is this air freshener effective, you can make it with the ingredients left over from your toilet […]

  8. Stacy on 01/22/2018 at 3:02 am

    Do you use regular tap water for this recipe of distilled water?

    • Kathleen on 01/22/2018 at 12:51 pm

      Yep, I use regular tap water.

  9. […] For those…ahem, awkward bathroom moments create this crazy easy DIY room spray with witch hazel and a few drops of lavender essential oil. For detailed instructions and a more advanced recipe check out the Yankee Homestead post. […]

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