How to make an essential oil diffuser, plus other DIY natural air freshners

How nice is it to walk through the door and notice that your home smells amazing—as opposed to the lingering odor of last night’s dinner? (Eww.) And while it sometimes feels like the wellness world can be divided evenly into team palo santo or team sage these days, raise your hand if you still create your sanctuary’s signature scent using store-bought air fresheners or lighting a candle.

You’re definitely not alone, but there’s something you need to know: While neither is dangerous in small doses, according to the National Capital Poison Center, they both have strong, toxic chemicals that can aggravate allergies, cause skin problems, and may have other harmful effects on your health and the environment. So, if you’re regularly using fresheners to clear the air in your home, it’s worth investing in natural, non-toxic alternatives. Better still, you can create your own.

It’s a simple, cost-effective way to keep your home smelling fresh. And it’s not as hard as you might think. All you’ll need are a few household ingredients like odor-absorbing baking soda, essential oils that’ll make your air fresheners double as health-boosting aromatherapy, energizing, naturally fragrant fruits such as lemons, and some easy-to-follow directions. Ready to get started?

A Simmering pot

Here’s an easy way to make your whole house smell amazing: Fill a small pot with water, add a few ingredients (see below for ideas). Then, let the mix simmer on the stovetop for a few hours and add that amazing fragrance to your entire home. Just be sure to keep the pot filled with water.

You can actually customize the scent to match your personality but a few options include:

Citrus blend with 2 cups of water, 1 sliced apple, 1 sliced orange, 1 sliced lemon, 2 tablespoons cloves, and 4 cinnamon sticks.

Spice blend with an orange rind, 1 sliced apple, 2 cinnamon sticks, 1 tablespoon cloves, 1 tablespoon vanilla extract, and 2 cups of water.

Clean blend with a spring of rosemary, a tablespoon vanilla extract, and a couple of slices of lemon.

Cloth pouch air freshener

Sachets are a perfect, portable air freshener you can take to your car or a closet to keep it from becoming musty. Use lightweight cloth pouches with a pull string at the top. Fill each with spices, or cotton balls with a few drops of essential oil. A leggings drawer that smells like a lavender field in Provence? Yes, please!

Baking soda air freshener

Another easy way to make an easy air freshener is to use a small jar, 1/2 cup of baking soda, and an essential oil of your choice. Put the baking soda in the jar and add 15–25 drops of your favorite scent. Put the top back on and shake the jar a few times to mix it in. You can either leave the jar open or replace the inner top with paper punched through a few times to let the air flow.

Homemade essential oil reed diffuser

To make a homemade oil diffuser, pick a favorite decorative glass jar and add 1/4 cup of hot tap water and 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol. Next add 20–25 drops of essential oil and mix the liquids together.

Cut off the tips of some bamboo skewers or use diffuser reeds and soak them for several hours. Then switch them around and soak the other end. The evaporating alcohol will draw the scent up the bamboo sticks or reeds. You can add more oil and water every few days to keep it fresh.

I love to put lavender, lemon and peppermint in my reed diffuser.

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