4 Homemade Febreeze Recipes

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Basically the ingredients to make homemade Febreeze are a mix of water and fabric softener.

Directions:

  • Unless otherwise noted, place ingredients in a spray bottle and shake well to mix. Test a small unnoticeable area first before using to make sure no discoloration or damage occurs. Use as needed, shaking well each time before use.

#1

Bottle1 cup fabric softener
1 cup white vinegar
2 cups water

#2

2 cups water
1 cup fabric softener

#3

3 cups water
3 TBS fabric softener
3 TBS rubbing alcohol

#4

2 cups water (warm)
1/4 cup fabric softener
1 TBS baking soda

ETA: Review the comment section below for discussion about flammability concerns and adding chemicals to the air we breathe. Interesting!

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Published: February 2, 2007
Updated: June 4, 2012

What Readers Are Saying:
145 Comments to “4 Homemade Febreeze Recipes”
  1. skato says:

    I’m curious as to how these tips compare to Febreeze. The active ingredient in Febreeze is one of the Cyclodextrins–I don’t know if fabric softeners have this same chemical in them that Febreeze does. Either way, I’d be curious to hear people’s experience with the faux Febreeze.

    More details on Cyclodextrins from P&G:
    scienceinthebox.com

    Admin Edit: Skato I just fixed the link so that it wouldn’t break the template, everything else is as you wrote it

    • greenfan says:

      The air freshners that are using organic materials such as herbal extracts and water or innocuous materials that we ingest with every cookie like baking soda are not going to be worthy of concern about their chemical composition. Fabric softeners may not be your favorite solution, if you are sensitive to the chemical compounds in softeners or if you simply don’t want more chemicals floating about your house. I do, however, find that baking soda, herbal extracts and oils and other organic/innocuous materials work as well as any Glade or Renuzit product. I also find that it is nearly impossible if not totally impossible to prevent exposure to these chemicals, and clothing is flammable anyhow. Don’t test that statement, please! :) I do understand, however, minimizing exposure, and I totally second saving money on little frou frou things like air freshners, which I enjoy, personally, but hate to waste 4 or more dollars buying.

    • A stairs says:

      Recipe #2 is exactly like the real fabreeze. Whenever I pick up a used vehicle, I mix up a batch of this stuff and spray down all the cloth areas (including the floor) and the vehicle smells new and fresh again.
      Last month I bought a real bottle of fabreeze for a car I bought and it wasn’t even one bit better than Recipe #2 is, and it cost $5.00 . Recipe #2 costs mere pennys. Guess I’ll stick to making my own.

    • Jeannette says:

      I am curious about one thing. I just made my first batch of detergent and I am about to try the fabric softener recipe. Will this work as well in place of the store bought softener in this idea for Febreeze? Should have less bad stuff I would think. ?????

      • Cherie says:

        I make the laundry detergent, the fabric softener and I use the fabric softener I make in my febreeze. Which actually turns out to be recipe 1 as I use vinegar in my fabric softener. In short, after You make Your fabric softener, add 2 cups water to 1 cup of your homemade softener. If you like, throw in a pinch of baking soda.

        • Suzie's Corner says:

          Cherie, Could you explain exactly how you make your detergent and fabric softener? Thanks for your comments. They are helpful! :)

    • cjean says:

      I’m extremely allergic to fabric softener, I can’t use it. A better recipe is Borax, diluted with 3 cups of water, as a binding agent in place of the fabric softener 1TBS of glycerin. The Borax destroys the odors and doesn’t cover it up like the fabric softener will.

    • momma D says:

      I had tried the fourth recipe except I doubled the fabric softener and baking soda and used a spray bottle that holds about 24-32oz of water, using warm water. I don’t know the effects of the fabric softener, but it smells wonderful and we love it.
      I am planning on making my own laundry detergent next month…and see how that goes.

  2. Jay Gilmore says:

    This is not the most brilliant idea for health reasons since most major brands of fabric softener contain a bevy of toxic and central nervous system affecting chemicals. We are already subject to hundreds of chemicals each day. Why would you want to add to that.

    Fabric softener is also known to break down the flame retardants that are sprayed onto furniture and clothing and could increase the flammability of your furnishings.

    • Joseph says:

      actually from what I’ve seen our local dollar tree sells a brand of liquid fabric softener called “Cuddle Soft” in 24 oz. containers for only a buck and I saw on the label that it uses only biodegradable surfactants….and it’s made in the USA too….:-)

      so this sounds like a decent option as far as liquid fabric softener goes…….also in the first variation I think the idea is to let the vinegar to the suppressing of the odors….because unless I’m mistaken vinegar is supposed to be a good odor neutralizer…..as is baking soda….:-)

      • Joseph says:

        sorry….34 fl. oz…..not 24

      • Amanda says:

        Vinegar is an excellent deoderizer! I use it all the time on my carpets, upolstry, and the kids beds. Also mixed with lemon juice it makes a great cleaner fo you bathroom and kitchen instead of using bleach. The acid from the juice gets rid of the grime and the vinegar gets rid of the odor! So if you’re not comfortable using fabric sofener then just add some essential oil to some vinegar and you have an all natural febreeze for less! I give this website a big thumbs up!!! :)

        • Kmperk says:

          Just be careful if you have cats in your home. Febreze has been proven safe for cats and dogs, however essential oils are extremely dangerous for cats. Even inhaling essential oils can lead to liver failure in cats.

          • Emily says:

            I’m surprised after reading your comment that inhaling essential oils are extremely dangerous to cats. I used to raise purebred cats and continue to live with 7 adults. I’ve been using a dropper to squirt undiluted essential oils in my registers, on candles(I do not burn them) and on dried moss at the base of fake plants for years. I do this all over my house. I have not had a problem with my cats or kittens.

          • s80 says:

            Febreze claims it is safe on animals, but there are many reports contradicting this. My neighbor used it religiously on her dog bed and her poor little dog Oreo went blind. The vet said he has seen this happen a lot. The chemicals may be ok to use once in a while, but over time are very toxic to pets, and can do serious permanent damage. EO’s should be used under supervision of an aromatherapist, or at least do research before using on cats. Many are safe, but because of our pet’s heightened sense of smell can be repulsive.

          • Tanya says:

            I’m so glad that I read your comment about essential oils and cats. I always worry about my furry babies. I don’t use bleach or anything that is too strong or harmful to their noses. I try to make all my cleaning supplies so that it is more natural and harmless to people as well as furry babies. Thanks for your note.

            Tanya

          • Laurie says:

            Some essential oils (hereafter referred to as EO so I don’t have to keep typing that out!) are safer for cats than others. Try googling “essential oils safe for cats.” Check out the first 5 or 10 listings. Some people make the blanket statement that ALL EOs should be avoided around cats. Others say that some EOs are definite no-nos with cats, while other EOs are okay in moderation. I tend to agree with the latter.

            Cats cannot break down the components in EOs the way dogs, humans, horses, and other animals can, if they get it on their paws and lick them. These toxins can build up in their systems, resulting in liver failure and other problems.

            The key to using EOs around cats seems to come down to dilution, dilution, dilution. Add just a VERY few drops of EOs to a LOT of water. From my research, I am less clear of the effects of essential oils added to water which is then spritzed into the air, on furniture, etc. (I don’t spritz ANY oil-enhanced water ON my cats.)

            I have been battling fleas like crazy this year, and am tired of using Frontline, Advantage, etc. which a) are insecticides, b) you are supposed to wash off well if you get them on your OWN hands (!), and c) have just lost effectiveness. Why would I apply a dangerous insecticide to my beloved critters if it doesn’t even work?!? Soooo…. I have been using an EO-water mixture. I have only been spritzing it on surfaces that my cats don’t walk or lie on, like the SIDES of the furniture, the UNDERSIDES of the cat tree shelves, curtains, UNDER my pillow, and other places like that.

            Another option if you like the idea of using EOs, but are worried about cat safety, is to use hydrosols. Hydrosol is the infused water that results from the distillation process used to make EOs. It is far less concentrated than EO, but still has the therapeutic (and smelly!) properties of EO. Plus, the hydrosol itself can be FURTHER diluted with distilled water, etc.

            Wow, sorry this went on so long, but I hope I’ve helped someone out there!

          • Kat says:

            Laurie -

            where we live now we do not have flea problems (it gets too cold in the winter for them, i’m told) but we lived in So Cal near the beach for many years.

            The most wonderful flea killer we found was to mix baking soda with borax and sprinkle it on the carpet. I would let it sit for a bit, and then use a brush to work it into the fibers. Then, again let it sit for a while and vacuum the excess. It doesn’t work immediately, but what i’m told is that when the flea eggs hatch, they eat this compound and it desiccates them. It worked great, and we didn’t have any problems with it at all. Both substances are safe for humans and pets (tho you don’t want to breathe it too much). One application worked for 2-3 years before needing to be reapplied.

            These days i might add diatomaceous earth as well, since it does such a great job at cutting up the bodies of insects (we use it for ants and spiders). This is very safe for animals, although again, you don’t want to breathe in the dust.

            Good luck.

          • Dawn says:

            Actually if your buying pure essential oils such as doTERRA they are not toxic to cats and can be ingested by humans….

          • Brenda says:

            essential oils can and will also kill birds so if u have keets or parrots not good to use them~no vinegar their are 100′s of uses for vinegar including getting rid of fleas on your pets~

        • mary says:

          whats the recipe for your spray deoderizer?

          • Cathy says:

            With all the talk about cats & chemicals, it got me thinking… I sprinkle baking soda in the litter box when I remove anything from it. Could this be bad for the cat to inhale?
            THANKS! Thisstream is awesome – I’ve learned so much!!

        • Yvette says:

          I’m not a big fan of the smell of vinegar and have always had an extra sensitive, “highly developed” sense of smell – so “age” my vinegar for week prior to using in the recipes above. By aging, I get glass gallon jar and add slices of lemons (crapload: more, the merrier) that I’ve gently “squished”, prior to tossing in.

          After a week, I strain and use it for whatever I may need. :D

    • Izzie J says:

      I used to work for company in Bowling Green that made all kinds of traditional detergents (dish liquid, dishwasher liquid, laundry soap, washing powder and fabric softner) and I was amazed when i found out that fabric softner is made up of primarily liquefied CHICKEN FAT! The chemicals that go into it are neutralizing agents to keep the fat both soluble and fresh (fabric softner does go bad and man, it really reaks of rotten chicken) the rest is perfume. The post down below is accuarate in saying that fabric softner doesn’t actually soften clothing, it coats the fibers to make them lay down more smoothly. Please keep in mind the company I worked for made Cuddle Soft (I dont know what other brands use) and a few other generic brands that you most often find in discount stores. Do what you will with that information- I mean, at least the chicken’s fat is being used I guess and it isn’t completely comprised of checmical compounds. Now liquid dishwashing gel- I still have scars on by stomach from where it would spill on me…nasty nasty stuff.

      • leerena says:

        Geez oh pete! I am so glad that I read your post, I will def. be tossing this fabric softner that I have plus the dish washing detergent! Guess we see where the fat from the skinless chicken goes!

        • sharon says:

          I am glad I make my own febreeze & other things from tipnut It turns my stomach to think I used to use products with chicket fat around my home thanks for the info

    • terry says:

      The chemicals in fabric softeners are toxic when concentrated, even some that are biodegradeable, and anyone sensitive to them may want to stay clear of them in fresheners even though they wont be wearing them next to their skin. Pets who come in contact with upholstered fabric or carpet treated with them may also suffer even more severely, both skin ailments and serious overall health issues, due to inhaling and their ingesting (through licking for self-grooming) products which have adhered to their fur due to their frequent proximity to carpets and upholstery and effects may be more severe than those noticed by humans who do not spend their time close to the floor nor lick their skin.

  3. Ryan says:

    Just because it smells the same doesn’t mean it works the same…

  4. Jon Sage says:

    Cheap vodka – 1/2 and 1/2 with water. Leaves no real smell, works great on stuff like furniture and carpets. Car use might be a bad plan if you ever get pulled over, it does leave some smell if it’s in a closed area. Old tip really.

    • Mom1 says:

      Extremely flammable!

      • lalaith says:

        Vodka, or any other ethanol/alcohol/etc. are so flammable (in part) because they’re volatile, meaning they evaporate quickly. What that also means is that their flammability is temporary and once the liquid is evaporated off the furniture, it should be no more flammable than it was previously.

  5. mister jason says:

    All of your recipes would stop things from stinking, but in distinctly different ways.

    A little geeky info:
    Fabric softeners do their softening by coating fabrics with a thin chemical layer that, put simply, acts as a lubricant making the fibers feel smoother. They’re also electrically conductive to minimize static buildup.

    As Jay said above, Cyclodextrin is what makes the magic in Febreze. The molecular structure of cyclodextrins allow them to actually wrap around odor-causing hydrophobic compounds. (hydrophobic = repelled by water)

    I’ll also second what Ryan said about fabric softener increasing flammability.

    Simply put, the perfume in fabric softener will cover up odors with scent. The magical cyclodextrins actually wrap around the odors and suppress them.

    Whew.

    • Shore says:

      do you know how/where I can score some Cyclodextrins easily to add to my fabric softner, baking soda, vinegar mix?

      • Kathy Kellogg says:

        Why would you want to add a chemical to what you are making?? Citrus and also the herb Thyme work better and are completely safe for humans as well as pets.. We have been using chemical free natural products for a long time and haven’t had health issues or anything else. Definitely makes a difference in your home.

    • Jill says:

      Cyclodextrins are in some fabric softeners as well…so this faux febreze recipe really does cover all bases if you select the right fabric softener. Proctor and Gamble had the original patent on the liquid fabric softener containing cyclodextrins (started adding them back in the 90′s). It may be worth the extra buck or two to buy a decent fabric softener if you’re still saving money long-term on the faux febreze anyways. Not sure about the whole chicken fat story in Cuddle Soft so I’d probably steer clear of that stuff just in case. Lol!

  6. TipNut says:

    This is really interesting info and I’m glad you guys are sharing it. Since clothing is actually washed in liquid fabric softener, is the clothing we wear flammable (if using liquid fabric softener in our laundry)?

    Jay Gilmore: I still wear perfume sometimes and hubby’s big into cologne, so I’m not broken from self-induced chemical environments yet. Not including the plugin air fresheners that hubby’s in love with. But I understand what you’re saying, good point.

  7. Jay Gilmore says:

    TN,

    Honestly, I don’t use conventional liquid fabric softeners but rather soy-based fabric softeners that are scented with essential oils and natural scents. Granted I also don’t use conventional laundry detergent either since most of them are very harsh for both my skin the environment; they are not truly biodegradable. Many of these are quite harmful to aquatic life and don’t get filtered by many water processing plants.

    On the flammability issue, many fabrics such as drapes, soft furniture and childrens clothes are treated to be flame retardant for safety reasons. It is recommended that you not use chemicals that could jeopardize this retardancy. Even natural based fabric softeners can effect the flammability in clothing.

    I will confess though, I have had occasion to use the real Febreeze from time to time but even then I have started to opt for more natural solutions.

  8. TipNut says:

    Great timing Jay, I just finished reading about laundry detergents in a book I’m currently reading and how toxic they are:

    Good Soaps and Laundry Aids:

    Don’t be fooled by ‘No Phosphates!’ detergents. Most detergent manufacturers who plaster ‘no phosphate’ slogans on their boxes are substituting nitrioltriacetic acid (NTA), which chokes the life out of lakes and streams the same way as phosphates. Worse, nitrosamines like NTA are carcinogens even at extremely low doses. That’s why few detergent companies list ingredients.”

    NOTE: “Synthetic soaps (detergents) were made to wash synthetic clothes. So the first recipe for cutting down on detergent pollution is to buy only clothes made of natural fibers: cotton, wool, linen.”

    Good Laundry Soaps. “At the supermarket, you can have confidence in Simple Green, Ivory Soap, and Bon Ami products.”

    Page 67, The Encyclopedia of Country Living

    I did pull together a list of homemade laundry soap recipes if anyone is interested in that option. I enjoyed doing that at one time, but it’s definitely a discipline to develop considering how much easier it is to just pick up a box at the store :P. I’m not sure about the Fels Naptha or the Washing Soda for some of the recipes, but the rest of the ingredients I think are environmently friendly.

    I added information in the original post above to read the discussion here regarding flammability and chemical concerns. Thanks very much for the comments everyone, I found it interesting and learned something :).

    • MommaMary says:

      After reading all this I am prepared to try recipe #2 using my own homemade fabric softener which is not made using chicken fat, but indeed vinegar which is a natural odor exterminator and baking soda which also eliminates odors!! I think neither of these is harmful to animals but I will check into the liquid essential oilsmor liquid potpourri I add in my recipe to see if they are harmful to animals!

      • Linda says:

        Mary-The combination of baking soda and vinegar can produce noxious fumes that are dangerous. You may find that peroxide is a safer alternative to either ingredient, aids in deodorizing and cleaning very well. Do test it on a load of laundry or a corner of an item that needs deodorized to ensure it does not bleach the fabric (peroxide blonde anyone?). Also, keep your mixture in a dark bottle as peroxide degrades when exposed to light.

    • Donette says:

      Washing Soda is just a couple molecules different from Baking Soda. In fact, when I’m out of Washing Soda in a pinch, I will make my own: Spread baking soda out over the bottom of a cookie sheet (the kind with a lip to prevent spillage), bake at 400 for 20 min, take it out and give it a stir, pop it back in for about 10 more min…poof! Washing soda :) Here’s why: Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3), when exposed to high temperatures over a period of time, it throws off molecules of H2o (water) and Co2 (carbon dioxide) becoming Washing Soda (Na2CO3)…no trickery, just chemistry! Once you’ve done it a few times, you won’t need to time yourself, you will just know you’re there because the consistency of the powder changes when it has turned from Baking Soda into Washing Soda.

    • Brenda says:

      Fels Naptha has been around since before the depression back in the day~it works to prevent the spread of things such as poison ivy, my dad had major medical problems back in the early 50′s had to take alot of meds that should have caused him to loose most of his hair but he used fels naptha to wash his hair and sore till the day he died it was why he had such a great head of hair.

  9. ginger says:

    I make lye soap and use it to wash my clothes….
    Not consistantly, but it is pure soap. I sometimes put essential oils, but for laundry, I leave it plain mostly.
    I will use febreeze sometimes tho- dog + couch…. sometimes = eewww.

    • Jeanette says:

      If you are making your own lye soap, please share the receipe that you use and of course all of the ingredients with me. I have read several old time receipes for making the soap, however they do not give the measurements of the ingredients. I want to make some this fall. I don’t feel that I need to make my own lye with wood ashes, as long as I can obtain the Red Seal Lye in a store. I love the smell of old fashioned lye soap…so please respond to me. Thanks

  10. Stacey says:

    I am reading the recipes for homemade laundry and febreeze recipes. These are great ideas and I am going to start making my own. I am wondering if anyone has tried using only essential oils, like Lavender or Rosemary mixed with water or any other substance for refreshers? If so,do you have a recipe?
    I am learning a lot and can’t wait to start making my own products!

    • Shawna says:

      I actually filled my 32 oz spray bottle up with water and added my oil (jasmine) and made it to my “smell” likings. I use it throughout the house when I need to. One bottle of my oil goes a LONG way and the bottle of spray does too! I use it to spray my couches, chairs and as a general air freshener daily. I mixed this bottle a week ago and still have 3/4 of a bottle left!

      • Charlene says:

        I would like to know where to get the oils? Is it the same oil they use for candles or the crockpots for potpourri?

        • Linda says:

          Essential oils can be purchased at most health food stores, like Whole Foods. The oils used in candles and potpourri are often synthetic mixtures that may or may not contain actual essential oils extracted directly from the natural material.

        • Donette says:

          I buy mine at the Vitamin Shoppe.

  11. TipNut says:

    Hi Stacey, I do have some info for you: Easy Homemade Deodorizer Sprays.

    There are also a few more ideas for fresheners in the Homemade Cleaners category if you’d like to browse through it, or you could try doing a search for “fresheners”, I think you’ll get them all that way too.

    Enjoy :).

  12. Stacey says:

    Thank you! I am going to try the vinegar with EO! You have a great website with plenty of helpful information….thanks for responding and I will keep coming back for more great tips!!!

  13. Jessica says:

    What if you make your own fabric softener? will this also work in the air freshner?

    I use
    vinger, hair condishner, and water.

    • Charlotte says:

      I make my own detergent but instead of using washing soda, I use baking soda,and I make my own fabric softener using the same recipe a Jessica uses. Here is my recipe for the detergent I make.. a added a couple of more ing. then it called for..
      Recipe #8

      2 gallons Water (hot)
      1 bar Soap (grated)
      2 cups Baking soda (yes baking soda this time–not washing soda)
      1 cup Borax (for a brightener) I added this
      2 cup Vinegar ( to keep the sweated smell out of our clothes) I added this

      * Melt grated soap in a saucepan with enough hot water to cover. Cook on medium-low heat, stirring frequently until soap is melted.
      * In a large pail, pour 2 gallons hot water. Add melted soap, stir well.
      * Then add the Borax, stir well, Add Vinegar stir well, and last add Baking soda and stir well again..
      Always remember to shake well before using.

      * Use 1/2 cup per full load, 1 cup per very soiled load.

      • Charlotte says:

        Also if u want to use washing soda but like us, we cant find it to buy, so you can make your own washing soda from baking soda..
        Baking soda (Sodium Bicarbonate) slowly turns into washing soda (Sodium Carbonate, a.k.a. soda ash) when heated above 140 degrees F. The carbon dioxide released is what makes things rise. If you heat baking soda to 350-400 degrees, it’ll turn into washing soda fairly quickly.

      • LIZZY says:

        I use the DRY method of the Washing Soda, grated Castille Soap, and Borax, I mix in Essential Oils also. Store it in a gallon Glass Pickle Jar……Only use 1 TBS per load, then use dilluted Vinegar as the Rinse…………..This is an Old Receipe……Works perfectly…I can make a years worth for Ten Bucks……..

        • Cassie says:

          What is your recipe for the dry method of laundry detergent,,,i use the liquid version,,but would also like the dry method also..thank you for your time and kindness,,take care God bless you and your loved ones,Cassie

          • nikki says:

            for powdered soap i use 1 cup borax 1 cup arm and hammer super washing soda 1 bar soap grated i use fels mix together and use 1-2 tablespoons per load

  14. Robin says:

    Try this recipe for homemade air/fabric freshener spray:

    1 c. vinegar
    1 c. water
    1/2 tsp vegetable glycerine
    1/2 tsp essential oil of your choice
    Makes enough for a 16 oz bottle.

    Place in a spray bottle and shake well. The glycerine emulsifies the E.O. so it doesn’t sit on top of the water. You can double this recipe for a 32 oz bottle. Vinegar is suppose to be excellent for smoke odors too.

    Oh, for home made fabric softener:

    2 quarts vinegar
    1 tsp glycerine
    1 tsp Essential Oil

    Put in a bottle and shake. Use 1/4 to 1/2 a cup per load. This removes the residue from store bought detergents and fabric softeners, making the clothes soft and wrinkle free. I believe I read it’s not to be used on infant and childrens clothes because it removes the flame retardents.

    I just make up the homemade fabric softener, take a cup or two and add an equal amount of water to the spray bottle and I’m all set to freshen the air.

    Enjoy!

  15. Michelle says:

    Jessica,
    I was looking for fabric softener recipes when I found this. How do you make your own? What amounts of the ingredients you posted? Thanks.

  16. nessalee says:

    I make homemade laundry soap using washing soda/borax/ivory soap with vinegar as my softener. I cloth diaper my son, and the manufacturers of all the diapers I own state not to use fabric softener. They recommend using vinegar as the softener. Fabric softener is flammable. (My neighbor actually caught on fire last month and the doctors are saying it was from the Downy she used) Since all the diaper companies I use recommend vinegar, I am assuming it is not taking the flame retardant out of his clothes/diapers. Also, my friend is a district manager at Gap, and he says that their pajamas are flame retardant – but if you use fabric softener, the flame retardant is null.

  17. Jean says:

    There are a lot of great ways to make air freshener, and the best way to keep your house, carpets and furniture smelling fresh is to vacuum & wipe them down regularly! Chemical scents give me a terrible headache, and most deodorisers make me feel ill. I enjoy the scent of febreeze from quite far away, but if I’m in a living room that is treated religiously, I can’t wait to escape.

    For a room deodoriser you take about 2 cups of water and add essential oil to it in a spray bottle (can’t be a bottle that used to house chemical sprays or cleaners). For the bathroom, tea tree oil is grand – mold hates it, and the scent is strong and bracing. Spray on tile and grout, and inside the toilet bowl regularly.

    For furniture and bedrooms I like lavendar and rosemary oil together. They’re both natural insect repellants, so a spritz in your closet twice a week means moths are moving out. (I also have read that if you mist your school-age children’s hair with it daily, they will never bring home lice from school).

    Many essential oils are fungicidal as well. Citrus seed extract/oil is unscented, and works as a fungicide spray in the bath. Tea tree works in the same way. Straight vinegar is about 85% effective against mold, but it doesn’t smell so nice. 100 proof vodka works, but I’d rather mix myself a wee nip to brace myself for cleaning the bath than to actually use it on the tile.

    My friends down under swear that a room spritz with tea tree oil, eucalyptus and lavendar is just the thing to fight off winter sniffles. I don’t catch colds, so that anti-viral spray is unverified by me, but it does smell crisp and clean.

    • Lorissa says:

      Thank you, just what I wanted, some nice combinations of EO’s for my room fresheners. Nice tip about the natural bug repellent too.

    • Cassie says:

      How much rosemary and lavender oil do you mix together along with how much water ,,thank you for your time and kindness,,take care God bless you and your loved ones,,Cassie

    • Cassie says:

      You neglected to say how much essential oils to add to the 2 cups of water,,,thank you for your time and kindness,,take care God bless you and your loved ones,,Cassie

  18. Vanessa says:

    Curious if anyone has preferred formula for pet urine odor. I moved into a rental and it smells like the previous renters were raising a cat colony! (Odor must have been masked when I did my inital walk through but a week later the odor began to surface and has gotten to the point of repulsive after a few months.) I tried pure vinegar and water and a carpet cleaner with no luck- now it smells like a wet dog and cat pee……

    • Izzie J says:

      Last Yule I got a puppy for my husband- which was grand until it started to mitigate all over our sons’ carpet. You couldn’t even walk into the room! The entire house smelled of amonia. We were lucky and borrowed a carpet cleaning machine from my mother in law which I filled with baking soda and extremely hot water (near boiling). I think I used about 1 cup baking soda per gallon of hot water. I did that three times and let it set over night with a light coating of dry baking soda. The next day I shampooed that with a mixture of lavendar EO- 10 drops, eucalyptus- 6 drops and rosemary- 7 drops. It worked WONDERS!!! It too about 4 days before our house smelled great again, and it was a lot of work- but it really did the trick for our carpet. Good luck!

    • Shari says:

      Dont dillute the vinegar with water. It doesnt work as well ; use it full strength. I had an unneutered male cat who loved to spray my daughters mattress; I tried everything on the market until I found an article that said using staight white vinegar not only got rid of the smell but also discouraged the cat from spraying the same area to rescent. It has been 7 years & she still has the matress & we still have the cat. No smell & no more spraying the matress (we also got him nuetered). The only downfall is that now my daughter hates the smell of vinegar! I have 4 cats & 2 dogs I use vinegar in all my cleaning.

  19. TipNut says:

    Hi Vanessa, check out this post for some tips: cleaning cat urine, hope that helps!

  20. Shawna says:

    I was wondering about potty training mishaps, friend’s puppy piddles and two year old (child) stains on carpets. I can clean my carpets every weak and the same exact stains will come back. I also have the odors. Is there any good way to clean my carpets? We have tried to put bleach in and we have tried vineager.

    • Jeanette says:

      This tip is NOT about removing pet urine stains… But how to make your pet pee easier to clean urine! If you feed your pet just a little bit of tomato juice daily their urine is easier to clean and won’t cause yellow patches in your grass. About a teaspoon added to their food/water each day is usually enough.

  21. TipNut says:

    Hi Shawna, you can check this tip: How to Clean Cat Urine, that might help.

  22. Friendlyfarmerswife says:

    Thanks for such a great site! I share so much of what I learn here with others on game sites and chatrooms and give them this sites name to come and look up all the good stuff! Ive found everything from ragrugs to booties to laundry detergent(which by the way is GREAT) to using stuff to make other stuff that I would have never thought of I just love this place!!!WTG TIPNUT a BIG Woohoo for YOU!!

  23. Alexandra says:

    “I was wondering about potty training mishaps, friend’s puppy piddles and two year old (child) stains on carpets. I can clean my carpets every weak and the same exact stains will come back. I also have the odors.”

    We have a carpet cleaner and I have tried numerous cleaning fluids and homemade concoctions without much success until I tried Walmart’s brand, Great Value Orange Carpet and Upholstery cleaner. This got out reappearing stains, and doggy and toddler accidents. It must be the power of the concentrated orange, and it’s not as toxic as some of them. The carpet smells great!

    Also try straight peroxide on stains – this always works from me with coffee and tea stains. K-mart has some of the largest bottles of peroxide that I’ve seen – great value.

  24. Mike says:

    I really didn’t think this was going to work but I decided to give it a try anyway. I mixed equal parts fabric softer, alcohol and water and gave it a a big shake and I’ll tell you, this is BETTER then Febreze!

  25. mcb says:

    wouldn’t the laundry softener build up on things that you are’nt able to wash in the washer?

  26. Sheri says:

    Don’t ever use Febreeze to try and get rid of skunk odor as it will magnify it and make it much worse

    • Jenny says:

      The best way to get rid of skunk smell that I have found is with tomato paste ( I always take a few cans camping with me, since the dogs always managed to get sprayed). not sure what i would do though to get rid of the smell on something i couldnt wash easily.

      • Ronny says:

        My vet gave me a recipe for skunk removal on dogs. Its a bottle of peroxide, a half cup of baking soda, and a teaspoon of Dawn dish soap. Mix together, apply to animal liberally, wait 15 minutes and rinse off. Depending on how bad your pet got skunked, you may have to repeat the process. I have a 91 pound American Bull Dog, and have used this recipe twice. It worked beautifully.
        I had tried tomato juice, sauce, and paste. It never worked for me. This is the best recipe I’ve ever had. And my bull dog has very sensitive skin. This recipe didn’t bother him, and left his coat very soft!
        Hope you don’t have this experience, but if you do…this is the formula to use!

  27. Gwen says:

    I have not tried this Recipe for homemade febreeze but will try it out today. will try and see if I can find a soy based softner though.

  28. Tarah says:

    I have been reading about the issue with the flame retardent being removed on fabrics like kids clothes. I have learned that the amount of toxic chemicals used to make things flame retardent are extremely dangerous and are absorbed through the skin. My son had a blood test done showing the amount of toxic chemicals and when I asked the doctor how he got some of the chemicals he said it is from the absorbtion of the chemicals of flame retardent fabrics. Many of the chemicals are neurotoxins and have severly damaged many individuals including my son who has autism.

    • Maggie says:

      Wired Magazine had a page in the back of their magazine showing what was in fabric softeners. IIRC there is lard or some kind of animal fat that makes the clothes feel “smoother.” I don’t think I want to spray that around my house. I’d go with the vinegar/water/essential oils.

  29. amanda davis says:

    can someone tell me where to by essential oils…like a big name place..walmart kmart and so forth ive looked but can find them and am afraid to buy them online since i have migrane headaches some smell can trigger it so id hate to order something pay for shipping and have to throw it out

    • Marilyn says:

      I have bought essential oils from Wild Oats and Whole Foods. If your store has a natural section they may carry essential oils. It’s usually fragrance oils that give me a headache because it’s synthetic chemicals. Essential oils are from plants.

    • Des says:

      Most cities have a “natural/organic” food store in the area, and many large chain grocery stores (like Hy-Vee in my area) have an organic/health food section. These are great places to find EO’s. Also, check out your local farmer’s market.

    • Nora says:

      Wal-Mart carries Tea Tree oil (look in the vitamin section), but your other oils are going to be purchased from a health food store. Look for PURE blends, especially if you are sensitive to fragrances. Warning – they’re not cheap, but a little bit goes a long way.

      On Jean’s room spritz, I leave out the eucalyptus oil (I’m allergic) & use peppermint (opens the sinuses). I use the humidifiers in the winter that have the “well” for oils…can’t use Vicks, so I make my own – peppermint, rosemary (calms), clove (just smells good), & tea tree (infection fighter).

    • Jim Wall says:

      Amanda, do you have a Drug Emporium where you live or nearby? We have one and that’s where I find our Essential Oils. While not inexpensive, they are less expensive than many ‘big box’ stores. Hope you find a good source!

    • steph says:

      At Walmart, in the candle section, is where I found smell good oils…

    • Elizabeth says:

      For those who don’t know, essential oils are not the same as fragernce oils. You can tell the difference by the price.

  30. Andrea says:

    Good ideas did not see this one so here goes. I put ammonia in a vase and put it up high so the kids don’t get into it. It will smell if you get close to it but putting it up high helps with this and it absorbs orders.

  31. Mo says:

    This is not green,but it is frugal.I have used for many years(before Fabreeze was ever heard of) a product named OdoBan Concentrate.The only problem is that I have only been able to find it is at Sam’s Club.I have been seeing OdoBan pre-mixed in a spray bottle at Wal-Mart but it is almost as expensive as the Fabreeze.What I use is the concentrate that comes in a gallon size and will dilute to make up to 32 gallons. It costs about $11.00 a gallon.It makes a great laundry,air,and fabric freshener.It is also a disinfectant and virucidal.Diluted at the proper strength it will kill Staph,Strep,E.Coli,Influenza and HIV just to name a few.There is a chart on the back of the bottle that tells how much to use for what.As a fabric freshener if the scent is stronger than you like add more water.I use it everywhere.I spray my shower stall to help fight mildew and it makes it smell so fresh.Pour a cap full in the toilet and leave it. In the rinse when I wash the dogs bedding.After cleaning carpets I dilute it in water and go over the carpets one last time.I add it to the rinse when I wash my scatter rugs.Going camping and sleeping bags smell musty? Spray with OdoBan and let dry,better yet spray and let them sun for a bit. There are so many uses for it .I would be lost without it

    • DeAnn Law says:

      Mo,
      I live in N.J. and have found Odoban in our local Costco. This stuff is great! I am hooked on this too. I have filled all of my old febreeze bottles with this. I also use a stronger mix for doggie mishaps.

  32. Anna says:

    My mom and my sister both have used these recipes for makeshift febreze. I thought my sister had gotten new plug-ins one day, and she told me that it was her febreze stuff she made. She uses downy in her’s. Both of her girls have allergies and have never had a reaction to it. My mom and sister both have inside pets and their furniture nor house have ever smelt like animals. I tried it myself with Gain detergent and it really does work!!

  33. Heather M says:

    We use these to get out wrinkles. Put Water and fabric softener in a spray bottle and take a shirt. Spray the shirt liberally. Shake the shirt vigorously and then hang to dry, in a couple hours all wrinkles should be gone!

  34. Sara M says:

    I try to avoid fabric softner or any other product likely tested on animals. So what’s worked WELL for me is:

    3 parts water
    1 part white vinegar
    1 lemons worth of lemon juice
    2 tsp baking soda

    It makes an incredibly fresh noticably lemony smell!

  35. Mrs. M says:

    1 bottle Alcohol (rubbing)
    1 bottle fabric softner (use empty alcohol bottle)

    dump in alcohol in empty srayer bottle
    dump in fabric softner
    shake well and spray on all areas where you normally use Febreeze

  36. Jodi' says:

    Just a quick note on Fabreeze. It contains hydrocloric acid. Granted it is in very small amounts. I was told this by a local woman who sells all natural products. Ever since then I have not used the product. I have tried to live the most natural lifestyle I can and my family supports me. I have even gone as far as making my own body soap. We have saved so much money, not to mention we don’t miss the chemicals around here. My home is fresh, clean, and we are all better off.

  37. Nancy Warkentin says:

    Anyone have any tips for a good carpet cleaner? I rent the Rug Doctor and really do not want to use the cleaner that comes with it. It is so expensive. I do have spots that need to come out, so whatever I use needs to be a good spot/stain remover. How a about vinegar added to just plain ivory dish soap??

    • Marinel says:

      OxiClean and hot water. This will get out most any stain. I have a insecticide sprayer that I bought just for pretreating the carpet. It might be a good idea to get your own carpet cleaning machine, reconditioned machines are alot cheaper. You never know what has been run through a rental machine. After pretreating I use Oxi and hot water again to pull the pretreated mixture out of the carpet. I use 2 scoops per container of hot water in a Hoover cleaner. The upside to having your own machine is you can get to the stains right after they happen and you have a cleaner carpet sooner. If inclined you can run just vinegar through the machine and get the effects of cleaning mineral deposits from the water cleaned out of the machine while rinsing your carpet. Dish soap will foam up and make the machine harder to use.

  38. Denise says:

    I have been doing this for a few years, I originally read it in a Women’s Day magazine I want to say, but I love it! I just use my favorite fabric softener or when those nice scents come out I try one of those and I always get compliments on how good my house smells. Although, I have never put anything else but fabric softener and water in a spray bottle. It seems to me though the scent lasts longer than Febreeze using this method.

  39. Debby Flanigen says:

    I have just found this site and made my first batch of laundry detergent today. I have also made the fabric softener using hair conditioner, vinegar and water. I saw the question posted earlier, but didn’t see the answer. Can I use this homemade fabric softener as a base for the febreeze? I love how it turned out, especially the fragrance in the condition and would like to have the same fragrance throughout the house. I’m so glad I found this site, I’m enjoying all the tips!

  40. Evelyn says:

    Hi! I have just tried the Febreeze recipe #4 with baking soda and have found that it leave a white residue all over my furniture. I was able to dust it off, but am thinking that it may be better to use one of the other recipes.

  41. Dawn says:

    I don’t like to use any kind of smelly chemicals in my house. I wonder what will be the effects later on down the road. I used to burn candles, and I stopped that too. There is just to many chemicals in the air now a days. You got to wonder where all the cancer in people is coming from. The foods we eat has so many chemicals.Just got to wonder all the spraying of chemicals in your house and you and the kids sit in there and smell it all day long. I am very worried about that.Years ago they didn’t use all these chemicals.I am guilty of using bad stuff, but I am trying to get better with some things. This website is great for some homemade recipes, like they use to use years ago and I will be trying some I don’t already use. Thanks

  42. Deb says:

    But I have cats. Are there any essential oils or fragrances that would be safe for them? I love Patchuly Oil but do not know what it is made from. Any help would be appreciated as I have a smoker in the house. Thanks and great site.

  43. Debbie says:

    I have found that vinegar, water and EO spayed on wrinkled clothes will help relaxe the wrinkles. Just spray, swipe over with your hand and give the garment a tug and pull. Let it hang and moments later the wrinkles are gone. I use vinegar as a softner too. It is amazing how much softer the jeans are. I will also add EO’s to give it a little fragrance. Thanks for this web site and it’s awesome tips.

  44. Anna says:

    what type of vinegar should I use for any of the recipes above?

  45. Ira says:

    I am confused about several posts here ( up higher ) about the item called “Cyclodextrins”. Is that a unsafe product or not?

    I think a poster said it is in the 1.00 store fabric softener called Cuddle Soft.

    I also seen a different poster ask where they could find some Cyclodextrins to add to their home made fabric softener.

    What is is please? I lay men terms lol I Googled it and am even more confused ;)

    • Jeanette says:

      Cyclodextrin is a modified corn starch. It is used in fabric “freshening” products because it chemically bonds to most odor causing molecules “surrounding” the offensive odor and preventing it to further evaporate into the air so you smell it. It does not remove those offensive odors… It neutralizes them by making it near impossible for you to smell them. The “fresh” smell you get by using Febreze and similar products is the fragrance they have added. So you end up with a nasty smelling molecule “imprisoned” inside a the cyclodextrin jail surrounded by a , hopefully, pleasant smelling fragrance.

      Personally, I am going to try 3 different suggestions found on this remarkable site/comments.
      1. OdoBan seems like it would be great to try for some things.
      2. Vinegar also seems like it would be great and I will be trying some of those new uses out… Are their times when apple cider vinegar is ok?
      3. Fabric softener and water… Funnily enough my favorite febreze scent is the Downy April fresh scent, lol… So I will see how that works.

      • Lyn says:

        Vinegar is good when something cooked in a saucepan has ‘caught’ and charred. Empty pan and pour over enough vinegar to cover the charring, leave overnight and should lift the charred mass off. Any remaining can be cleaned off with either a metal scourer or a plastic one if its non stick.

  46. Patti Goldman says:

    I was at one of Bonnie Hunt’s tapings and she spoke to us about fabric sheets/softeners. She is a nurse, so I tend to feel what she is saying is backed up by some expertise. (who really knows) anyway, she says all fabric sheets/softeners have carcinogens and we should not use them. I purchased the “fabric balls” that you can get in most pharmacies. They really work! I never use the sheets or softeners. I have been using them for over a year and they still do the job.

  47. Linda Smock says:

    Patchouli is an herb, I went to my favorite health food store where they sell herbs by the weight. You measure them out yourself. They are all dried and it wasn’t expensive at all. I made a little bage of it and put it in a suitcase.
    I just loved the smell. I am sure you can get it dried or in EO

  48. TAMMY says:

    I used to know a lady who had horrible asthma. Even when getting a non-smoking room at a hotel (someone usually had smoked in…) she could react to previous odors, especially the smoke and musty smell. She would carry a bottle of white vinegar (small) in her suitcase, set out a cup or bowl full and leave the room for about an hour. When she came back the odors were either gone or better. I don’t have that problem so I’ve never tried it personally but it worked for her.
    Great Website. Thanks!!!

  49. Meishara says:

    Could you just use perfume in place of Essential oils???

  50. kkmmnana says:

    Today I went to the Dollar Store in Ottawa Canada and bought a 850ml of fleecy for $2 that was a deal.. now we are going to try this now… thanks for the idea.

  51. Kitty says:

    Quite simply, fabric softener is meant to be rinsed away and Febreeze is not. What happens to your skin when you don’t rinse away soap from any surface? It collects. On your skin it can itch or burn causing all manner of contact dermatitis issues. On your furniture prolonged use could ruin fabrics by making them tacky, leading to everything from color changes that might not show on a one-time spot test to a nice film of body oils and bacteria that necessitate cleaning the item, AKA, rinsing the fabric softener off.

  52. Betty says:

    To really go natural for a wrinkle remover just use h2o! Unless the wrinkles are set and have to be ironed out water works great. My closet is packed so every thing is wrinkled. I choose what I am going to ware next day, hang it on the shower curtain rod, fill a spray bottle with good old h2o and spray away. You can shake or pull the garmet a little if the wrinkles look deep. Next morning your cloths are dry and the wrinkles are gone. This works on almost all fabrics especially natural ones. I have a couple of things tho that even ironing wont get the wrinkles out! So good luck on cloths like those!

  53. Cheryl says:

    Can I just mix baking soda and water and omit the fabric softener? I have pets and I don’t want the chemicals on their paws.

    I don’t know what is in the real Febreeze, but I always seem to have an allergy attack when it’s sprayed. Same thing with those Good Air candles that Yankee Candle sells. Can’t go near them without some sort of attack with or without a migraine.

  54. Beth says:

    I know vinegar is great for cleaning and all that but as a deodorizer I think it stinks; literally. I think I’d rather the smell of a wet dog then the smell of vinegar running through my apartment. It’s nasty. But, to each their own.

  55. Jessica says:

    I would be very concerned about the fabric softener building up on the furniture and attracting dirt. It’s the same idea with carpet shampoo- which has ruined my carpet. I love the Odoban idea- I hadn’t thought of it. But I use it on loads of laundry and towels that have gotten mildewy so it makes sense…
    As far as the vinegar smell it has been my experience that it disapears after a while… I do add EO to my solution though.

  56. Jen Smith says:

    Febreze is spelled just like that…no double e’s. Not sure if I should email Febreze and ask them to change their product to the obviously correct spelling (Febreeze), or if I should encourage the general public to continue spelling it wrong (Febreze).

  57. monique says:

    i would like to know what can remove the smell of years of smoking in sofas chairsand all other material in a house carpets etc. i had a smoking tenant renting my furnished house for a few years so i would like to know a good mixture that can help me remove that smellout of furniture etc. even my son clothes???? plz help thank you for all ofyour posting their great and certainly less expensive to use on a regular basis!!!!thanks again for all of your info

  58. EamI says:

    White vinegar is great for cleaning windows, stinky carpet, furniture, fabric rinse/softner, and neutralizing dog pee. I did not see any suggestions using rubbing alcohol for fleas, but works beautifully. Both vinegar and alcohol have strong odors but spray, leave the room and drink a cup of coffee, tea, or even try the vodka mention above (just a little), and when you return the scent will be great. Also, if your dog has a bad case of the fleas, the alcohol, use just a little, will not hurt the dog. I pull the fleas off and drop in a cup with some alcohol. Instant eradication of the flea. Finally, I have two grown daughters that can smell an odor a mile away. They will drive you nuts but Vinegar shuts down their noses!

    • Lyn says:

      I’ve read that using laundry powder to clean dog or cat mishaps doesnt work as leave an ammonia that attracts them back to same spot. So vinegar would be a cheap cleanser. Cat litter put into a small bag, maybe even an old sock, and put into smelly shoes and trainers is supposed to help get rid of stink.

      Cooking salt sprinkled on the pathway when it is threatening snow, helps stop the snow settling.

  59. Elizabeth says:

    I have tried receipe #3 above an it seems to smell better and leave a much lighter smell then a normal Febreze scent. I am not sure what the deal is but even Proctor and Gamble gave me the run around bit on it. I have been searching for the Febreze Allergen and everyone, including onlie vendors are out of stock. I attempted a purchase online and even they said it was on back order indefinitely. I don’t have allergies and neither does my son, but I did find the product was very helpful with any cat dander issues and my friends and family who were mildly to moderately allergic. Does anyone know if any of the receipes above or if there is another receipe which may have similar results? Obviously I realize it may be a matter of trial and error – but I do like to make people as comfortable as possible if visiting.

    Thanks!

  60. greenjeans says:

    would anyone know if there is anything you can add for allergens?

  61. Linda says:

    The real Febreeze is toxic to animals. This came from my vet.

  62. NF says:

    I’ve been using the homemade freshener with alcohol for awhile now. Works great! To add another use to this, it makes a great dusting spray. DO NOT spray directly on furniture and don’t use on unsealed wood or antiques. I barely spray a microfiber dusting cloth with the mixture and dust away. Cloth should not be wet, just barely damp. In fact, spray ur hands and then dry hands on cloth. It picks up dust, pet hair, removes light liquid marks and can even be used on glass. It leaves a light gloss, is anti static, smells great. I use it on my washable swiffer dusters, too.
    If ur worried about fabric softener buildup in the homeade febreze, as a few of u mentioned, this is one way to avoid that. Inexpensive body spray(Calgon, obscure, cheap brands sold almost everywhere) that does not contain moisturizers can also be diluted with water to make a great fabric freshener. Right after xmas, when gift sets go to 1/2 off, is a great time to stock up.

  63. gwen says:

    anyone make dishwashing powder i make everything else lol anyone have a good recipe for this? i want something that wont clog up my machine or discolor it

  64. April says:

    We used to buy Cuddle Soft, thought that it smelled ok and it was cheaper. However, started smelling my clothes & they Stunk to high heaven. I quit buying that stuff and started buying Downy. Now we make our own detergent & fabric softener(for over a year now) & its saved us alot of money. Keep the powdered detergent in a 5 gal. Home Depot bucket & the liquid softener is kept in a gal. jug. My daughter got some grease(such as axle grease used on cars) on her shirt at work one day, the detergent took it “all” out (I believe that the Fels Soap did its job, read the uses on label). I use 1 box Borax, 1 box A&H Washing Soda & 1 grated bar of Fels Naptha soap, 1 bottle Purex Crystals (lavender blossom scent…love the smell) all mixed together (use 2 Tbls. per load). I add to the bucket every once in awhile when I feel that I’m getting low. However, I give out samples to friends & family to see if they like it with the recipe & instructions written on the baggie. Also, if you sprinkle 1 tsp. of the Purex Crystals Lavender Blossom on the floor of your car & vacuum it up, it will smell great. My sister mixes Baking Soda & Purex Crystals on her carpet then vacuums it up & her house smells great. Love the smell of Lavender…


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