4 Terrific DIY Air Fresheners: Aromatic Sprays & Salt/Citrus

Back in the day we thought nothing of packing an assortment of air fresheners into every nook and cranny of our homes, happy to sample a variety of commercial brands because there was such an abundance of delightful fragrances to choose from. Did anyone else have a Grandmother who loved her floral aerosol spray for the bathroom?

These products helped make our homes smell so clean and lovely, it never occurred to us that maybe they weren’t such a good idea after all. We’re now learning that some of these products contain not-so-friendly ingredients that can be toxic to our health, dangerous for our children or harmful to our pets…and not the least bit eco-friendly!

Here’s a sure-fire way to be confident that you’re not injecting into your home anything that contains harmful ingredients: Make your own homemade air fresheners! It’s really not that complicated and there are so many different ways that you can do this.

In today’s article I’ll share four easy recipes (3 sprays and 1 packed citrus shell), but I have a few more creative ideas and easy DIYs here on Tipnut that you should check out too…

Now on to the recipes…as you can see they just use simple, natural products that you likely have in your pantry already. Have fun and don’t be shy experimenting with different aromas & EO blends!

Homemade Lemon Spritz


2 cups hot water
1/8 cup baking soda
1/2 cup lemon juice


  • First dissolve the baking soda in hot water then add the lemon juice, you can use ReaLemon for this. Grapefruit can be a nice twist too.

Easy Room Deodorizer

You can also whip up some good, delightful smelling spray with just two ingredients: water or vinegar and essential oils.

  • Simply fill a spray bottle with water or vinegar, add a dozen or so drops of your favorite essential oils (try experimenting with combos), shake bottle and it’s ready to use.

Vanilla & Cloves Recipe


1 cup water
1 cup household vinegar
1 TBS vanilla extract
1 tsp cloves


  • Combine all items and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for two minutes. Remove from stove and allow to cool.
  • Strain cloves then pour liquid into spray bottle, shake and use as needed.

Note: You can increase/decrease the vanilla & cloves amounts to your preference.

All-Natural Packed Citrus Shells

Here’s a neat tip sent in by Paulina for one of the most natural and easiest homemade room fresheners I’ve come across yet…

I picked this tip up from a local newspaper some years ago and I’ve been using it ever since, I just love the smell of oranges:

  • Cut an orange in half and remove the pulp;
  • Fill the empty shell with some salt;
  • Put in the back of your fridge as a fridge freshener;
  • Keep the orange shell in a small bowl so it won’t tip over and spill the grains.

The salt absorbs stale and nasty odors while the shell releases a fresh, orange smell. I also tuck one of these behind the toilet in our bathroom.

Another way you can do this is cut an orange in half and coat the exposed flesh liberally with salt. Since we love eating oranges I always remove the pulp first.

This would also work for other citrus fruits like lemons and grapefruits. Nice tip, thanks very much Paulina for sharing this with us!

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    • nancy

    Can fragrance oil be substituted for the e.o.?

    • TipNut

    You can try it nancy but I would test first since I think fragrance oils can leave an oil residue. The amount used would be so minimal though that I doubt it would actually stain anything.

    • Dada

    You can freshen up your home in one minute by boiling little amount of water in a pan with a tablespoon of dried mint (haven’t tried any other herbs yet) for a minute or two. Leaves your entire home smelling so fresh for some time! 🙂

      • rmp

      Tried boiling 1 TBS dried mint in 1/2 cup of water on a gas stove.

      It did not leave any scent whatsoever, even when I turned my range hood off and let it simmer for 20 minutes.

    • Kelly Langill

    Hi I was just wondering if the Lemon airfreshener would be a good subsitute for the Freebreeze. Your right the chemicals can be too much so it would be nice to know if there is a natural healthier air freshener and clothing freshener and furniture freshener can you recommend anything is there a natural healthier inexpensive way to freshen your home clothes and furniture without damage or staining help.
    I use allot of the natural ingredients for floor and laundry it is awesome thanks for all the tips they are wonderful

      • monie

      Easy Home made “fabreez” 4 tblsp ultra downey fabric softener, 25 oz water. Pour into spray bottle and gently roll around.

    • Veronica

    I thought that I would contribute an old recipe that my mother taught me! In an pot place an orange,peach and lemon in quartered slices.
    1tblspn. of honey
    5 whole cloves or 1/4tspn.of ground cloves
    1tspn. of real vanilla flavoring
    3c.of water
    Bring the water with all of the ingredients in it to a rapid boil and let boil for 15 minutes. It will take out any odors in your home; and keep it smelling fresh for up to one week or more.
    Depending on your like or dislike of the smell of cloves you can feel free to omit or decrease the amount used of them. This recipe also works without the cloves and the use of mint leaves instead!

    • Alexandra

    I’ve tried lemon and/or orange extract from the spice aisle at the grocery store. It works just as well and doesn’t have the bits of real lemon which can be messy.

    • Bell

    This is the first air freshener recipe I have tried, mostly because I already have all of the ingredients. I can’t actually smell any lemon smell at all. Is it supposed to smell lemony or just help get rid of odors in the air?

    • TipNut

    Bell it’s not a strong scent but I can smell the lemon in it.

    • Kathy@brazoscowgirl

    I made this when I was cleaning my son’s room. It smells great, works great and I love it!

    • Brian

    a friend of mine did her own little recipe using Vodka and Peppermint oil. is Vodka ok to use??

      • Renee

      I’m not sure of the answer to that, I wouldn’t see why not. Its alcohol, which many cleaning products have in it anyway (just different kind maybe?) It sounds like an interesting combination and I love peppermint oil! I may have to give it a try!

      • Liz

      I’ve been making my own Colognes for years. We always use carrier oils and Vodka. 🙂

      • Fidget Z

      Vodka is an excellent deodorizer. even works for taking pet smells out. Is fabo in sweaty shoes and the such… adding an oil to it just makes for a fresh scent lingering.

        • Jamie

        The alcohol helps to make it evaporate faster as well and helps it to keep longer in a bottle if you make a larger amount that you won’t use all at once.

          • Brooke

          But it is also flammable.

    • Rose

    Just a note: I’ve tried this recipe using juice from a real lemon and it worked just fine, but I found if I didn’t use it up within a week that the bottle with the solution it became mold-filled. YUCK… it made me sick to see something that was supposed to be helping me keep the home clean was disgusting itself. I have not tried lemon juice, so I’ll see…

      • EC

      Rose, the whole point of making your own is to use fresh and natural ingredients. Without preservatives it will go bad much sooner than commercial products. So with common sense you should just make enough to be used within a short period of time. Everything good can be disgusting if you let it rot so use your judgement. If you like the convenience, buy potentially toxic commercial products. If you like the healthy nature of home made products, make it fresh.

      • Renee

      Rose, I did the same thing, accidentally (and ya, it was gross lol)… If you can imagine it somewhat like this ~ buying canned green beans vs fresh green beans. Canned foods have preservatives in them that are not good for you at all, where natural fresh picked veggies do not. Now, if you set them both out on the counter for 2 weeks (give or take) which one is going to go bad? :o) Is it more of a hassle to make something once a week, maybe to some. However, I simply enjoy the freshness of it and knowing what is in it is not going to harm my family or my pets :o)

        • Lauren

        Just FYI, most canned foods do not have preservatives in them. The canning process (sterilized can, cooked food) keeps the food in the can fresh without preservatives. However, some cans do have BPA in the can lining to make the inside of the can non-stick. Once cans are open, the food in the can can grow bacteria or mold, as can lemon juice when left out…

          • Jina

          That is correct. They now can organic veggies and fruits as well. The purpose of canning is to preserve food from your garden.

      • Kim Carroll

      I would recommend keeping it in the fridge!

      • Rose Mary

      use lemon essential oil not fragrance oil and it will last a long time.

      • Corine

      Adding a little Vodka will help prevent mold growth in the spray. Vodka is good for more than making Screwdrivers after all as it does have antiseptic properties. You could also keep the spray bottle in the fridge as another poster recommended. That will also allow it to last longer than at room temperature.

    • TinaMarie

    Hello, I like the idea of a natural air freshner but I just love lavender. Could anyone help and tell me how to do an air freshener with Lavender? I wouldnt know where to start.
    Thank you very much

      • Joslyn

      Hey TinaMarie,

      You can buy a little bottle of lavender essential oil and add a few drops of it with water and put it in a spray bottle. Just an idea.

    • Matthew

    any recipes that can make my room smell like lemon vanilla pound cake 😀 gosh i sound like such a fatty. oh and could I put it in one of the plug-ins that warms up a wick inside a bottle of the liquid???? any help would be great thanks.

      • Liz

      Essential oils. (which are distilled from the leaves, roots, even leaves and portions of a botanical… Lemon and Vanilla, along with a carrier oil. (Carrier oils, are pressed from fatty portions of seeds, nuts, kernels, and don’t evaporate) Some carrier oils I recomend are Jojoba, Grapeseed, Sweet Almond Oil,or Pecan Oil….Most carrier oils are odorless, if you ever notice an oil with a strong bitter aroma, It has gone rancid…..Keep it in the Fridge ……..

    • Martha

    I used Lemon Essential oil with ordinary rubbing alcohol (drugstore variety). I didn’t measure, just poured about 1/4″ into a large spray bottle, then added about 3″ of the alcohol – I need more but I wanted to try this first. The lemon scent was fantastic, strong initially but very pleasant within a few minutes. I sprayed it on some boxes first to see if it would stain, and the spray dried quickly with no oil stain. I sprayed it on furniture and my cotton curtains, so now when the window is open, I get the fresh air with a hint of fresh lemon. The spray bottle was a dollar store find.

    • rmp

    I just tried the orange halves with salt, using scooped-out navel oranges and table salt.

    It may be absorbing odor but it doesn’t give off hardly any orange scent. (I used to put our daily orange peels on a small basket on top of the toilet tank every day and that gave off real orange scent).

    Anyone know if you have to use juice oranges and/or kosher salt?

    • Linda Warrick

    i tried the laundry enhancer crystals (Purex Crystals is one). I figured if it is safe for my laundry, it should be safe for my mattresses, linens, and upholsteries. I used it on hidden sides first. So far it has worked quite nicely. Only time will tell.
    I used 1 heaping tablespoon to 12 ounces of distilled water.

    • river of books

    Hi, I have a question about the water/baking soda/lemon juice freshener. When I added the lemon juice to the water/baking soda it instantly bubbled and overflowed all over the stove top. Any tips? Wait ’til the water is cold first?


      • Catitude

      Lemon (or at least the Citric Acid contained in lemons) & Baking Soda are the active ingredients in AlkaSeltzer Gold (contains no Tylenol or other pain medication), when you add water they do fizz so you’ll need to use a tall pan & add slowly not just dump it in.

    • nyneelie

    My favorite and least expensive household air freshner is:

    Small pot filled with water (kind you would boil an egg or two in)
    4/5 Cinnamon Sticks
    5 cloves

    Bring to boil. (careful, it will overflow if you don’t watch it.)
    Let simmer.
    Add more water when necessary.

    Your house will smell delicious. Guaranteed.
    No toxic fumes either.
    Guests are always impressed when entering my home.
    Very inexpensive too!

    • Connie

    Seems like I should be able to use scientific grade isopropyl alcohol instead of vodka especially if rubbing alcohol can be used.

      • Robin.

      When I make the citrus air freshener I put a tsp. of vodca in it and then store it in the refrigerator then it lasts a couple weeks. Also I use a half cup of ReaLemon and 10 drops of lemon EO, 1 and a half cups distilled water, 1/8 cup baking soda and 1 tsp.vodca

    • Shayne

    Sadly the lemon and bicarbonate spray didn’t work for me. The one completely cancelled the other out. Smelt of nothing at all! What a waste of ingredients .
    However simmering cloves and half a juiced lemon peel in water on stove did make the house smell nice but the scent doesn’t stay for long .

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