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This All-Natural, DIY Air Freshener Has a Surprising Secret Ingredient

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Ah, the smell of home. There’s nothing like it. But what is that smell to you? Short ribs braising in the Le Creuset? Freshly laundered linens? Salty sea air wafting up from the shore? A pot of basil growing on the windowsill? Freshly brewed coffee?

If, like three out of four Americans, you routinely use air fresheners, you’re probably adding a lot more to your home than an aerosolized interpretation of “summer rain” or “strawberry jasmine.”  But these store-bought air fresheners don’t seem so fresh when you actually read the ingredients: phthalates, formaldehyde, p-dichlorobenzene, and more. Chemicals in common air fresheners, plug-in scents, and even some candles have been linked to developmental and reproductive disorders, various cancers, and breathing problems like asthma.

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Luckily, there’s a better, natural way to de-stink your home! Enter essential oils. These concentrated, potent essences of plants pack a powerful olfactory punch, without the risk of chemical air fresheners. Essential oils are fun and flexible: You can blend and combine different oils until you find just the right fragrance to freshen your home. Paired with a good basic cleaning routine and common household products (like vodka!), essential oils are the natural way create the home you’ve been sniffing around for.

A great choice for folks looking for a room-freshening spray with a clean, fresh, and just slightly medicinal vibe, this Cleansing Air Freshener is paired with one of my favorite essential oil blends. Here's how to make it yourself: 

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What you'll need:

24 drops tea tree essential oil
16 drops rosemary essential oil 
16 drops peppermint essential oil 
small bowl, for combining oils
4- to 8-ounce spray bottle
6 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons vodka

How to make your own all-natural air freshener (about ½ cup):

Step 1: Mix your oils.

Combine tea tree, rosemary, and peppermint essential oils in a small bowl. I call this combination my Fresh and Cleansing Essential Oil Blend, which is a personal favorite. It makes an excellent all-purpose, refreshing scent, so if you're able to double or triple the batch you can use it in spray cleaners, hair rinses, and hair styling creams, as well as in body and room sprays. The tea tree oil makes this blend especially appropriate for deodorant sticks, powders, or sprays—where a little boost of natural antibacterial power is appreciated.

Step 2: Make the air freshener. 

In a 4- to 8-ounce spray bottle, combine the water, vodka, and essential oils. (Alternatively, you can swap in 30 to 60 drops of essential oils of your choice instead of the Fresh and Cleansing blend.) Cap lid tightly and shake to combine. The freshener will last indefinitely, though the essential oil scent may fade over time. 

Step 3: Use it. 

Shake the spray bottle well, and then spray the freshener into the air, around furniture, or on rugs. Don’t saturate fabrics; just mist!  

We originally ran this post last fall but we brought it back as a first fall refresh.

What are your favorite all-natural DIYs? Let us know in the comments.

Blogger Erica Strauss is the author of a new book, The Hands On Home, and these photos are from the book!

Tags: Home, Cleaning, DIY, Natural, Essential Oils