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DIY Air and Fabric Freshener

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It doesn't seem to matter how clean we keep our homes. Sometimes they just smell stale and musty. This is especially true for those of us that have pets. Or kids that like to put their feet all over the couch and chairs! If you feel this pain, you need an all-natural fabric and air freshener in your life!

You could head to the nearest store and pick up a five-dollar bottle of Febreze or another chemical-filled alternative. But if you're like me, these things will only give you a headache. I much prefer to freshen my home naturally with essential oil-based products. And since this all-natural air and fabric freshener could not be any easier, I'm so excited to share it with you!

Supplies for DIY air freshener including rubbing alcohol, essential oils, and a spray bottle.
The only things you need for freshness!

What will you need?

This is truly one of the quickest and easiest homemade cleaning supplies you could ever make. While you may have seen variations of this on sites like Pinterest, the recipe I use contains just three basic ingredients:

  • water- about 1/2 cup

  • rubbing alcohol- one tablespoon

  • essential oils of choice- thirty to forty drops of any single oil or combination of oils.

Some other recipes call for baking soda. While it is true that baking soda works to neutralize odors, I have found that it tends to clog sprayers. Once a sprayer has been clogged I have not had any luck un-clogging it. So I decided to use a recipe that does not include baking soda and instead settled on rubbing alcohol to help disperse the essential oils in the water.

You could also use vodka in place of the rubbing alcohol. We don't drink vodka in this house, however, so unless I have been using it to make herbal tinctures, we don't keep it around. Another option that I have seen recommended is pure (not imitation) vanilla extract. Due to the high cost of pure vanilla extract, I opted not to use it as my dispersant, though I have no doubt the resulting concoction would smell heavenly!

The only equipment you'll need to make this DIY fabric and air freshener is the following:

  • Measuring cup

  • Measuring spoon (tablespoon)

  • Glass spray bottle (four-ounce or six-ounce) like this one *

The simple steps:

I said before that this recipe really could not be much easier and that is not an exaggeration. This is one of the quickest and simplest things you can make on your journey to a more natural home. To make your DIY all-natural air and fabric freshener, follow these simple steps:

A measuring cup with water and an empty spray bottle.
Add the water to the bottle first.

First, add water to the bottle to just below the shoulders. If you're using a four-ounce bottle like me, this will be slightly less than a half-cup of water. To maintain the proper ratios, this recipe is best used with either a four-ounce or six-ounce bottle. You don't need to measure the water exactly, simply fill the bottle to just under the shoulders, leaving room for the alcohol and the essential oils.

Note- if you would rather make this in a larger batch, such as in a 16-ounce glass spray bottle, simply use double the amount of alcohol, vodka, or vanilla extract and double the essential oils in your recipe. I do recommend that you always use amber or other colored glass bottles so that your essential oils remain protected from the light that can compromise their integrity.

A spray bottle and a tablespoon.
Add one tablespoon of rubbing alcohol.

Next, you will add the rubbing alcohol (or vodka or vanilla extract). For a four-ounce bottle like mine, you will only need to add one tablespoon.

While you could simply add essential oils and skip the dispersant altogether, I don't recommend doing so. The oils will not stay mixed in the water nearly as well on their own.

I personally use this on my own furniture all the time and have never noticed any spots left, et cetera from the alcohol. You will want to spot test on your own furniture, of course, to ensure that the alcohol or the dispersant you chose will not leave behind residue or any damage.

Essential oil being added to a spray bottle.
Add essential oils of your choice.

Lastly, you will add the essential oils. This can be any oil or combination of oils you would like. I love the combination of lavender * and peppermint. * I used twenty-five drops of lavender and fifteen drops of peppermint. Lavender and sweet orange * together are other excellent choices. You could also tailor your scents to the seasons or holidays if you prefer.

If you are new to essential oils, there is a great book that can help you learn more about them. It's one that I still reference years later. This * is the updated edition, but I'm sure it's every bit as great as my original copy. It helps you learn which oils are antiviral, antibacterial, et cetera. It can help guide you in choosing the best oils for your own spray.

If you can't decide which oils you want to try first, try a great essential oil starter pack like this one * from my favorite brand, Plant Therapy!

How to use your new spray:

See, didn't I promise it was super easy to make? Now you're ready to freshen your home the natural way. To use, simply spray several puffs into the air in every room of your home. Use cautiously on your surfaces until you have spot-tested and know they will not be damaged. I love spraying this on mattresses and pillows when I change our bedding. It leaves behind a gentle, clean scent.

Spray being applied to a throw pillow.
Freshen those throw pillows!

You can also use this on things that don't get washed often or at all, such as throw pillows and draperies or rugs. We have pets and I love to use it on our microfiber chairs when they start to smell a bit funky.

Don't be afraid to try many different combinations to suit your liking. You could even tailor it to your mood and time of day. Think of a soothing lavender spray for your bedroom at night, or invigorating citrus in the living room to start your day. The possibilities are endless!

I think a combination of peppermint and fir would be a divine holiday combination, don't you?

Words of caution:

As with anything in life, you want to ensure complete safety, especially in your home around your family. Some things to remember are:

  • Natural does not equate to safe- please keep essential oils well out of reach of children as they can be dangerous if consumed.

  • Pets can be sensitive to oils- pets, especially birds, are much more sensitive to essential oils. Cats can be as well. Please do your research and do not use these in close proximity to your pets.

  • Small children and babies can also be sensitive- some oils aren't safe to apply to children and babies, and some may not be the best to use in close contact with them either. As with pets, please do your research before using any essential oils on or around babies and children.

  • If you are bothered by something, stop using it- just because an essential oil is natural there is no guarantee it won't be an irritant to you. I haven't found one in more than six years using them that bothers me, but if you find one that irritates you, don't use it.


There you have it, an all-natural, chemical-free alternative to products like Febreze. With so many essential oils available, you can try countless combinations. As quick and easy as that is, who wouldn't want to give it a try? I hope you enjoy your new spray as much as I loved sharing it with you. Please let me know what essential oil combinations are your favorites in the comments!

* Affiliate link

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