Easy Gift Idea: Homemade Air Freshener (and the dangers of regular air fresheners)

DIY Room Spray

I live in a house with three boys and a dog.

Let’s just say there are times when I could use some air freshener.

I discovered this recipe through some local “oily” friends and decided to give it a shot.  What a great, easy, useful gift to add to my Christmas baskets!

The recipe is below, although you could use any number of essential oil combinations.  The possibilities are endless!

[The blue bottle pictured to the left was from one of my first batches of Room Spray.  Since then, I’ve had new, waterproof labels made especially for this scent combination.  I’m loving the new labels!  Find out more about them below…]

A few things to consider before we don our Martha Stewart hats….


**”Air fresheners” include sprays, plug-ins, gels, candles, etc.**

  • Febreeze productsVarious harmful substances in air fresheners include allergens, potential carcinogens such as acetaldehyde or styrene, dangerous substances such as toluene and chlorbenzene, glycol ethers, phthalates and artificial musk.
  • Paradichchlorobenzene (a white, solid crystal) has been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals, and phenol (carbolic acid) is flammable, corrosive and very toxic.
  • Air fresheners do not “purify” the surrounding air, nor do they add natural fragrances. In fact, they coat the nasal passages with an oil film (such as methoxychlor – a pesticide that accumulates in fat cells) or by releasing a nerve deadening agent, to drown out whatever smells may be deemed offensive.
  • High exposures to certain kinds of phthalates can cause cancer, developmental and sex-hormone abnormalities (including decreased testosterone and sperm levels and malformed sex organs) in infants, and can affect fertility.
  • Despite the [Air Freshener] industry’s size, it is minimally regulated, not having to meet any standards specific to their products. Air fresheners are not tested for a variety of chemicals, including phthalates, because the government does not require it.
  •  These poisons can accumulate over a period of years, so the true causes, and the true health effects are rarely discovered.  The victims might suffer from a strange form of cancer, or they might have some new-age “disease” like “Chronic Fatigue Syndrome”, and of course, there is the ever-more-popular “genetic disorders”…
I could go on and on, but you get the idea.  If you’re interested in the facts and research, see the articles listed at the end of the post.  Or google “harmful effects of air fresheners”–there’s a ton of info out there!


doTerra Oil Singles

[E]ssential oils make much more sense as air fresheners than commercial products, as they cleanse the air by altering the structure of the molecules creating smells, rather than masking the unwanted smells.  When we are looking for alternatives to toxic products in our homes and in our lives, essential oils are a convenient, practical and pleasant solution.   [Worwood]         

Homemade Air Freshener Recipe

(Are you ready for this?)

Ingredients & Supplies

  • Essential Oils: Lavender, Peppermint, Eucalyptus (See below for additional suggestions)
  • Water
  • Colored bottles
  • Spray tops
  • Cute labels (optional)


  • Add 2 drops of each oil to clean bottles.
  • Fill bottles with water.
  • Insert spray tops.
  • Affix labels.
Room Spray with new labels

Update: Check out these new waterproof labels!

Planning to use this in the bathroom?

Did you know that spraying this delightful scent directly into the toilet bowl–before adding anything stinky to said bowl–is a powerful way to combat unpleasant aromas?  The oils camp out on the surface of the water, acting as an “odor barrier.”   Try it and see smell the difference!   :-)


Notes & Where to Find Supplies


  • You can use any size bottle.  I recommend 2-oz or 4-oz glass bottles.
  • The glass should be colored, in order to protect the essential oils from light.  Typical colors are amber and cobalt blue. I prefer amber because it’s more natural-looking, but the blue is pretty, too.  Especially if it matches your (or your recipient’s) decor.
  • I buy my spray tops from AromaTools, too.  I think the black tops look more sophisticated (because we are super-sophisticated here at the Yankee Homestead), but they also come in white.
  • Note: If you buy a bottle with a spray top, you obviously would not need an additional spray top. I buy spray tops for my stevia bottles.


  • Room Spray

    My round white labels came from AromaTools.  I like them because they’re water-resistant.  They come in a sheet of 30, and can be used with a printer.  **Unfortunately, I never have good success with printing labels, so I generally hand-write them.  Which looks much less professional than a nicely-printed label, but more professional than a poorly-printed label.  (It must be operator-error, because it’s happened with two completely different printers now, as well as with a variety of label sizes.  Sigh).

  • Obviously, you can give it any name you like.  Air Freshener, Room Spray, Eau de toilette, etc.  There is another name out there, which I am legally unauthorized to use here (seriously–ask me how I know this) bearing the initials of P.P.  It’s a fun one, and as long as you don’t blog about it and post pictures of it online, you should be safe. :-)

Updates: Custom Labels 

  • Update #1: In preparation for several make-n-take classes hosted by yours truly, I had these awesome waterproof labels made by Marcy from The Lollipop Label Shop on etsy.  I love them!  I paid $9.95 + shipping (about $1) for 35 labels, making them about $.35 each.  See a close up shot of the new labels below.
  • UPDATE #2:  Now you can buy these very labels from the Lollipop shop here: Yankee Homestead Room Spray Labels!  Buy them exactly as pictured, or customize them to suit your scent and color preferences.

Room Spray Label from The Lollipop Shop

Cost Analysis

2-oz. amber glass bottles with spray tops: about $1
doTerra Eucalyptus oil: $.06 per drop
doTerra Lavender oil: $.08 per drop
doTerra Peppermint oil: $.08 per drop
Round, water-resistant labels: about $.05 each
OR Custom dishwasher safe labels: about $.35 each
Total cost, per bottle: about $1.30 OR $1.65
(And if you use recycled bottles, the cost is only $.30 per bottle)!!

Additional Scent Ideas

You really can’t go wrong here.  Use whatever you like!  These are a few of my favorite ideas…

  • doTerra’s Citrus Bliss:  A blend of wild orange, lemon, grapefruit, mandarin, bergamot, tangerine, and clementine with just a hint of vanilla.

  • doTerra’s Purify:  Designed to eliminate odors and other contaminants naturally, without toxic additives. Its refreshing aroma quickly eradicates unpleasant odors and purifies the air and environment with the essential oils of lemon, lime, pine, citronella, melaleuca and cilantro.  **I like this one for the kitchen trashcan.  In fact, I call my Purify Spray “Homemade Lysol”.  Check it out here: Homemade Lysol Spray.
  • doTerra’s Holiday Joy:  (Limited-time only).  This festive blend of wild orange, nutmeg, pine needle, cassia, cinnamon bark, and vanilla helps all who enter your home embrace the holiday spirit.  Check out more ideas for holiday scents here: How to Give Your House that Holiday Smell–the easy, non-toxic way. 

Do you love essential oils?  Follow my Pinterest board All Things Essential for lots of great recipes, tips, information and research.


book of essential oils and aromatherapy

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 photo credit

What’s your favorite Room Spray scent?

Kathleen Henderson is the Yankee behind the Homestead, where she keeps up with Mr. Native Texan, three busy boys, a large dog, an assortment of chickens and an organic garden on three beautiful acres in Northern Virginia. Yankee Homestead is where she organizes her tips, tricks and resources for a healthy life. Favorite topics include real food recipes, gluten-free living, essential oils and home remedies, all things natural and nontoxic, plus mommy musings and homeschooling resources. Find out more on the About page

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I am not a doctor and the statements on this blog have not been evaluated by the FDA. Products mentioned here are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please do not ask me for medical advice.
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8 thoughts on “Easy Gift Idea: Homemade Air Freshener (and the dangers of regular air fresheners)

  1. Deirdre

    Great idea and instructions on ‘how to’ for the poo pourri. I will be trying this!
    Grateful, DD

    P.S. Have you tried Cinnamon Oil for cooking and baking for the health benefits and if so, can you suggest where I can find a good quality oil? Thanxxxx.

    1. Yankee HomesteadYankee Homestead Post author

      DD–Unfortunately I have nothing to report on Cinnamon Oil…if I come across any resources, I will let you know!

  2. Deirdre

    An unexpected and Delightful Gift Box arrived today! To our amazement a Wonderful Collection of ‘Natural Homemade’ gifts was found including an original work of art by “Malachi Matisse”. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE IT!! Already used the Herbamare…Yummy…resutling in using the PooPourri…grateful for fresh and clean air…tonight bathing in Epsom Salts with doTERRA Lavender Oil. Nick wants to try the brown sugar vanilla scrub. :)Thank you for the specialty made items…We are enjoying immensely!XOXO Happy Holidays to ALL with Love. The Paskys~

  3. Brittany S.

    What company do you buy your essential oils from? I’m interested in getting a little “starter” kit with a variety of oils. When I’ve looked online, they seem to be a little pricey which is okay if the product is good…I just don’t know which product is good! Since it’s so easy to make fake versions of these scents, I’m just concerned I’ll get suckered.

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