Image: Agnes Kantaruk /

Make Your Home Smell Awesome — 10 DIY Alternatives to Air Fresheners

by Andra Hopulele
4 min. read

Want to make your home smell awesome, but can’t stand the artificial odors from commercial air fresheners? Fortunately, there are plenty of DIY options you can choose instead, that are not only safer and less toxic, but far more enjoyable to make, and give your home a truly personalized smell. Here are our top 10!


A potpourri bowl not only looks great, but is also a very easy DIY project. It can be made from a variety of aromatic ingredients, such as citrus slices, flowers, and even spices like cinnamon and cloves. The fastest way to make a potpourri mix is in the oven.

Simply pick the flowers you want (roses, marigolds and chamomile are the best picks) and place them on parchment paper in an oven preheated to 275°F for 10 minutes. For lemons and oranges, the slices will need to be in for up to 2 hours, depending on their thickness. If you want to make the scents last longer, you can also mix in some essential oils with water and spray them on before putting your mix in the oven.

Pomander Balls

Pomander balls have been used since medieval times to remove unpleasant smells, and they’re also surprisingly easy to make. All you need is oranges with a firm skin, which you should stud with cloves in any pattern you fancy. For an extra kick of fragrance, you can also roll them in a mix of spices, such as cinnamon, ground nutmeg, and allspice.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is an excellent deodorizer, and it can be used either on its own, or in combination with essential oils or dried flowers, such as rose or lavender. If you want to use it on its own, simply placing a small, open jar of baking soda in the fridge, cupboards, or even the bathroom can dispel those unpleasant smells. Mixing it with oils will create a more personalized smell for your home.

Simmer Pots

A very simple way to make your home smell better is simmering citrus, such as lemons and limes, with various herbs, like mint or rosemary. Their aromatic oils will spread in your home through the steam as the pot simmers, and you can also add a teaspoon of honey in the resulting liquid and enjoy it as a cup of tea.

Scented Wood

Unpolished and untreated wood balls or small blocks of wood can easily absorb scents, and they can be used as a great way to make your home smell better. All you need to do is place them in a plastic bag, drizzle a bit of fragrance oils on top, let them soak, then simply hang them in a textile bag, or mix them in with potpourri.

Homemade Air Freshener

If you need to remove smells with a couple of quick puffs, then a homemade air freshener is a cheaper and healthier alternative to the aerosol based commercial ones. You will need a spray bottle, such as the ones used to mist plants, which you can fill with a mix of water, vodka, and the essential oils of your choice. Vodka is odorless, and it will help combine the water and oils, but if you don’t have any to hand, rubbing alcohol or even vanilla extract can be used instead. Just make sure to avoid spraying the mix too close to fabrics, as it might leave a stain.

Homemade Scented Candles

Although you can easily buy scented candles from any home decor shop, making them at home is so much more rewarding. Also, you can get creative and make your own personalized home smell out of your favorite essential oils. All you need to make scented candles at home is wax (paraffin or beeswax), wicks, a container to melt the wax in and a pot for the finished candle, and a few drops of essential or fragrance oils.

Oil Reed Diffuser

Reed diffusers are stylish, easy to make, and also long-lasting, given the fact that you can always top them up as they evaporate. To make one, you’ll need a glass or ceramic jar, some bamboo skewers, your pick of essential oils, and a base of either safflower, almond, coconut, or even grapeseed oil.

Fragrant Houseplants

Houseplants have numerous benefits, and it goes without saying that they can also be used to make your home smell amazing. There’s plenty of choices to pick from: white jasmine, scented geraniums, gardenias, Hoya, lavender, and even indoor citrus trees.

Start Baking

Nothing makes your home smell as cozy as baking bread or, if you have a bit of a sweet tooth, cakes and cookies of all shapes and sizes. It’s the ultimate DIY way of making your home smell awesome, and it’s also a great way to spend your time while in quarantine. And the best part? You’ll have a delicious treat to reward yourself with afterwards.


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