Green fragrances -- oil diffuser

Natural home fragrances

The number of home fragrance products available today is staggering. There are scented candles, potpourri, scented sprays, oil diffusers, incense and plug-in room deodorizers. But before shelling out for products that contain a host of potentially harmful toxins and chemicals, consider making your own air fresheners. A few drops of highly-concentrated essential oils can add a lovely dose of natural fragrance to your home.

Making your own air fresheners using essential oils is a money-saving way to add pleasant, fresh scents to your home while reducing your exposure to unwanted chemicals. Plus, you can completely tailor the scents to your preferences or your needs. If you haven't used essential oils before, don't be afraid to jump in.

Essential oils are a highly-concentrated and fragrant liquid extracted from plants and can provide a range of theraputic and health benefits. Look for essential oils at health and natural foods stores or online. Don't let the price tag scare you off — just a few drops of essential oil goes a very long way — and those tiny bottles will most likely end up lasting you years.

Here are some common essential oils and their benefits:

  • Lavender: improves sleep quality and calms the nervous system
  • Basil: helps relieve headaches
  • Rosemary: stimulates the mind and improves memory
  • Clary sage: calms the nervous system
  • Clove oil: helps relieve nasal congestion and also contains aphrodisiac qualities
  • Lemon: acts as a natural antidepressant and calms anxiety
  • Orange: refreshes and relaxes

Homemade oil diffusers

Oil diffusers are a great way to infuse your home with a continuous and subtle scent, while avoiding the potential danger of a flame from a candle. The cost of many these packaged diffusers is unfortunately not as pleasant, however, and they often contain unnatural ingredients that we don't necessarily want diffused around the house along with the scent.

To skip the unwanted ingredients and the expense, try making your own oil diffuser using an essential oil of your choosing. Or, experiment with combining oils for a highly-personalized scent — just be sure to test out the combination by adding a drop or two of each of the oils to a cotton ball to make sure the blend is appealing to you.

You will need:

  • A small, clean jar. A container with a wide base and a small opening works best, as they discourage evaporation.
  • Reeds. A lot of health stores and candle shops carry reeds. They are also available for purchase online.
  • Mineral oil. Available in grocery and drug stores. Mineral oil is less viscous than vegetable oil and is better at carrying the scent up the reeds.
  • Vodka. Plain, unflavored, nondiluted vodka. The vodka helps thin out the oil so that it will move more easily up the reeds.
  • Essential oil(s). A few suggested oil combinations are lavender and lemon, orange and cinnamon, and basil and peppermint.

How to assemble your oil diffuser:

  1. Pour one-quarter cup mineral oil and two tablespoons vodka into a measuring cup and stir well to combine the liquids.
  2. Add in one and one-half tablespoons of essential oil (the ratio should be about one part essential oil to four parts mineral oil and vodka).
  3. Stir well and pour the oil mixture into your container. Insert as many reeds as will fit into the opening.
  4. Flip the reeds every few days to optimize the scent diffusion.

Homemade air freshening spray

Green fragrances

When your home needs a instant refresh, nothing is quicker and easier than a spritz of air freshener. Try making a couple of your own personalized sprays  — I use a combination of lemon and basil oils for the spray used in the living areas of the home and lavender for the bedroom.

You will need:

  • A clean, empty spray bottle
  • Water
  • Vodka (unflavored and nondiluted)
  • Essential oil

How to make your air freshening spray:

  1. Pour one cup of water into a clean, reusable spray bottle.
  2. Add in two tablespoons of vodka and about 20 drops of essential oils (keep in mind that some essential oils are stronger than others, so start off conservatively when adding the oil).
  3. Screw on the top and shake well to combine the mixture.

Other ways to use essential oils around the home

  • In rice: Fill a small decorative jar or dish with plain white rice and add in a few drops of oil. Place the jar in whatever room you wish to fill with the fragrance. I use peppermint or lemon for the bathroom and lavender for the bedroom.
  • Pillows: Apply a few drops of lavender, or another calming essential oil, onto a paper tissue. Place the tissue inside your pillow case to help calm your senses as you drift off.
  • Clothes freshener: Dab cotton balls with essential oils and place in the corners of your drawers and closets. This tip not only helps with keeping clothes smelling fresh, but it also helps ward off moths!

More green living tips

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Tags: essential oils home fragrance

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Comments on "Homemade essential oil air fresheners"

Sarah March 31, 2014 | 7:11 AM

Sweet almond oil can be used, or fractionated coconut oil. You will NOT find good essential oils at any store, unless they are a DoTerra or Young Living distributor. Buying high-grade essential oils is the only way to go, otherwise there is no benefit.

WendellCartwright February 19, 2014 | 6:53 PM

Make use of essential oil! Its hair treatments are highly effective, especially in the case of lice and dandruff. The oil has a cooling effect on the head, which in turn improves blood circulation in the scalp.

Jane S. February 04, 2014 | 12:40 PM

I too am puzzled at the suggestion of mineral oil since it is a petroleum product. Is there another oil that can be used for plug-ins?

Charisma December 21, 2013 | 3:44 PM

You CAN NOT buy essential oils at the dollar store or Walmart!!!! Those are fragrant oils. So not the same thing. There is a good brand called NOW and you can buy them at GNC for about $6-$13 each. They also carry some of the carrier oils. I hope this helps some of you.

Rebecca November 23, 2013 | 11:17 AM

what's an alternative for vodka to thin out the oil?

Gail November 06, 2013 | 11:33 AM

I see you use lemon and basil together. I find basil very strong, but love the scent combo. What ratio of these two oils do you use?

Yony October 20, 2013 | 1:55 AM

I tried this tutorial and IT DIDN'T WORK!!! no matter how much I stirred/swirled or shaked the mixture, it still wouldn't emulsify and after a while it went back and seperate into 2 layers!!!

Angie October 15, 2013 | 5:36 AM

My goal is to refill my bath & body plug in fresheners. Thoughts on ratios? I read 1/2 essential oil and 1/2 water. Any ideas for scents? GNC sells essential oils for $7-$10, btw. It may not be $3, but it's a store you can find most anywhere.

S, W, Boswell September 22, 2013 | 6:49 PM

I am using small slow cookers, filling them with hot water,and set them on low cooking. about a tablspoon of baking soda and about one tablespoon of essential oil to 48 ozs of water. I have Cedarwood Himilayan Oil, Oil of Camphor, Lavendar, and Lemon Grass. These are all Pharmaceutical grade oils from a firm in India. I have just started this project and can use some advice on how much oil should be used to get good room fragrance.

Martin September 20, 2013 | 4:11 PM

The article says that the vodka helps the mixture wick more easily through the reed material. What role does vodka play play if you just want to spray it?

Elle April 23, 2013 | 8:31 PM

There is. HUGE difference between essential oils and fragrance oils. You will not find essential oils at Walmart and rarely for $3./bottle. You get what you pay for. Fragrance oils are cheap, synthetic and make many people sick. Many people are allergic to them as well. Essential oils are the real deal and have therapeutic, healing qualities. There are different grades of essential oils. Terra Flora out of California offer high grade good oils. Young Living oils are top quality as well.

Jenn S. April 16, 2013 | 11:41 AM

I made my own "essential oil" I filled a cleaned spaghetti sauce jar witth sheweet almond oil and grated the zest of a whole orange and put in the jar and put the lid on. Let sit for a couple of days shaking every now and then. Then strain out the zest or leave in for stronger scent. Cant wait to try to make other scents.

Sandee April 13, 2013 | 9:39 PM

You can get all kinds of 100% essential oils at amazon. They are not $3 though. Usually around $5-$8. "Now" is a good brand that I use alot in my laundry and dishwashing detergents and air fresheners.

Melissa B March 30, 2013 | 8:32 AM

Loved your article! Was curious whether you have tried oils other than mineral oil (a petroleum product) that might work with the diffuser reeds. I know the article states that vegetable oils are too viscious but wonder which types you've tried since it might be worth running an experiment to find a natural oil that might work and avoid the petroleum products.

angela March 27, 2013 | 10:50 AM

I love the oils and wax been a big fan for 6 months now, everyone that walks in smells cinnamon or apples they ask what im relaxing for me to i have them all goin now, i love lavendar to is also relaxing

KENNY DAVID March 10, 2013 | 9:17 AM


Jo February 02, 2013 | 4:07 PM

I think there is a difference between fragrance oils and essential oils....Walmart carries fragrance oils....

Shernita January 14, 2013 | 11:08 PM

I actually love to make the air fresher spray works well on my furniture also provides a nice mist of scent like febreeze.. I also boil a pot on the stove with water and a few drops of oils(Cedarwood & lavender) and it works great. Hope this helps:)

jen December 19, 2012 | 8:01 AM

You can get essential oils @ just about and dollar tree and has a HUGE selection you will find them w/the candles and scented wax..

dar November 16, 2012 | 6:42 AM

why do people always say ''buy on line'' but never reference where??? l have yet to find ''oils'' for $3 a bottle :/

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