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.
Natural home fragrances
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:
- Pour one-quarter cup mineral oil and two tablespoons vodka into a measuring cup and stir well to combine the liquids.
- 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).
- Stir well and pour the oil mixture into your container. Insert as many reeds as will fit into the opening.
- Flip the reeds every few days to optimize the scent diffusion.
Homemade air freshening spray
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
- Vodka (unflavored and nondiluted)
- Essential oil
How to make your air freshening spray:
- Pour one cup of water into a clean, reusable spray bottle.
- 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).
- 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!