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5 Natural & Homemade Air Fresheners

Written by Dr. Group, DC Founder
A woman potting a plant.

Many of us enjoy fresh and pleasant scents at home but have concerns about using certain commercially available “air fresheners.” Some of these products are known to contain toxins such as phthalates and VOCs like benzene and formaldehyde [1], not what most of us have in mind when we think of “fresh air.”

Covering up odors with stronger smelling chemicals is a toxic cycle and those chemicals eventually get into our ecosystems.

Bad air quality at home can lead to many health issues. Some very common ones include sinus infections, allergies, and general immune system concerns. Keeping the air at home clean is important and making all-natural and toxin-free air fresheners is a fantastic approach. It’s easy to do, can save some money, and doesn’t add pollution to the air in your home!

Below are several suggestions for natural ways to fresh the air in your home.

  • Houseplants. Indoor plants suck up the bad odors and emit good ones. Aromatic herbs such as oregano, mint, and sage are among those most often used. Having fresh herbs to use in your cuisine is an added bonus.
  • Essential oils. Add 12 to 15 drops of pure essential oil to 1/2 cup of white vinegar and 1 1/2 cups of water. Put in a spray bottle (ideally a glass one) and spray when needed. An aromatherapy diffuser will also work (no vinegar needed). Some popular essential oils include bergamot, vanilla, ylang-ylang, clove, geranium, tea tree, lemon, peppermint, cedarwood, and lavender. Be wary of oils that contain chemical additives.
  • Coffee. Besides being great to wake up to, coffee reduces mustiness in the air. Place a bowl of fresh grounds in areas of your home where you notice odor stagnation. You can even wrap grounds in a coffee filter and hang in musty closets.
  • Open the windows. This may not be appropriate for all environments or health conditions but this simple method is one of the best ways to freshen the air. Opening the windows brings in the natural scents of the outdoor environment, including its plants and flowers.
  • Natural hot potpourri. Try this on the stove: Add 1/2 cup water to a small pan. Add about 1/2 cup of sliced lemon or oranges. Add six cinnamon sticks, a few cloves and maybe even a cardamom pod or two. Bring to boil and let simmer. The aroma is warm, relaxing, and great to use year-round.

A step up in efforts to keep the air in your home fresh and odor-free is to buy a high-quality air purification system. I recommend one that will rid of chemicals and odors, not just mask them.

How do you clean up the air in your home? Please share your thoughts!

References (1)
  1. Natural Resources Defense Council. Protect your family from the hidden hazards in air freshners (PDF). Health Facts. 2007 September.

†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.


A bottle of Berberine