Many of us want our houses to smell fantastic without the expense of compromising our health. But even natural air fresheners can impact the health of you or your loved ones, including pets! While there are some excellent natural air fresheners out there, there are alternatives for freshening your air without chemicals (even natural ones).
I’ve learned that there are far more air freshener alternatives out there than I expected, and most of them are DIY options! That means more money you can put towards more important things.
If you’re curious about ways to freshen your home’s air without the environmental or health cost, read on!
Defining “Air Freshener”
Before we dive in, it helps to define our terms. An air freshener is a spray, candle, wick, powder, crystal, or oil designed to mask or remove odors, or add fragrance to the air.
This typically includes things like scented candles, reed diffusers, soy melts, and masking sprays. Not all air fresheners are bad, necessarily, but if you’d rather err on the side of caution or you’re particularly sensitive, you might want to avoid them altogether.
Or perhaps you want to mix things up a bit. Light a candle now and then, but use air freshener alternatives a majority of the time to give your lungs a break.
If you’re looking for natural air fresheners, we have an entire guide dedicated to helping you pick one that will work well in your space without adding tons of unwanted, man-made chemicals. Otherwise, here are some alternatives to make your air smell fresh.
Air Freshener Alternatives
There are ways to fill your home with different fragrances without using air fresheners. That means no candles and no essential oils.
Our lungs work hard to bring oxygen into our bodies, but they weren’t designed to filter out tons of toxic chemicals on a day-to-day basis. Furthermore, having a nice-smelling home environment isn’t worth the potential damage that these chemicals can do to us, our children, and our animal companions over long periods of time.
Every room in every house is different, so it’s important to take some time trying out different natural air fresheners to determine which are best for each space. The same goes for scent combinations: if you try something and aren’t too keen on it then try a different combo next time.
Everyone will have their own preferences as well, so keep track of who likes which scents. This way, you can create custom blends for every room in the house.
Here are some options:
1. Grow Fragrant Flowering Plants
Just about all of us have walked into a room full of fresh flowers and noticed how beautiful they smell. Cut flowers like roses, carnations, peonies, and freesia add incredible fragrance as well as beauty to a room, but they also die quickly.
There’s a great solution to this, and that is to grow fragrant flowering plants in pots indoors. It’s a living, breathing air freshener alternative!
If you don’t have small children or animals, consider growing narcissus, hyacinths, or lily of the valley bulbs in water. These are toxic if ingested by cats, dogs, and other pets, but they’re extraordinarily fragrant.
You can also grow jasmine, gardenias, miniature roses, and other fragrant varieties in pots. Just ensure that they have adequate sunshine, and you’ll be able to enjoy their scent year-round.
2. Hang a Bundle of Eucalyptus in the Shower
Take a trip over to your local plant nursery or craft shop and get yourself a bundle of eucalyptus. Then wrap a lovely ribbon around the stems and hang it upsidedown from your showerhead.
The heat and moisture that fills your shower enclosure every time you wash will encourage scent release.
3. Use Your Favorite Organic Soaps
Just about all of us have a bunch of scented soaps hiding under the sink or in the linen cupboard. Some might have been given as gifts, while others may have been bought on impulse at a craft fair. Unlike commercial soaps, which are full of chemical scents, organic soaps are scented with essential oils, herbs, and the like.
Unwrap one of them and place it in a pretty dish. Then place that somewhere in the bathroom or on a bedroom dresser. You could also tuck one into an organza or cotton drawstring bag and hang it somewhere unobtrusive. Some soap scents are bright and citrusy, ideal for a common space, while others are softly herbal and ideal for bedrooms.
Over time, you might want to gently score the soap or scrape away a bit of the skin to release more fragrance, making these a long-lasting air freshener alternative.
4. Get Baking!
Real estate agents often recommend that if you’re trying to sell your house to fill the place with the scent of freshly-baked bread, cookies, or cinnamon rolls. These aromas give a sense of warmth and “homey-ness” to a space, and who doesn’t love the scent of glorious baked goods?
You can toss together a mix if you don’t want to go through the effort of baking from scratch, and then reap all the rewards. Not only will you have delicious snacks to munch on, but your home will smell incredible for a couple of days at least.
5. Coffee and Tea
If you want to create an enticing scent that doesn’t involve candles, essential oils, or sprays, just break out the coffee or tea. Hanging herbal tea sachets in your closet or in a small room can make an incredible impact on the smell in the area.
The same goes for placing a bowl full of coffee beans out in a small room. Bonus points if you lightly bruise them before putting them out. The scent is invigorating and coffee beans are a classic air freshener alternative in places where floral scents would overpower food or wine.
6. Open the Windows
Most of us keep our windows shut tight so that the air conditioner or heater can regulate the temperatures in our house, but if it’s a nice day, just open your windows! It will freshen your air right up. Even city dwellers can benefit from some fresh air.
If you can, consider planting lilacs or roses outside your windows. Then you’re sure to have a blast of fragrance when the plants are in bloom.
7. Use Evergreen Boughs
Pine and spruce boughs aren’t just for the holidays. They also make excellent air freshener alternatives.
You can make wreaths, put branches in a vase in water, or use them as accents around decor. The scent will transform your home into a forest wonderland. If the branch is weeping, you might want to seal or tape up the end so you don’t get sap on your furniture.