For several years I’ve been making natural air freshener using essential oils and water. The aerosol and pump spray air fresheners sold commercially are expensive, wasteful of metals and plastics unless people recycle the empty containers, and are full of strange chemicals that become aerosolized so we breathe them. Some propellants even use hydrocarbons that give me asthma attacks.
My natural air fresheners cost only pennies per bottle and are very effective. There is a huge selection of essential oils available so I can create an endless variety of scents. I prefer to use pure essential oil, distilled from plants. Essential oils concentrate the aromatic essences of flowers, bark, leaves, fruit peels, etc, that contain the plants’ familiar fragrances. Essential oils are often cut by blending with a carrier oil for many purposes such as candle or soap making. A blend of essential and carrier oil is called a fragrance oil. For my air freshener, I use only essential oil.
Making essential oil air freshener is a simple process. I purchased a few super fine spray mist bottles like people use in making scrapbooks. These are little pump sprayers that create a mist as fine as a pressurized aerosol spray. The bottles I have hold 4 oz. They are the perfect size to fit in the hand for easy pumping. I first pour in a total of 1/8 to 1/4 oz of essential oil. This is where I get creative with different combinations of oils, if I want. For this Christmas I’m doing straight cinnamon. Last year I made one with frankincense and myrrh and another with orange and nutmeg. Some of my favorite combinations are florals with woods like sandalwood ylang ylang, or herbs and woods such as cedarwood sage, flavors such as vanilla hazelnut and my husband’s favorites that involve burberry or cinnabar.
After the essential oil mix is in the bottle, I add 2 oz of warm water. This leaves room in the bottle for mixing and the warmth helps distribute the oil. Next is the most important step. Shake and shake some more until the oil droplets are emulsified and the mixture has turned white (or sometimes pale yellow depending on the color of the oils.) Then I add more water to fill the bottle. After a few spritzes to check the potency, the air freshener is ready. The bottle is always shaken well before each use to evenly distribute the oils. Now, when I breathe in the freshener, I am only inhaling minute particles of natural plant oils and no industrial chemicals.
I’ve found that certain oils are so thick they will clog the sprayer head if used alone. Citrus oils like orange and lemon have to be combined with another oil or two so they don’t gum up the works. It is a good idea to clean the sprayer head occasionally and also give a thorough rinse to the bottle and sprayer when changing scents.