I really, really, really like my home to smell good. By this I mean, not like last night's cooking, tomorrow's laundry, or today's "uh oh the neighbor's out barbecuing again,” but like squeaky clean, freshly scented, warm cookies and hot tea goodness. Over the years I've gathered quite a storehouse of tips to help me freshen up and deodorize the air in my house naturally. If you like a fresh, clean home scent as much as I do, I hope these tips will help you too!

The Costs of Commercial Air Fresheners

Commercial air fresheners (those cans, bottles, diffusers, and sheets made up of unpronounceable ingredients and accompanied by scary warning labels) come with their own price tags. When you compare in-store prices with the costs you pay for the natural freshening options listed in this post, you will quickly see how you save in both health and funds when you opt for the all-natural approach.

Here’s the typical price you’ll pay for different types of commercial air fresheners (all prices from Walmart):

  • Febreeze fabric and/or pet odor eliminator, 27 fl oz: $4.97
  • Febreeze car clips, 2 ct: $4.97
  • Air Wick auto-spray home kit: $4.88
  • Citrus Magic (commercial natural spray), 3.5 oz: $5.97
  • Bright Air scented oil, 2.5 fl oz, $5.22

1. Baking soda (to freshen carpets, surfaces, floors, drains)

  • What to do: Sprinkle it over any area that smells unpleasant, wait 15 minutes, then vacuum or sweep up. Mix it with water into a paste and pour down drains and disposals. Use it as a damp scrubbing agent on surfaces and floors.
  • Cost to you: $1.24 for a 2-pound box (Arm & Hammer)

2. Coffee grounds (refrigerator odors)

  • What to do: Place a small dish full of used (brewed) coffee grounds in the fridge and change weekly. The grounds will absorb fridge odors even better than baking soda.
  • Cost to you: $3.88 for a 10 oz can (Café Bustelo)

3. Citrus (to disperse strong odors)

  • What to do: Cut up citrus rind and grind up in the disposal. Boil water with citrus rinds and leave the pan uncovered on the stove. Microwave citrus juice with rind and leave the bowl in the microwave or place wherever the odor is.
  • Cost to you: 3 for $1 (small lemons)

4. White vinegar (cooking odors)

  • What to do: Place a dish of white vinegar near the stove and oven to absorb strong odors such as onion, garlic, fish.
  • Cost to you: $2.38 for 1 gallon (Great Value)

5. Vanilla extract

  • What to do: Place a few tablespoons of extract in a shallow dish and microwave for 60 seconds. Leave it in overnight and your microwave will smell freshly baked in the morning.
  • Cost to you: $1.97 for 2 oz (Clear)

6. Essential oils (for car, carpet, upholstery, athletic gear)

  • What to do: Your favorite essential oil can be a great odor eater. Tea tree and citrus oil are particular favorites, but you can use any oil from peppermint to lavender—just mix with water and spritz into shoes, over gear (like yoga mats), onto upholstery or carpeting or into your car.
  • Cost to you: $4.45 – $5.70 for .5 oz (Crafty Bubbles)

3 All Natural Air Freshener Recipes

These easy-peasy all natural freshening and deodorizing recipes take just seconds to make, cost next to nothing, and last a long time.

1. Scented baking soda

  • What you need: Mason jar, lid with air holes, baking soda, essential oil and/or herbs
  • What to do: Fill the mason jar about one-third with the baking soda. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil and shake. Top off with a pinch of your favorite herbs if desired. Put on the lid and place in any areas where odors linger.

2. Scented white vinegar

  • What you need: White vinegar, water, essential oil
  • What to do: Combine one part white vinegar with three parts water. Add in 15 drops of your favorite essential oil. You can use a diffuser, or spritz from a spray bottle.

3. Salty lemon or orange

  • What you need: One fresh lemon or orange, salt, small bowl
  • What to do: Slice the lemon or orange in half, scoop out the pulp, and fill the rind with salt. Place in a dish anywhere odors occur.