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Making your own essential oil car freshener is a great way to get the benefits of aromatherapy on the go.
Most of us spend a lot of time in our cars, whether it is driving to and from work, the gym, or the grocery store or dropping and picking up the kids from their various after-school activities.
A customized homemade essential oil car freshener using your favorite scents will make those long drives so much more pleasant.
When it comes to making your own car air freshener, the possibilities are endless.
You can choose any of the DIY ideas below to suit your personal style – all are equally effective.
You’re not limited to just one design. Go all out and try different styles to suit your mood or just to give your car a new look.
Or use these ideas to spark your own creativity and create your own versions.
You can customize your homemade car air freshener even more by changing the scent. Choose from a single essential oil or make your own blends.
I’ve included a few recipes below.
1. Essential Oil Car Freshener Spray
I’ve included this at the top of the list because of its multipurpose nature. An essential oil car freshener spray is easy to make and is very versatile.
You can make several sprays with different scents and spritz the contents directly into the car to freshen up the space. (Scroll down for scent options)
Or you can use it to re-scent any of the homemade essential oil car fresheners you choose to make from the ideas below.
How to make an essential oil car freshener spray:
Fill a 2-4 ox glass spray bottle halfway with distilled water.
Add 2 tablespoons witch hazel or vodka if you want the scent to last longer (optional).
Add 10-20 drops of your favorite essential oil or essential oil blend (Scroll down to see best essential oils to use in a car)
Shake the bottle well to mix the ingredients and spritz the contents in your car. Store the bottle in a cool place away from direct sunlight.
If you make multiple sprays with different scents, make sure to label the bottle for easy identification.
2. Hanging Wooden Ornaments
Wooden ornaments make excellent homemade essential oil diffusers.
Look for unpolished wooden ornaments in different shapes. Think stars, hearts, your favorite musical instrument, or candy canes and Christmas trees during the Holidays.
Unpolished wood absorbs the scent and releases it slowly and steadily while polished wood won’t absorb the scent.
Paint or embellish the ornaments or leave them as is. Drill a hole in the top, pass a thick decorative cord through the hole to create a loop, and hang it from the rearview mirror or any other hook in the car.
Before driving off, spritz a little essential oil spray onto the ornament. The wood will absorb the scents and release them slowly over a period of time.
3. Scented Baking Soda Beads or Discs
Make your own scented beads using baking soda, essential oils, and food coloring. Mix a cup of baking soda with enough water to form a paste. Add a few drops of food coloring optional.
Stir until the baking soda is evenly coated, and then shape the mixture into small beads.
Or spoon the mixture into silicone molds or muffin tins.
Let the beads/discs dry overnight. Place the beads/discs in a small mesh bag or jar and keep it in your car.
Before driving off, remove one or more beads or discs from the container, spritz some essential oil on, and place them in your car’s cup holders or under the seats.
Another option – make holes for hanging before the beads and discs are completely dry. Pass a cord through the holes and you have some colorful and decorative essential oil car fresheners.
4. Hanging Felt Shapes
Cut the different colored felt into fun shapes like hearts, stars, flowers, ladybugs, butterflies…
During the holidays, cut and decorate green felt Christmas trees, red and white stockings or candy cane, brown gingerbread men or a fun Santa Claus.
Decorate the shapes with fabric markers, paint, and other embellishments.
Make a hole at one end, pass a thick decorative cord through the hole to create a loop, and hang it from the rearview mirror in your car.
Spritz some essential oil onto the felt shapes before starting the vehicle and at any time when the scent needs to be replenished. You will need to use enough to let it soak through the felt.
5. Air-Dry Clay Discs
To make hanging clay discs, use a cookie cutter to cut shapes out of air-dry clay or make your own decorative shapes.
Thread a piece of ribbon or twine through the hole in the felt or clay, and hang it from your rearview mirror.
Spritz the essential oil spray as and when needed.
6. Macramé Tassel
All you need for this Macramé cord. Buy a really thick cord. These tend to absorb and hold the essential oils longer.
Cut a length of macramé cord to your desired length. This will depend on how big you want your tassel to be and how long you want it to hang.
Fold the cord in half and create a loop at the top. This will be the hanger for your air freshener.
Knot the cord below the loop to create the top of the tassel.
Continue to knot the cord until you have the desired length for your tassel. Experiment with different knot patterns to create a unique look.
Once you’ve reached the bottom, add a wooden or clay bead if you’d like.
Add 5-10 drops of your favorite essential oils or sprits some spray on the tassel.
Hang the tassel from your car’s rearview mirror and enjoy the aroma of your homemade car air freshener.
If you crochet or knit, make motifs with thick twine or some other absorbent thread and use these as essential oil car fresheners.
7. Makeup Remover Cotton Pads
This is an easy and inexpensive way to create your own car air freshener using only makeup remover cotton pads.
Put two makeup remover cotton pads in a shallow, round, glass jar with a lid. Add a few drops of essential oil on top of the cotton pads.
Place another cotton pad or two on top of the essential oils. Add a few more drops of essential oil.
Repeat the process until you’ve got a medium stack of cotton pads, making sure to add essential oils between every two-three layers.
Close the lid of the container and let the cotton pads absorb the essential oils for a few hours.
Once the cotton pads have absorbed the essential oils, use a toothpick or small skewer to poke a few holes in the top cotton pad to allow the scent to be released.
Place the container in your car, and the scent of the essential oils will be released as the air moves through the holes in the top cotton pad.
And that’s it!
8. Felt Wool Balls
Put a few felt wool balls in a glass jar.
Add a few drops of essential oil on top of the felt wool balls.
Place another felt wool ball or two on top of the essential oils. Add a few more drops of essential oil.
Repeat the process until you’ve used up all of your felt wool balls, making sure to add essential oils between each layer.
Close the lid of the container and let the felt wool balls absorb the essential oils for a few hours. Then take them out of the container and let them dry for a few minutes.
String a few wool balls together to create a hanging car freshener.
Use a toothpick or small skewer to poke a few holes in the felt wool balls to allow the scent to be released.
And there you have it! A simple way to create a colorful and eco-friendly essential oil car freshener using felt wool balls.
9. Clothes Pin Essential Oil Car Freshener
Another brilliantly simple idea!
To make a quick and easy air freshener for your car, use one or more small wooden unpolished clothes pins.
Clip the clothes pin onto the air vent in your car. Add 5-10 drops of your favorite essential oil to the clothes pin or spritz it with your homemade essential oil spray.
Whether your air is on or off, hot or cold, the scent from the essential oils will be released and will freshen up the air in your car.
Another option is to stick a ball of cotton in between the clothespin and put the essential oil on the cotton ball.
10. Gel Air Freshener
Create a gel air freshener by mixing 1 cup of boiling water with 1 tablespoon of gelatin powder.
Stir until the gelatin has dissolved, and then add 10-20 drops of essential oil.
Pour the mixture into a small glass jar or container and allow it to cool and set.
Once set, place the jar in your car. Open the jar only when you’re driving. Keep it closed at other times to keep the scent from evaporating.
11. Herb Sachets
Make your own sachets using dried herbs and essential oils.
Fill a small cotton or muslin bag with dried herbs like lavender, chamomile, or rose petals, or buy a readymade herb sachet.
Add a few drops of essential oil to the sachet just before you drive away.
Place the sachet in the cup holder or clip it to the air vent. The herbs absorb and hold the scent, releasing it slowly over time.
12. Cotton Balls in a Jar
This is one of the easiest ways to make your own essential oil car freshener and works great if you don’t have time to work on the other ideas.
Moreover, it is inexpensive and uses supplies you probably already have in your house. All you need is a small jar with a lid.
Put a few cotton balls in the container and drop in the essential oils you want to use. Only a few drops will suffice.
Keep the lid tightly closed and only open it in the car. The cotton balls will soak the oil and slowly release the scent into the closed space.
Depending on how strong you want the scent, you can either leave the lid off or drill a few holes in the lid and close the container.
Don’t want to make your own essential oil car freshener?
You’ll find some great readymade options in this ultimate guide to car essential oil diffusers. Along with highlighting the different types of car diffusers for essential oils, the article also includes some important tips for using a diffuser/freshener in your vehicle.
Here’s a snapshot of the best-selling and top-rated car essential oil diffusers on Amazon.
Best Essential Oils to Use for Car Fresheners and Their Benefits
There are many different essential oils that you can use in your car freshener, each with its own unique benefits. Here are a few of my favorites:
Peppermint: Peppermint has a refreshing and invigorating scent that can help to boost your mood, increase alertness, and soothe headaches. Some more essential oils that help boost focus and alertness.
Lemon: Lemon has a bright and refreshing scent that can help to purify the air and eliminate odors.
Eucalyptus: Eucalyptus has a fresh and invigorating scent that can help to clear the sinuses and promote respiratory health.
Tea Tree: Tea tree has natural antibacterial and antifungal properties that can help to purify the air and kill germs.
Ginger: Overcome motion sickness
During the holidays, any one of these Christmas Diffuser Blends will allow you to enjoy the scents of the season whenever you are driving.
I would definitely avoid using lavender, chamomile, clary sage, geranium, and vetiver essential oils in a car air freshener, especially on long drives. These oils have sedative properties. You don’t want to feel drowsy while driving.
To relieve stress on long drives, choose relaxing essential oils that don’t have sedative properties such as Grapefuit, Lemongrass, Sweet Orange, or Thyme.
Benefits Of Using Essential Oils In Your Car
Unlike commercial car fresheners, which often contain harmful chemicals and synthetic fragrances, essential oil car fresheners are all-natural and safe to use.
Essential oils that have natural antibacterial and antifungal properties help purify the air and kill germs and other harmful microorganisms that can cause bad smells.
Some essential oils such as peppermint and citrus oils have mood-boosting properties and can help boost your mood and energy levels.
Repels insects: Certain oils like peppermint, lemon, and eucalyptus can help repel insects like mosquitoes and flies.
Essential Oil Car Freshener Safety Tips
While essential oils are generally safe to use, there are a few safety tips to keep in mind when using them in your car:
Always dilute essential oils before using them in a car freshener or any other application.
Keep essential oils out of reach of children and pets.
Avoid using essential oils that are known to be irritating to the skin or mucous membranes.
If you have a medical condition or are pregnant, consult with a healthcare professional before using essential oils.
Making your own car freshener with essential oils is a simple and effective way to keep your car smelling great while enjoying the benefits of natural aromatherapy.
Go ahead, try one or more of the above ideas or use an idea to make your own car air freshener with some other material. Make sure to use porous, absorbent materials that will absorb the oil and release the scent slowly.
While you are at it, make a few extra essential oil car fresheners to give away to anybody else you know who does a lot of driving around. It’s a practical, easy-to-make gift that will only cost you a few cents.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to serve as medical advice. Please consult your physician before using essential oils. See Full Disclaimer here.