How To Make Your Own Car Air Freshener: A DIY Guide

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Objects hanging from rear-view mirror

Everyone loves the pleasant smells of a car air freshener. Not only does it give you something pleasant to look forward to every time you drive, but a strong air freshener can help mask and eliminate any stubborn odors that you and your passengers happen to bring into the car with you. Such as the smell of nature after a hike, sweaty smells after an afternoon at Little League, or the unfortunate stink of a pet accident in the back seat.

Generic air fresheners aren't expensive or hard to find; you can get a two-pack in the cleaning aisle at most grocery stores. The only downside to store-bought air fresheners is that you don't get the widest selection of flavors, but they are often chemical-based, which could irritate those with certain sinus or breathing conditions. There are ways to make your own car air freshener, such as using a leftover scented candle, or you can try one of these DIY tricks below.

Simple clothespin air freshener

Wooden clothespins

If you're not looking to get too fancy with your homemade air freshener, then you can make a quick one with just some wooden clothespins and a bottle of your favorite essential oils, plus a sealable sandwich baggie to hold everything. You can even make them in bulk to have a few around or pass them out to your friends.

  1. Place a clothespin on a flat working surface.

  2. Put five small drops of essential oil onto the clothespin, mostly near the closing side.

  3. Place the clothespin into the sealable sandwich baggie and close it to seal in the scent.

  4. Repeat for as many clothespins as you want that will fit in the same baggie.

To use these freshened clothespins, just take one out of the baggie and clip it onto one of the AC vents on your car's dashboard. Whenever you turn on the AC or heating, the circulated air will pick up the scent of the essential oil from the clothespin and circulate it throughout the car. Whenever the smell fades, place a few more drops of essential oil onto the same clothespin, and you can use it again. It's cheap and economical!

One warning: essential oils can be a bit overpowering, so make sure you only use five small drops when preparing the clothespins. If you completely soak the clothespin in oil, the smell will swiftly go from pleasant to gag-inducing, so less is more.

Natural felt air freshener

Dried herbs in bags

If you find the smell of essential oils a bit too intense or want something a little more natural and holistic, you can create a slightly fancier DIY air freshener with some felt and dried herbs. You'll need a couple of sheets of simple craft felt, your dried herbs of choice, scissors, a hole punch, a needle and thread, and some yarn or string.

  1. Cut out two small pieces of felt, doing your best to keep them uniform.

  2. Using the needle and thread, sew the pieces together to create a small pouch with an opening at the top.

  3. Insert the dried herbs into the hole, then sew the hole shut.

  4. Using a hole punch, create a small hole near the top of the pouch.

  5. Thread and tie the yarn or string through the hole to create a suspension point.

  6. Tie the yarn or string around the arm of your car's rear-view mirror to suspend the pouch.

The scent of the herbs will naturally dispense through the felt and throughout the car. Since it's real herbs rather than oil or chemicals, it should be nice and mild. If the smell starts to fade, just give the pouch a gentle squeeze to break up the herbs and release more particles.

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