Air fresheners, natural and unnatural

I currently have a chemical air freshener in my listing. It runs on batteries, and releases little puffs of chemical into the air at timed intervals.

On another thread, @J_Wang helpfully posted an article about why one shouldn’t use chemical air fresheners. So, what do you use as an air freshener? And is it natural? Do tell.

Well I use the gain carpet dust if things get out of control for smell, but you can leave little bowls of vinegar around, and we also are dehydrating herbs right now from our garden. Another thing I have is a bed spray with lavender essential oil and water mixed. Other than that we have a lot of open windows.


You can put out a vase/container with diffusing sticks and put essential oils in there.

I mentioned earlier a bowl of baking soda with essential oils in it.

The citrus oils are the best IMO as they’re not super strong and are less likely to cause headaches.

Plants are great if you can water them yourself or if they do well going a week or so. I keep aloe currently in the apartment as its a succulent and does well with infrequent watering and would be good to have for guest who may burn themselves.

Ivy is a good low-maintenance plant that does well with low light and is an air purifying plant. If you have a good window: palms, dracaenas and peace lilies are a great option.

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I don’t cut the lemons.

Here on some on the stairs. I also put some in a bowl in the kitchen. Eucalyptus leaves and berries are good too.

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Um, uncut lemons have odor absorbing abilities? Really?

I buy air freshener. The cheapest supermarket brand. 30p each. I spray whole house before each guest. One can lasts a week on average. Smells really nice, better than some of the branded ones at £1-2 each.

Im an airbnb cleaner and check in/check out assistant. Let me know if needed

I do this as a cleaner. Under bed too is good one

No, the lemons don’t absorb odor, but neither does the chemical stuff like Febreze or the plug-ins; they just mask odors. I put out the lemons because they smell fresh. If my house is clean and there is good air circulation, there really isn’t any odor at all. Even baking soda is not really that effective at covering up moldy, cruddy smells; in fact it can actually cause odors by attracting moisture.

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If I entered a room with one of the air freshener devices spewing chemicals, I would unplug, open the windows, and utilize whatever fans I had access to.

I am fascinated by why you need these things? Do you have mold? Do people have smelly feet? What odors are you trying to mask? If the place is damp, a dehumidifier would be a better option. Smelly feet? Ask that people leave their shoes on the front door. Our house is old, and will never have a tight envelope, so we simply don’t have smells that don’t get aired out with air.

As a general rule, we use no scents in the house. Odorless detergent, soaps, water-filter vacuum, etc. Occasionally we buy something like an IKEA duvet which smells of petroleum product and I air them outside until the smell is gone completely.


If you are asking me, no particular odor. And the room doesn’t have a bad smell, as far as I know. But it’s generally considered a good idea for a room to smell nice. Though one doesn’t have to use chemicals to do so, of course.

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To me, a room that smells good is one that has no distinctive smells at all. I am discovering so many new approaches to living on this forum.


Every room has a smell though. My house smells like old people. Probably because I bought it from old people, but it smells like my grandmothers house. As an aside from that, most people come in and I think it reminds them of the same thing because most people comment that they feel right at home here.

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Now I just have to ask. What do “old people” smell like? :slight_smile:


I am fortunate that we live in a house with lots of windows in Los Angeles, CA where you can open windows pretty much every day of the year. I want the guests to smell nothing but fresh air so I leave the windows open between guests. It works. We’ve had guests who leave heavy perfume/cologne scents. They always dissipate by the time the next guest arrives. We had a guest spill an entire bottle of tea tree oil on the mattress. I thought we were going to have to buy a new mattress, but the scent dissipated when I aired out the room.

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Ha ha ha, a little like wood oil, mixed with fabric softener, and a soft perfume I can’t place for the life of me. :smile:

I don’t use any of these things and it’s just what it smells like.

Original Wood cabinets with varnish? That is usually what creates the “old person” smell; or it does in areas with lots of humidity…

I live in a dry climate but it might be that. But we also have original wood floors and some of my husbands grandmothers stuff. But when I bought my house the people were in their 90’s and had lived here for 55 years. The smell just has never left. Like I said though, it’s kind of comforting.

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Add some lavender sachets or potpourri to get the full “Grandmother” effect!


Being involved in the industry in a small way, I really try not to get into conversations about natural vs /chemical products but I just want to make a short comment on the EWG article.

The evidence for allergens in perfumes (which is what “air fresheners” are) that they quote is correct in so far as it goes, but in fact, the same is true for our beloved Essential Oils. There are 27 (at last count, I think) known allergens in essential oils that in the EU and some other countries have to be declared on cosmetics containing them. So it’s not just a question of natural= good, synthetic = bad.

The whole subject of fragrance allergies is a can of worms which I don’t want to open, except to say that for the minority who DO have a true fragrance allergy, it makes no difference if the Linalool they are allergic to is in pure dawn-gathered organic lavender essential oil or Glade Sunny Spa-fresh Floral plug-in. Their noses will redden and their eyes will itch whichever it is!

Anyway, Faheem, I know you didn’t want the whole chemistry lecture, so this is what I do:

Like @KKC I keep doors and windows open on all but hottest days and have fans going. I occasionally use those reed diffusers with my own mix of essential oils: orange, lime and bergamot my current favourite. I also add these with some alcohol to the water we use to mop the floor tiles and this leaves a very slight pleasant smell (peppermint oil could be added if you need to deter cockroaches!)

Plants are a great idea if you can keep them alive (sadly, I can’t …) What about a jasmine plant? They must be abundant in Mumbai I should think, but maybe overpowering for some!

(As I speak, the sun is beginning to set on the hottest day this year (37C) and the scent of next door’s Dama de Noche (Lady of the night, a kind of jasmine) is wafting in on the evening breeze … hmm, very poetic, I should add this to my listing!