Homemade Febreze Recipes – Save The Planet And Your Wallet!

You’ve just invited your old friend from school to come over as you’re on your way home from work. You walk into your apartment and come up short. Aghast, you cover your nose and think to yourself, “This place smells like butt!” In vain you search for the source of the smell.

Even if you located it, though, how would you get rid of the lingering smell of… dirt? Mold? Poop? What the hell is that, anyway?

That’s where a good batch of homemade Febreze can come in handy. In this article we’ll break down the problem and help you keep your place smelling as good as new.

What is Febreze?

febreze vs homemade air freshener

Strictly speaking, Febreze is an odor eliminator made by Procter & Gamble. You spray that bad boy around your house and before you know it, it’s smelling… good? 


Well, at least it doesn’t smell like you dumped the garbage out in the middle of the living room. But that’s not all that Febreze is. What Kleenex is to the world of tissues, Febreze has become to the world of odor eaters. It is the household name for any and all things that combat those foul smells creeping out of every corner of your living room, kitchen, bathroom… you name it.

So when the title of an article implies that it is about “how to make homemade Febreze,” we aren’t necessarily talking about the patented product, but rather, how to make your own homemade air freshener.

And there are a lot of benefits that you (and the Earth!) can get out of a deodorizer made with more natural products.

The Dangers of Febreze

When you see claims that an odor eater will totally remove a smell in your house, it should give you reason to pause. While manufactured products like Febreze do a very good job of “getting rid of” a bad odor, in reality, they are just masking the bad smell in a chemical capsule, of sorts.

It’s still there, you just can’t smell it.  

And if you breathe it in? Well then, you breathe in the smelly particle wrapped up in decent-smelling chemicals. Yum!

89 chemicals in febreze

In all seriousness though, toxins like benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene can be found in a typical home, leaching out of synthetically manufactured items… right into the air we breathe.

That’s why it’s important that steps are taken not just to cover up the smell, but to remove it entirely. And the truth is, popular manufactured products like Febreze don’t remove the problem, they add to it.

Even on their own website, Procter & Gamble declare that Febreze is safe for babies, children, adults, even pets… except for pets with sensitivities to scented products and aerosols, like birds. Umm… okay. But aren’t those things harmful in general? I mean, for goodness sake, “aerosol” has been a dirty word (environmentally speaking) for decades! To make matters worse, research had shown that there are quite a few other chemicals in Febreze than are printed on the label. The number of chemicals in the ingredients list? Three. The number of chemicals found during testing? Eighty-nine.

Note: If your interest is piqued, this article provides a morbidly nifty list of the buffet of ways that Febreze can create long-term negative effects.

Hopefully, you’re starting to see why a natural Febreze recipe can be beneficial. It isn’t just an alternative to a store-bought product. It’s a source of sustainable living, which is something we’re all about! You may also want to check another great article on homemade mosquito repellent, click here to discover more!

Chemicals and sustainability aside, there’s another factor that makes homemade Febreze more alluring than the store bought brands: The cost.

Homemade Febreze Recipes: The Savings

Have you checked the price of Febreze lately? It’s expensive!

I mean, yeah, one bottle might not break the bank. But if you use the stuff regularly, you’re going to be canceling Netflix, Amazon Prime, and a couple of coffee subscriptions in order to keep your place smelling decent. This is a great benefit to a Febreze made at home. It doesn’t matter if you’re making your homemade Febreze with laundry detergent, vinegar, or vodka (you heard that right), these are all WAY more affordable options than the premade stuff, so you’ll be keeping costs down.

Cost is an ever-increasing issue in the modern world, and knowing that you can keep a sustainable lifestyle applies to your checkbook as much as it does to the planet. 

What Options Are There For How to Make Homemade Febreze?

natural alternatives to febreze

So, if the store-bought options are not that attractive, what other options are there? Well, for starters, there are plants. We’re all taught from a young age that plants help us get the oxygen we need, right?

But did you know that plants are also expert air purifiers? That’s right! Some plants can remove as much as 90% of the chemicals from the air in just a day or two.  If you don’t have any plants in your space yet, take a look at this list and pick up a few. They do a nice job of sprucing up a home, too!

But what about when your guests are half an hour away and you need something a little bit more… aggressive? That’s where our handy-dandy list of homemade Febreze recipes comes into play. We will be looking at each of the following recipes in this article:

  • Homemade Febreze with Downy Unstopables and Rubbing Alcohol
  • Homemade Febreze with Fabric Softener
  • Homemade Febreze with Baking Soda
  • Homemade Febreze with Vinegar
  • Homemade Febreze with Essential oils
  • Homemade Febreze with Alcohol

A Few Notes

Just a few quick notes to help navigate through the recipes below.

While all of these recipes technically reduce waste, the first few recipes are more focused on saving your green rather than the planet’s, while still providing you with a familiar Febreze scent. They are affordable options that help you avoid the exorbitant costs of the name-brand alternatives.

However, for those concerned about the planet as well, the recipes further down are more focused on sustainability and staying green.

Remember to always test these recipes before using them on delicate surfaces, like fabric or carpet. Test an out-of-sight area first and make sure it doesn’t do any harm!

Note: If your laundry stinks and you’re interested in homemade Febreze laundry odor eliminators too, click here to learn more about making homemade Febreze fabric fresheners.

1. Homemade Febreze with Downy Unstopables and Rubbing Alcohol

Our first recipe is a really easy one to pull together. However, you’ll need to purchase some Downy Unstopables in-wash scent boosters.

While this does mean you’ll need to take a quick trip to the store, it also means you have some options for the scent.

Even though you have to spend a little upfront, you’re only using a ½ cup of the Unstopables with each batch, so you’ll still be saving quite a bit on the overall cost! The rest of the ingredients are pretty standard household items.

You might notice that alcohol makes its first entrance onto the stage in this recipe, too. It won’t be the last. Here’s the rest of what you’ll need:

What You Need

  • ½ cup Downy Unstopables
  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  • 2 cupfuls of rubbing alcohol
  • Warm water
  • A spray bottle

How To Do It

Mix each ingredient into the spray bottle one at a time, in the order that they’re listed. When you add the warm water at the end, fill the bottle right up until it’s mostly full (just leave enough room to mix it).Then put the sprayer back on and swish it around until the Unstopables have completely dissolved. Unfortunately this can take a while – for example, this review said it took an hour. So stay focused, watch until they’re completely gone, and make sure to take breaks! Once the mixture is ready, go ahead and spray away!

Note: You can also make a very similar smelling and long lasting version of this kind of homemade Febreze with Gain beads. Just add a small amount of the Gain in-wash scent boosters (exact amount will depend on how strong you want the scent) to warm water and mix them up!

Pros and Cons


  • A variety of strong scent options
  • Smells very similar to actual Febreze


  • Can take a while to mix together
  • Not particularly environmentally conscious

Best Suited For

Those with tight budgets who still want that familiar, strong Febreze smell.

2. Homemade Febreze with Fabric Softener

Here we find another option that helps stretch those grocery budgets, while still giving you that “Febreze feel”.

This one is great for a quick run through the house, spraying all of the furniture and carpets as you go. And it should hold the smell for a long time! Baking soda has fantastic, odor-sucking properties that are a building block for many of these recipes.You’ll notice, too, that this one has a couple of different options for the quantities of each ingredient. Specific amounts are not too important here, with the exception of the baking soda. Don’t add too much of that (see the video below…)! In fact, you can find several different versions of this recipe here

What You Need

  • Between 2 teaspoons and 1 tablespoon of baking soda
  • ⅛ to ¼ cup of fabric softener (depending on how strong you want it)
  • Hot filtered or distilled water
  • A large spray bottle

How To Do It

Once again, mix the ingredients into your spray bottle in the order they’re listed. When you add in the water, you can fill the bottle up, leaving just enough room to mix it well.

You want to make sure the baking soda is able to fully dissolve. 

Pro Tip: Don’t add too much of the baking soda or it’ll leave a film on everything!

Here’s a video that demonstrates how to put this one together!

Pros and Cons


  • Easy to make
  • Has a smell very similar to actual Febreze
  • Allows you to choose from a wide variety of scents


  • Still has some chemicals
  • Is not as environmentally conscious as other recipes on this list

Best Suited For

This one is best for use on carpets, rugs, and furniture. You can use most Febreze on furniture, but this one does particularly well, and holds its scent for a long time.

3. Homemade Febreze with Baking Soda

Now we come to one of the mainstays of odor control (and cleaning in general), historically speaking. Baking soda has been an odor-regulating agent for a long time. It’s a bit messy, but it does its job and cleans up well, so who are we to complain?

Now, it can’t do everything, but baking soda can be a key factor in the battle we continually wage over our households, and particularly in the kitchen.

Baking soda is one of those rare weapons that can be added to the cleaning arsenal as is, no embellishments needed. No fancy mixing or additional ingredients needed. Thank you, baking soda, for being such a versatile tool in our lives.

What You Need

  • Baking soda
  • A bowl or container (optional)

How To Do It

A simple ingredients list… that’s how we like it. The most iconic use of baking soda for odor control is in the fridge. If your fridge chronically smells bad, just pop an open bowl of baking soda in there. In fact, you don’t even need to put it in a bowl (hence the “optional”). You can just open the box up and stick it right in there!You can also sprinkle it onto things like furniture, into shoes, and add it into hot soapy water to enhance your cleaning solution.

All in all, baking soda gets two thumbs up for its dual odor eating and cleaning powers. 

Pros and Cons


  • Cheap (seriously, this is as cheap as it gets)
  • Simple to apply
  • Environmentally conscious


  • Can be really messy

Best Suited For

This one is best suited for use in the kitchen, especially the fridge.

4. Homemade Febreze with Vinegar

Next we have baking soda’s “other half.” As old and reputable as baking soda, these two can do more than just create some wicked science experiments (balloon on top of a soda bottle, anyone?).Vinegar is tried and true, both as a cleaning agent and as a scent control tool. However, unlike baking soda, vinegar brings a scent all its own.

You can often tell when a person uses straight vinegar to clean their house shortly after the initial application. Not because it smells bad. Just because it smells like vinegar.  However, if you’re okay with the slightly more pungent odor, you could do much worse when it comes to strong household odors.

And besides, the smell is only temporary, and once it dries, both the vinegar and the source of the bad smell should be long gone.

Vinegar can help with many other tasks around the house along with helping nix that smell at the source. 

What You Need

  • Vinegar
  • A spray bottle or bucket
  • Water (optional, at a 50:50 ratio to vinegar)

How To Do It

The difference here from the other homemade Febreze recipes we’ve seen is that vinegar does a better job attacking smells at their source, rather than in the air. Think of it as a fire extinguisher. You don’t aim it at the flames. You aim it at the base of the fire.

Vinegar neutralizes bacteria very well, and it’s that very bacteria that… can you guess? That’s right, that causes so many of the smells around the house! When you use vinegar at the source, the vinegar helps kill any bacteria that might have been left behind, causing a stink.

Vinegar can be used as a spray or mixed into a bucket. It can also be used at full strength or be diluted many times over and still have a very powerful effect. We recommend diluting it to a half and half mixture for any general cleaning/anti-odor use.

Pros and Cons


  • Cheap (once again, about as cheap as it gets)
  • Neutralizes bacteria
  • Doubles as a cleaning agent


  • It can smell pretty intense
  • It doesn’t instantly clean the smells out of the air, which means you’ll want to give time for the application to take effect

Best Suited For

This one is best suited for those who don’t mind strong-smelling cleaning agents, and who want to clean up a mess as much as remove its smell. It’s also good for use in smelly places where you want genuinely clean surfaces, like a bathroom, kitchen, or laundry room.

5. Homemade Febreze with Essential Oils

Now we get to one of the recipes that is all the rage.

It’s no secret that essential oils have taken the crunchy, environmentally-conscious world by storm.  That said, there are still so many options! Which oils do you pick? Which ones smell the best?

And most importantly, how can you use them in a homemade Febreze recipe? Let’s take a look.

What You Need

  • 20-30 drops of an essential oil of your choice​​​​
  • 1 teaspoon of vinegar, witch hazel, or vodka
  • ¼ to ½ cup of water
  • A spray bottle
  • Diffuser (optional)

Pro Tip: If you put the mixture in a spray bottle, make sure it is one that is appropriate for essential oils. Many essential oils are strong and can affect the plastic in weaker bottles. Strong plastic and even glass spray bottles are excellent options.

How To Do It

Add the essential oil of your choice to the vinegar, witch hazel, or vodka, and mix together in the spray bottle. Then add some water (between ¼ and ½ cup, to your desired concentration), and you’re all set! This is a great way to up the appeal of using a straight vinegar option. Adding some essential oils can be a great way to maximize the cleaning power of vinegar, while giving you a pleasant-smelling air freshener for use around the house.

Note: Many recipes suggest the 20 or 30 drop range, but really, you can add as much as you want to get the strength of smell you desire.

Pros and Cons


  • Versatile scent options
  • Essential oils help neutralize the strong smell of vinegar
  • Cleans and kills bad odors like a champ


Best Suited For

Using this one can be helpful in a number of ways. The recipe suggested here works well as a general Febreze, to be sprayed in any area that smells bad.However, when used with vinegar in particular, it can take on the quality of a nice-smelling cleaner, which can be used in grungier areas like bathrooms and laundry rooms where both cleaning and smell control are required.

6. Homemade Febreze with Alcohol

Our last recipe is one that makes homemade Febreze with rubbing alcohol. Much like the baking soda and vinegar combos, alcohol has been viewed as a cleaning and sterilizing agent pretty much forever. Whether you picture a cowboy taking a swig out of his flask before pouring the stuff on an open wound, or you picture a clean, sterile environment in a modern hospital room, alcohol can get the job done.

But did you know that while it can clean well, it can also be used as an odor killer? Mixed with the right ingredients, it can make yet another nifty, affordable option to deal with your fetid woes.

What You Need

  • ¼ cup baking soda
  • Warm filtered or distilled water
  • 3 teaspoons rubbing alcohol
  • Spray bottle
  • Essential oils (optional)

How To Do It

Once again, we’ve made sure to put the ingredients in the order that you mix them. Mix the baking soda and about a cup of water together. Then add the alcohol before filling up the rest of the container with more water.

At this point, you’ve got a good mixture to help stamp out any bad smells. However, if you want to be proactive in spreading the good smells as well as eliminating the bad, you can add some essential oils into the mix (add it in small batches until it is as strong as you want it).Check out the video below if you want to see this one put together!

Pros and Cons


  • Affordable
  • Environmentally conscious


  • May not smell good without essential oils

Best Suited For

This one is another good one to use as a general bad-smell-killing machine throughout the house.

Regroup and Consider

And there you have it. Six excellent ways to make the bad smells go away, save a little green, and keep the planet happy. Just remember, the store-bought Febreze options may seem convenient, but they’re not doing much in the way of genuinely solving the problem.

Homemade Febreze recipes are the best way to keep things affordable, reduce the amount of chemicals flying around your breathing space, and get rid of the smell rather than just mask it.

Now the next time you have friends over at the last minute, you can rest assured knowing that you’ll have a top-notch smelling home without going broke, being unhealthy, or hurting the planet. Score!

Which recipe do you find the most intriguing? Comment if you’ve tried one (or are thinking of trying one), and let us know your thoughts! Please like and share the post if you’ve got a sec too!If you want to see any other options for self-sufficient living, check out these other articles on solar power and collecting your own water on ecopeanut.com!

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