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Cover Image: How to Make Homemade Air Freshener with Fabric Softener

Before kids, Febreze was nice to have around the house if we remembered to pick some up at the store. Two years and a few toddlers later, it’s now firmly in the must-have category if we want to avoid having our house smell  too similar to the diaper pail in the laundry room.

But Febreze – even in a multipack – can get expensive, especially for larger families who go through it fast, and can end up costing several hundred dollars over the course of a year. That might not seem like much, but as family budgets go, every bit helps, so we eventually made a point to start making our own DIY homemade air freshener with fabric softener.

We first saw the recipe a few years back from Homemade Mamas, and the formula hasn’t changed much since then. Today, we use a little bit more baking soda and tend to err on the side of including less fabric softener, but if you make it enough times you’ll find a ratio that works for you and your fabrics.

Some things, like couches and thick fabrics, may call for a little extra fabric softener, while just spritzing up a room here and there doesn’t need quite as much.

Homemade Air Freshener Directions

Here’s what you’ll need to make homemade air freshener similar to Febreze.

  • 1/8 cup of fabric softener
  • 2 tablespoons of baking soda
  • warm water
  • plastic spray bottle

If you already have these around the house, putting your air freshener together is super cheap, but even if you have to buy supplies, it’s still an extremely cost-effective way to keep your home smelling good on a budget.

Step 1. Get your supplies ready.

Get together your fabric softener, baking soda, water and spray bottle. It doesn’t matter much how you put it all together, but for simplicity sake we just mixed it all together in the bottle, but you can also grab a spare bowl or container if you want to mix it before pouring it in the bottle.

homemade air freshener fabric softener

Step 2. Warm up some water.

You can use just regular hot tap water, but our tap takes a while to warm up, so we used a tea kettle to speed things up. It doesn’t need to be too hot – just warm enough to successfully mix up the baking soda and fabric softener.

If the water’s not warm enough, the baking soda can get clumpy in the softener and make it more difficult to shake up and dissolve.

warm water for air freshener

Step 3. Measure out 1/8 cup of fabric softener.

As mentioned, you may want to do more or less, but from what we’ve seen 1/8 cup of fabric softener seems to do the trick. Part of the appeal of Febreze is that it’s often light and not overwhelming, so you don’t need too much scent here. At the same time, you want enough softener in the solution that you’re not just spraying water in the air.

fabric softener

Step 4. Add baking soda and water to fabric softener.

We added a little water to the softener before mixing it all together in the bottle, but you can pour it in all together too. Adding some water to the mixture beforehand lets you break up the baking soda a bit, which is then easier to pour into the spray bottle, depending on how big the bottle’s opening is.

homemade freshener

Once the water, baking soda and fabric softener is mixed and in the bottle, shake it like a salt shaker until the baking soda is dissolved and the water and fabric softener have become really good friends. The water will still be warm, and the more you shake it the easier it’ll come out of the spray bottle.

Step 6. Label it properly.

diy febreze

If you’re the type to have a bunch of DIY cleaning solutions around the house, it’s a good idea to label your room spray as soon as you make it. We have a cabinet full of these bottles, and without writing on them right away there’d be no way we could keep them all straight.

Step 7. Enjoy!

homemade air freshener

From here, your life will be a lot easier. And by easier we mean you won’t have to spend as much on Febreze. We tested a few different batches to get the right balance of fabric softener and water, and sometimes when one batch is getting low, we’ll just refill it with some warm water and keep the diluted version around until it starts to lose its scent.

Last bit of advice: if you can, try to get a spray bottle similar to the Febreze bottle. It lets out solution at a good pace, while some bottles have a spray setting that’s too heavy, which means you might have too much water come out at once. If you’re converting from Febreze, you can also hang on to some of your old bottles for your new cheaper version.