It doesn’t matter what time of year it is, my house invariably gets that been-closed-up-too-long smell in the air. Sure, there is the scent of clean laundry and, heaven help me, the overwhelming aroma of my daughter’s collection of body sprays; but I can just tell when the windows haven’t been opened in a while.

I don’t know where you’re reading this, but here in Texas, only two weeks in the spring and two weeks in the fall are perfect for open windows. Other than that, we’re out of luck. So, we look inside the house for better options than allergen-laden and super-hot Texas air.

Many of us turn to air fresheners when guests come over. Isn’t it nice to have a little something tucked into the corner of the guest bathroom just in case? But, most commercial air fresheners contain chemicals that we probably shouldn’t be inhaling.

Here are a few ideas for combating those not-so-pleasant household smells with DIY solutions.

Homemade Gel Air Fresheners

This is such a cute idea. Grab a small jelly or baby food jar, some plain gelatin, organic essential oil, and water to make a gel air freshener in no time.

Simply combine two envelopes of unflavored gelatin with a half a cup of hot water in a bowl. Stir until the gelatin is dissolved. Then add eight to 10 drops of your favorite essential oil and a few drops of the food coloring hue of your choice.

Finish by stirring in a half a cup of ice water and then pour into jars. Leave out on the counter to cool. Voila! Homemade air fresheners with your signature scents.

Vegan Container Air Fresheners

If you like the idea of having an air freshener that sits out on your countertop, but you’re opposed to the use of gelatin, try a baking soda-based alternative.

Combine a half a cup of baking soda with eight to 10 drops of essential oil in an eight-ounce Mason jar. Punch holes in the Mason jar lid or line the top of the jar with decorative paper and screw the Mason ring — without the lid — over it. Poke tiny holes in the paper with a needle and you have a vegan equivalent to the gel fresheners mentioned above.

The same recipe can work as a carpet deodorizer, as well.

Get Cooking

For a quick but potent fix, boil sliced fruit and herbs or spices on the stove for a couple of hours before guests arrive for a visit. The combination fills the house with wonderful smells that greet guests at the door.

Some of my favorite scent combinations are lemon and rosemary, grapefruit and lavender, and orange and vanilla. You can change the scents up with the season, too. I can only imagine how amazing orange and clove would smell around Christmas.

Do you have a favorite DIY air freshener recipe?

Editor’s note: This article was updated in August 2018.

By Annie Perkins

Dog lover, margarita enthusiast, and trivia night queen; Annie Perkins loves to share advice on living better. Her early experiences on hiking trails serve as a foundation for her love of the outdoors and the desire to keep nature intact. She writes her articles with an eye towards the inspirational, with a few laughs for good measure