Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Make Your Own Gel Air Fresheners

gel air freshener

It’s funny how when I start thinking about posting about a certain idea, it seems people start “coming out of the woodwork” with the same request.  It’s almost uncanny! :-)

First, Paul from Duluth, Minnesota sent me this link for Homemade Gel Air Fresheners at Robyn‘s View At Home…and then I’ve had more people on Facebook and here at home asking me about the same thing! So in response to several special requests AND because I think it’s just a WAY cool idea…here’s my take on making your own homemade air fresheners.

It’s actually a very easy process with a few different options for “personalization”…which I like. :-)

gel air fresheners

I actually made two different batches of gel air freshener…one using liquid potpourri and one using water and essential oils.

I found the liquid potpourri in the scented candle section at my local Walmart. I probably would have passed but it was called Linen Scent and I just couldn’t resist!

Here is the “recipe” I found at  ehow.com:

Liquid Potpourri

  • 2 cups liquid potpourri
  • 4 individual envelopes of unflavored gelatin
  • 2 tbsp. salt
  • heat-safe containers (I used my favorite container for all sorts of DIY homemade products…Mason jars!)


gel air freshener

In a small saucepan on the stove, heat 1 1/2 cups liquid potpourri (I used some called “Linen Scent,” which makes me think of clothes drying outdoors on a line in a summer breeze) and the salt. When the salt is completely dissolved, add the gelatin, and stir until THAT is completely dissolved as well. Remove the saucepan from the heat and then add the remaining liquid potpourri. Stir until fully blended. Pour the mixture into containers of your choice and allow to cool to room temperature.



Of course this is where I couldn’t help myself and had to get a little creative. To give them a little more of a “home decor” feel, I decided to add a little color and texture to the rather nondescript gel with a tiny bit of food color and some silk flower petals I “cannibalized” from some other silk flowers I had laying around the house. I kind of like how they turned out. :-)


Scented Water

The second batch of gel air freshener I made involved the same process, just substituting distilled water and essential oils for the liquid potpourri. Here’s where you can really personalize your air fresheners. You can change the intensity of the scent by adding more or less essential oil; start with 10 drops of oil to 2 cups of water and adjust as desired. You can also try different COMBINATIONS of oils to make a special scents.

Since I only had a couple of essential oils on hand that I wouldn’t mind using as an air freshener…I stuck with with those. I made one with Lavender, one with Lemon and one with Rosemary and Peppermint combined.


gel air fresheners

Rebecca at Foodie With Family has some suggestions for different combinations here, such as Sweet Basil & Lemon, and Rosemary & Wild Orange.

If you want (but it’s not necessary) you can create a vented lid for your air fresheners by punching out several holes using an ordinary paper punch. Really.  That’s all I used. It works! :-)


Since I don’t normally buy gel air fresheners, I can’t tell you how much the savings would be (maybe someone else can clue me in here!) but I’m assuming it would be considerable!

I had such a good time making these and was so happy with how they turned out….I’m thinking I might need to make more the keep on hand for little hostess gifts, etc.  What do you think??

Happy Freshening Everyone! :-)

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166 thoughts on “Make Your Own Gel Air Fresheners

  1. Rachel Loveridge

    Just a thought: the ones using essential oils (especially if you make them milder-scented) will be easier on visitors with fragrance allergies. The liquid potpourri is certain death for people like me. I always hate when I get invited somewhere and have to leave because people use plug-ins or have been burning a candle. :( (It’s not you, it’s your candle. LOL).

    1. Jennifer G

      Rachel- I’m the same way. Although some of the essential oils can cause issues. Lavender and Melaleuca are like a death sentence for me. I stick with the citrus ones since they are less likely to cause problems in someone who might be visiting my home.

    1. Jennifer Francis

      I don’t think its old fashioned at all but for people like me and my family who live in a little apartment with 3 windows, literally, these in the bathroom would be wonderful. Also, there are days my son’s allergies are so bad I cannot open the windows for fear of triggering an asthma attack. I have one still in diapers so sometimes we need a little air freshener, haha.

      1. Rachel Loveridge

        Air fresheners set off my asthma, but if he doesn’t have any fragrance issues, maybe they won’t. :) I’m hoping the ones with essential oils won’t.

      2. Kseeeee

        I also have only 3 windows in my apartment, all on the same side – and I have a cat – and when my grandchildren come over (all in diapers), they tend to leave behind smelly things – I think this is a great option! I don’t like the plug-in deals because of the fire hazard (and all of my plugs have ‘stoppers’ in them- grandkids again). I also don’t like candles because my cat can’t seem to resist-defeats the purpose if you end up with the odor of singed cat tail :)
        Thanks! Why is it that almost every good idea I find leads back to this site!?!?

    2. Steele

      While there’s nothing like a clean house and open windows for freshening your air, there’s also nothing like a clean house and open windows and the comfort smells of cinnamon or vanilla cookies. To each his own.

    3. Heather

      I would love to have my windows open, but it’s -20 here and it’s going to get a whole lot colder before windows can be opened again…

      I love the look of these!! I can’t wait to try making some.

      1. Penny

        I really like the vented lids. That’s an added safety measure with kids and pets. Some oils and fragrance products are highly toxic to pets, like cinnamon to cats. They shouldn’t like the gels and silk flowers could cause obstructions for kids or pets too. With the lid, they are safe and pretty. You could even seal the lids on with a bit of wax that an adult could loosen with hot water when you’re ready to reuse the jars.

    4. Benita Stephenson

      I AGREE AND CAN’T WAIT TO TRY THESE. GONNA MAKE ONE FOR MY MOM TOO!! Btw, Do you want to LOVE your job?? I work online form home, and I love my job!! If anyone is interested, ADD me as a friend, and MESSAGE me for info!!! Must be 18! US, UK, & CANADA ONLY

      1. Lisa

        Hi Benita,
        I was reading on how to make gel scents and stumbled across your comment and noticed you had written a “work from home” comment. I would love to hear more as I am looking for a job and to work at home.
        Thank you for your time,

    5. mea

      you are so right, nothing like fresh air, but where we live, a friend just had a scary experience. they had their windows open, and a lady on meth busted through the screen with a knife and came into their home. so for those who need to consider their safety with open windows, these fresheners sound dreamy. i wonder though, how long the scents last?

  2. Amanda

    Hey Jillee! I just wanted to pop in and tell you how much I love your blog! I always enjoy reading your posts – I don’t think there’s been one yet that I haven’t been excited about. :)

    1. Demaroge

      Hi Renee ~ Wal Mart does have some essential oils. I usually find Tea Tree and Eucalyptus in the pharmacy area. (Hey ~ Those would be good for an air freshener when someone has a cold!….good thought.) Depending upon your WM you may find Mint, Lavender or other more popular scents.

      Other than that you can usually find essential oils at any herb shop or health food store. If you don’t have one nearby you can always order online. I would look for a “starter pack” or a “set” of common popular scents. The prices can vary widely depending upon the quality.

      I am sure Jillee or someone else can post links to place where you can buy online. I usually buy mine locally from the local herb shop.

      I hope you find some!

      1. Karen

        For things like these air fresheners, I’d buy oils from Wal Mart or a drug store, but for use on ourselves for health reasons, one needs to pay more for quality. Renee, I’d do some research on e.o.’s- where they came from, how they are processed, are they pure, ect. There are several good companies to deal with-I do not want to pay the extra mark-up on price (and all the hype) to deal with a MLM, but two reliable companies I deal with are heritageessentialoils.com and my beloved mountainroseherbs.com. Essential oils keep my family healthy!

      2. lovie2five

        I do use the scents from the WM candle isle for my laundry soap and dish soaps and other stuff. I also used it in my homemade deodorant. The rosemary mint went into my facial scrub. They are cheap and work just as good in my opinion.

    2. Rachel Loveridge

      They sell essential oils in Aveda shops/salons, too, but I’m not sure what the prices are like. I have a friend who sells them for a company…Scentsy, I think?

    3. Kseeeee

      You can buy them online. I bought some at Hobby Lobby last week – their selection is limited, though – I think the had 3-4 scents but I was seeking Lavender and they had it. I have purchased it online as well but HL was much less expensive.

  3. Katie

    I love this! I’ve been searching for a wedding favor. I wanted something in mason jars, but my cousin stole my idea of mason jars filled with candy, so this idea is staying a secret until the wedding!

  4. jkincolorado

    Those look like a lot of fun to make! I like the idea of using essential oils – especially since I just bought lavender. Sounds perfect for the bedroom ♥

  5. Demaroge

    I have seen make your own gels before…but I LOVE that you added the flower pedals! There are so many things to add!…glitter hearts, glitter, buttons, googly eyes….oh my goodness….someone make me stop! LOL!

  6. Nicole

    These will make great gifts this coming holiday season. Like Nicole above – I too would like to know if you prefer the oils or potpourri … & thanks for sharing.

  7. Shirley

    I also would like to know how strong the scent is and how long does the gel last? I buy these all the time and
    after a few days the scent is less strong. The freshener itself last about a month though. Thank you.

  8. Suzanne Miller

    Jillee, I wondered if you were able to get the scent of the potpourri out of your saucepan. Many many years ago my son sprayed the inside of my teakettle with air freshener (don’t even ask why, I never did find out) and even after using baking soda and salt and boiling water in it, I finally gave up and threw it away. It was one I really liked, too! Now it’s just a funny family story, but at the time I was definitely not a happy camper!

    1. Jillee Post author

      Suzanne….I used my small, inexpensive saucepan just in case I had any problems like the one you describe…but no problem whatsoever. I was halfway expecting I would have to either throw the pan or designate it for craft type projects only…but I was at least mentally prepared to do so. lol.

  9. Jen

    I used to make these back in the day! I used gel wax too for them instead of gelatin, because I’m a veg. I wonder what else you could use that would be veg?

    1. Brandy

      I’m confused, I’m also a vegetarian (assuming that’s what you mean) but I don’t plan on eating the air freshener. I was wondering though what the salt does? I have heard of making these but there was no salt so just wondering if it does anything for the fragrance maybe.

      1. Alison

        Hi Brandy,
        For a lot of people, the whole idea of being a vegetarian or vegan stems from wanting to not use animal products or by-products at all, in any way, shape or form. So to be a veg and not use animal friendly products in other areas of your life kind of defeats the purpose for the people who want to save the animals. That is most likely the reason :) I’m kind of backwords with it tho lol. I don’t use any animal products or products that even test on animals….but…..I still eat them (I know, I know….yuck!!) I’m working myself off it tho so I will soon be animal free in all aspects of my life!!! Except when it comes to owning them of course!!! If I had a farm I would rescue probably every single one I saw. I’m rambling and getting of track (haha) but I just wanted to respond :)

    2. Marcie

      Jen, there are gelatins that are not animal based but vegetable based. They are KOSHER gelatins. Im sure you could locate this in the aisles of any grocery store which sells ethnic foods, but especially around a Jewish holiday like Passover (close to Easter time) or September during High holidays such as Yom Kippur or Rash Hashana. You also may be able to locate veg gelatins at Whole Foods or Trader Joes.

  10. Tasha

    Jillee, love the site. I am a one-income family and was looking on Pinterest for different budget “recipes”- laundry soap, etc. and so many great pins I was finding were linked to your site! Now I’m going to check it out some more! :) Thanks for helping my family save money!!

  11. Robyn

    They look super cute with the flowers in them. It will be interesting to see how they hold up with time! I hope you will update and let me know!

    I wish my allergies could handle liquid potpourri. I bet they smell great!

    ~Robyn @ Robyn’s View at Home

  12. Judy Ann

    I LOVE this idea! I spend so much money on air freshner it absolutely silly!
    I plan to make these with the Linen scent liquid potpourri. I think I will put a few coins in the jar and make some for gifts – with a note “Your house will always smell good and you’ll never be broke”.
    I cannot wait to give them out.

    Jillee, I make your Foot soak and Detox – Absolute heaven! And the Aloe Vera felt so soothing.
    My little Yorkie would look at the pan of water, and then look at me, like…What?????
    It was adorable!
    Thanks for all the tips you have shared-keep ‘em coming!

  13. Kellie


    I can’t help but think of the fabulous potpourri you made at Christmas (which I never did get around to trying, but SWEAR that I will this year!) Do you think that this would work with that? I’m thinking that you could even leave in the stuff for texture and decor. If so, I’m going to kill three birds with one stone and try that when the holidays arrive and give them as gifts!

  14. KathyB

    AHH! I made these last night! It was SO easy! I used the Bamboo Jasmine liquid potpourri and I found these TINY pebbles that were on clearance at Walmart! The Bamboo Jasmine was a light green so I coordinated the rocks with the color and purchased little 10oz jars for $1.50. AWESOME gift idea!!!
    Everyone at my work wants them!

  15. Darlene

    Quick question and probably a dumb one, I am new to your site as this specific blog was sent to me via my Aunt! However, your recipe for Scented Water says “The second batch of gel air freshener I made involved the same process, just substituting distilled water and essential oils for the liquid potpourri”, so you use the same amount of Water and oil; 2 cups (however light or heavily scented you want) and add the gelatin to it in the same method? Is this correct? Just checking….

  16. Pat

    How long does it take for them to set up ? They feel cool but have not set. The gel looks clear so I think the salt and gelatin dissolved. thanks for your help

  17. Susan

    These are wonderful and so easy. We’ve made a batch with pot pourri oil, but are now using essential oils. I just made peppermint/lavendar and colored it with blue and red food coloring for the most gorgeous shade of purple.
    Hey–idea–I’m going to try these with the essential oils used for insect repellent and keep one outside by my chair. It might help keep the critters away!

  18. Susan

    I’m also planning to make these with my third graders next year for them to give as a gift. They are also going to mix up a batch of Foot Detox (practicing measurement, of course) then portion it out, write the instructions and take home for a great Mother’s Day Gift!!

    1. Brenda

      I was wondering if you have the recipe for the Foot Detox. I would love to make some of that for me. Also, if you could send it to me,what do you put it in after you make it and how much does it make.

      Thanks Brenda

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  20. Nicole

    I tried this Saturday and put it in the fridge to cool faster. When I took it out of the fridge it was nicely gelled but after sitting at room temperature overnight, it un-gelled and was all liquid again. Has anyone else had this problem? Any idea how to correct it?

  21. juliana

    My sister in law and I decided this would be a great diy to do. We went to the craft store bought the materials and we were ready to go. We couldn’t find liquid potpourri so we bought this oil base scent (thinking it would be the same and we would have no problems, especially since it stated on the fine print it was for burning) BOY were we wrong!!! once we added the salt and it started to dissolve it caught fire and we almost burnt the kitchen down! Lucky we had a fire extinguisher and were able to put the fire out! Lesson learn was always but always follow the instruction to the T.. thank god we were ok and nothing happen!

    1. Jillee Post author

      Oh my gosh! I am SO glad are ok! That is very scary. Good warning for all of us! Thank you for sharing. (And good on you for having a fire extinguisher nearby!)

  22. Pingback: How To Make Your Own Gel Air Fresheners | sweetfancydesigns

  23. Nickie

    Hi there :)
    I was wondering, instead of silk flower petals, could I use the little sea shells they sell in the home decor isles too? I got a bunch of them as a Christmas gift one year and would like to use them instead of them hiding away in a closet, lol.

  24. LEN

    How about a piece of lace tied over the jar with a ribbon ? I was given a small jelly jar set up that way with a solid block of some kind of freshener in it. I have been wondering how I could refill it with something that wouldn’t spill and this is just the thing. I think I will make some others while I am at it.

  25. gogo

    I buy my essential oils from health food stores. I am chemical sensitive so I like to make some of my own stuff. so a little bit of the sea salt grounded (usually 99 cents a lb) some almond oil and some essential oil and I have my perfect exfoliating scrub or some essential oil and epsom salt and I have a bath soak that is good for aches. The nice thing about a good essential oil that it doesn’t bother your allergies.

    I will have to try the gel with essential oil cause I am limited to candles and such do to chemical and scent senstivities.

  26. Crystal C

    You can save more money by making your own essential oils also… simmer grape seed oil (best oil because it doesnt affect smell) and whatever flower, herbs or even wood chips if you prefer (like sandalwood, etc) happen to be in season. 2 cups of oil with a couple big handfuls of whatever petals you want, steep for at least 4-6 hours. A bottle of grapeseed oil (about 2 cups) costs around $4-6 where I live, but a very small bottle of essential oils (ounce or 2)cost $12-16

    1. Mother Herbalist

      What you describe making is called an oil infusion or infused oil. Although lovely, this is vastly different from an essential oil. Essential oils are made from a distillation process that is quite labor intensive and impossible for most home chemists, as it requires specialty equipment.

      An oil infusion might work for the fragrance gels; perhaps someone who tries it will post the results using one in this recipe. I just wanted to clarify the difference because it could be confusing, and even dangerous, for someone wanting to use essential oils medicinally.

  27. Rachel Smith

    So I just made my first air freshener. I’m very discouraged because we cannot smell them at all. I was planning on using these as a fundraiser but I can’t sell them unless I figure this out. Suggestions? Maybe a different brand of potpourri or a different scent? Help!

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  29. Chris P

    After reading and enjoying this blog I find that it didn’t give me any kind of idea of the quantity of containers this would make …… Help me please I have the stuff handy but didn’t want any waste thanks

  30. gloria

    Rachel – the essentials oils are used INSTEAD of the liquid potpourri using an alternative process:

    “The second batch of gel air freshener I made involved the same process, just substituting distilled water and essential oils for the liquid potpourri. Here’s where you can really personalize your air fresheners. You can change the intensity of the scent by adding more or less essential oil; start with 10 drops of oil to 2 cups of water and adjust as desired. You can also try different COMBINATIONS of oils to make a special scents.

    1. Rachael

      Yes, I understand that, but I want to know when you add the oils. Do you add them when you add the gelatin or before that or after you put them in the container or what?

      1. Nadine

        essential oils lose some of their fragrance power when exposed to heat. I would add them once the gel in in the jar and it has started to cool but before it gets to thick.

  31. gloria

    Now that this idea has been tried by many, can someone please share how long the scent is lasting? and to refresh, are u just adding more essential oils?


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