A few weeks ago, we posted a blog about traditional air fresheners and the chemicals they introduce into your home and your body. We promised that we'd make and test some DIY air fresheners, which is exactly what we've done.

First, we'd like to say that the best air freshener is simply opening your window—unless you live in a stinky neighborhood. Then again, if you do live in a smelly area, it's likely penetrated your building anyway. Open your window to at least release humidity and mitigate growth of molds. Opening the windows can also help dissipate cooking odors, as can turning on an exhaust fan in combination with opening the window for faster clearing.

Second, for a deep air freshening to remove allergens and ease asthma and allergies, have your HVAC cleaned and your carpets and furniture as well.

Third, let's discuss scent. Because of traditional air fresheners, we've become somewhat "trained" to expect an air freshener to make everything smell instantly "pleasant." Healthful versions of air fresheners don't paint the air with chemicals; they slowly absorb odors and emit nonchemicalized fragrance—pure essential oils distilled from real plants!

The Internet is filled with recipes for homemade air fresheners—even gel air fresheners. We didn't try the gel freshener as we like the idea of pure, which vetoed the food coloring option. Here are our favorites:

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1. Although not DIY, we wanted to test the efficacy of an essential oil diffuser, which releases the essential oil into the room on a micro-fine vapor. The benefits go beyond reducing odors. Depending on the oil you use, you can help prevent allergens such as mold, fungus, and dust mites from gaining ground in your home. The aromas can relax or invigorate people, and again, depending on the oil, they can help prevent viruses from getting a foothold in our respiratory systems. The scents are so real and so pure; there's nothing synthetic, nothing toxic, nothing fake! Nearly everyone who came by commented on and praised the scent—and wanted a diffuser!

2. We tried the baking soda in a jar with holes punched into the metal lid with a hammer and nail. We made nice patterns in the lid for an artful effect. (You could cut a loose-weave fabric and tie it on with a ribbon for something even more beautiful.) Into the small jar, we placed 1/4c of aluminum-free baking soda and 25 drops of oil. We made a cinnamon and orange jar, a lemongrass jar, and a cinnamon (25 drops) and clove (8 drops). We found that sprinkling the oils on top of the soda, and not shaking the mixture to blend it, released the most potent fragrance. These were placed around the home: in the kitchen, bathroom, and office. Remember: this isn't about whitewashing your home's current scent. It's about slow absorption of unpleasant smells and a slow release of pleasant smells.

3. Lastly, we made an oil mixture in a small jar. The mixture was 25 drops of lavender oil and 1/4c of grapeseed oil, although other light oils could be used, such as safflower or almond oil. Into this, we placed five bamboo skewers. The scent didn't appear in the skewers until a couple of days later. It's a light scent, and we'd try 35 drops next time.

Read more about a related topic: 7 Methods for Cleaning Indoor Air

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