Natural car air freshener

car air freshener recipeI discovered the most amazing tongue twister today. Go ahead, try it for yourself – can you say, “Hexahydrotetramethylmethanoazulenyl”?

{gasping for breath}

Yip, neither could I. 

Turns out, that’s an ingredient in your run-of-the-mill car air fresheners. Oh, don’t let their cute designs and smiley faces fool you. Make your own natural car freshener in 2-minutes.

I actually have no idea what that chemical is, so I can’t claim that it is toxic, but I’d prefer to have a perfectly natural car air freshener with ingredients that I can pronounce. Can you say, “rosemary, peppermint and sunflower oil”? Yay! Because that is all there is to making your own delightful car freshener. You will also benefit from the aromatherapeutic benefits of the pure essential oils. Rosemary and peppermint are particularly beneficial in stimulating and boosting cognitive function, which makes them ideal for focused driving. Do you feel more awake after brushing your teeth in the morning? That’s the peppermint.

Another thing you’ll need is the container. I’d hate to promote buying a car freshener just for the container, so I recommend asking your friends and family if you can have theirs when it’s finished so that you can re-use it. I personally got mine from my mom. Alternatively, you can use a glass roller bottle (the kind that lip gloss is packaged in), tie a string around the thread of the bottle, and leave the lid off.

COST & SHELF LIFEingredients in car air freshener

Lasted me about: 2 weeks.

Estimated shelf life: 2 years, but the fragrance will fade over time, especially in a hot car.

Remember: Most of these ingredients have a long shelf life and are common in natural recipes, so you will be left with ingredients to make more recipes, and won’t have to buy everything all over again.

*Costs accurate at time of writing this blog post.


  • You need to use a generous amount of essential oils to achieve a strong enough scent that will diffuse into your car and last a couple of weeks. The scent is most noticeable when you get into your car after it has stood for a little while (like a few hours in the parking lot while you’re shopping).


  • No need to keep buying car fresheners – you can just keep reusing and refilling your bottle as required. If you buy 10ml essential oils just for this recipe, one bottle should provide you with about 10 refills (using 20 drops at a time), which I bet is cheaper than buying 10 car fresheners.

  • Aromatherapy while you sit in traffic, or sing car karaoke on the open road.

  • You can play around with the scent by using different essential oils, and change it with each refill.

  • Most car fresheners are single-use items. By making your own, you are reducing your waste on this planet.


  • Sunflower oil: is a fragrance-free and cheap carrier oil which can be found in most grocery stores. The oil will help to retain the fragrance by impeding the evaporation of your essential oils so that they can last longer. If you put straight essential oils into your container only, it would all evaporate within days or hours.
  • Rosemary essential oil (EO): Stimulates and boosts cognitive function and focus. Other aromatherapy benefits include the relief of stress, headaches and respiratory problems (Buy here)
  • Peppermint essential oil (EO): Stimulates and boosts cognitive function and focus. Other aromatherapy benefits include the relief of stress, headaches and chest congestion (Buy here)

Need help finding these, or other ingredients? My shopping guide may help you. Are you new to essential oils? Please read how to use them safely.

Natural Car Air Freshener
Yields 10
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Total Time
2 min
Total Time
2 min
  1. 1 Tablespoon Sunflower oil
  2. 20 drops Rosemary essential oil
  3. 20 drops Peppermint essential oil
  4. Small funnel, or dropper
  5. Old car freshener container, or 15ml roller bottle.
  1. Pour sunflower oil into car freshener container using a small funnel or dropper, or make your own container using a 15ml roller bottle.
  2. Add essential oils into container.
  3. Shake well.
  4. Hang in car, and refill as required. If the oil hasn't evaporated, but the scent has faded, add more essential oils.
  1. Sunflower oil -> Any carrier oil.
Other essential oils with stimulant properties
  1. Eucalyptus, basil, pine, lime, grapefruit, lemongrass, orange, ginger.
Natural Nerd

Recipe variations

You can use any carrier oil, it doesn’t have to be sunflower oil. You can also use any essential oil combinations, but for obvious reasons avoid essential oils with sedative properties like chamomile, lavender, valerian, marjoram etc. Stick to essential oils that are stimulants. You can also use vodka or gin as the carrier, instead of oil. The freshener won’t last very long, so you’ll be topping up more frequently, but the fragrance will diffuse better.

Have you tried an alternative scent combination in your car? How long did it last? Please share your feedback in the comments below.