Boys STINK: Natural DIY Air Freshener

I live with 4 boys. No, really. Ish, Smalls, The Baby, and our cat, Socrates. I am totally and completely (and hopelessly) outnumbered.

And no, I am not going to try for a girl, so please don’t ask.

What was I saying? Oh. Right. I live with a gaggle of boys. And boys don’t just smell. They stink. And it’s not just body odor! It’s weird food combinations, the fact that they lick each other’s feet (seriously. It’s so gross, y’all!), and…well, they’re boys!

air freshener

If it weren’t for air fresheners, I’d be drowning in stink…the shoes alone! GAG!

While I’ve never been a fan of plug-in air fresheners, I have been known to use Febreeze to get odors out…at least I used to. And then I started doing some research. The Environmental Working Group conducted tests the amount of contaminants in Febreeze, and found this:

Febreze Air Effects released 89 air contaminants, the third highest number released by any product tested. One of these chemicals is linked to cancer, another to neurotoxicity. See below for detailed results of EWG’s air pollution test of this school cleaning supply.

Additionally, Proctor & Gamble only lists these ingredients on the label: Odor eliminator, water, fragrance, non-flammable natural propellant, quality control ingredients. I’m sorry, but that doesn’t tell me a whole heck of a lot!

Imagine my shock when I discovered that there are more than 80 known air contaminants in a can of Febreeze…yet there are only 3 disclosed ingredients. This just doesn’t make sense to me.

Let’s take a look at some of those ingredients, shall we?

  • BHT – Neurotoxin, endocrine disruptor, immunotoxicity, non-reproductive organ system toxicity, skin eye and lung irritator
  • Acetaldehyde – Causes cancer, toxic to reproduction and development, immunotoxin, non-reproductive organ system toxin, skin, eye and lung irritator
  • “Fragrance” – A neurotoxin, immunotoxin, and allergen
  • Propylene Glycol – Causes cancer, allergies, toxic to immune system, accumulates in the system, non-reproductive organ system toxin is classified with “enhanced skin absorption” and irritates the skin, eye, and lung
  • 1,3-Dichloro-2-propanol – Carcinogenic (a.k.a. causes cancer)
  • Limonene – Allergen, immunotoxin and skin, eyes and lung irritator
  • Methyl pyrrolidone – Toxic to reproduction and development, allergen and immunotoxin, non-reproductive organ system toxin and skin, eyes and lung irritator
  • Alcohol denatured – Linked to cancer, developmental/reproductive toxicity, organ system toxicity and skin, eyes and lung irritator
  • Butylphenyl methylpropion al – Allergen, immunotoxin and skin, eyes and lung irritator
  • …and there are So.Many.More.

I am so glad that I haven’t touched a can of Febreeze in over 5 years…which is good since it doesn’t actually eliminate odor-it just masks them. Not cool, Febreeze. Not cool. 

But I know that some of you still have a few cans lurking in the back of your closet. Do your family a favor and responsibly dispose of it, and then make this totally safe, natural alternative air freshener. It not only smells better than that other stuff, it scores better on the “yuck” scale, too.

DIY Air Freshener

  • 10 ounces distilled water
  • 10-20 drops Essential Oil (I love Purification for this, but citrus oils also work well to freshen a room)
  • 1 Tablespoon baking soda

Grab a spray bottle (I really love this one), a small funnel, and a spouted mixing bowl. In your mixing bowl, combine your baking soda and essential oil, and gently mix together with a metal or wooden spoon. Slowly pour in your water, and stir to combine.

Put the funnel into the neck of your spray bottle, and gently pour your mixture in. Screw on your spray nozzle, give it a quick shake and you’re good to go!

BONUS: Keep Your Washing Machine Clean

AND, as an added bonus, purification does wonders for smelly laundry. Just add 5-6 drops to each load to keep both your machine and your clothes smelling fresh. Until your kids wear them again. I can’t help you there.

And, if you’re a boy mom like me (I honestly don’t know if girls smell since I don’t have any), you seriously need to get yourself a bottle of purification. Or ten. Luckily, you get a bottle as part of the Young Living Premium Starter Kit that has all of this goodness:

young living essential oils

What’s the stinkiest thing in your house?

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  1. brittany ashmore on September 16, 2015 at 11:35 am

    What a marvelous idea! I need to be doing this at home!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you!!!

    • Brea on September 16, 2015 at 11:53 am

      You’re welcome!!

  2. Lindsay on September 16, 2015 at 2:50 pm

    great recipe!! I am just starting to get into DIY non toxic products and will be saving this one for sure!

    • Brea on September 16, 2015 at 3:21 pm


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