How to Make an Air Freshener for Your Car

No matter how careful you are with your vehicle, odors can pollute your car’s interior and linger for days or weeks. A car air freshener can disguise and even eliminate many of these odors and leave your car smelling fresh and clean.

While you can purchase air fresheners in auto parts stores and other retailers, it’s often better to make your own. If you or your regular passengers suffer from allergies, a homemade air freshener is the best solution. Using essential oils, you can choose a fragrance that suits you and that can be hung from the rearview mirror just like the fresheners from the store.

Part 1 of 4: Create a template for your car air freshener

Materials Needed

  • Cardboard (small piece)
  • Non-toxic cardboard and fabric glue
  • Scissors

Here’s where you can get creative by making your own design for the air freshener. It can be as simple or as elaborate as you like.

Step 1: Draw or trace a design on a piece of paper. If you plan on hanging the air freshener from your rearview mirror, keep the design small so it doesn’t obstruct your view.

Step 2: Cut and copy the design. Cut out the design and copy it on to the cardboard.

Step 3: Cut the template out. Cut out the template from the cardboard.

Part 2 of 4: Choose a fabric

Materials Needed

  • Fabric
  • Non-toxic cardboard and fabric glue
  • Scissors

Step 1: Select a fabric pattern which fits your design. It must be large enough to make two pieces of the pattern.

Step 2: Fold the fabric in half. This way, you can make two identical fabric cutouts at one time.

Step 3: Pin the template to the fabric. Make sure your pins aren’t extending out past the edge of your template.

You could damage your scissors or have a poor cut line if you have to work around pins.

fabric cut out of a tree

Step 4: Cut out the pattern on both pieces of fabric. Cut out the fabric pattern carefully so your finished product looks as polished and professional as possible.

Part 3 of 4: Glue the pattern together

Material Needed

  • Non-toxic cardboard and fabric glue

Step 1: Apply glue. Apply the glue to the back of the fabric pieces or one side of the template.

Follow the instructions on the glue to make sure it will adhere properly to your cardboard. Typically, you’ll need to apply the fabric when the glue is still wet.

gluing fabric to cardboard

Step 2: Place the fabric so that it is smooth. Place the fabric piece on the cardboard and smooth it out so there are no wrinkles or bumps.

Step 3: Apply the second piece. Turn over the cardboard and apply the second piece of fabric the same way.

Step 4: Allow the air freshener to dry. It is best to let the glue dry overnight or longer. Don’t proceed until the glue is fully dry.

Part 4 of 4: Apply essential oils to the air freshener

Materials Needed

  • Essential oil
  • Hole punch
  • Yarn or ribbon

Step 1: Select an essential oil that you like. Common scents are citrus, peppermint, lavender, lemongrass, and floral scents, but the options are virtually limitless.

adding essential oil

Step 2: Apply essential oil to the air freshener. Do this by putting about 10 to 20 drops on each side.

Make sure to move around the freshener and not apply all of the oil in one place. Let the oil soak into the fabric on one side of the air freshener before flipping it over to apply on the other side.

Step 3: Lay the air freshener on a table or shelf to dry. The air freshener’s brand new scent will be quite strong so you may want to let it dry in a well-ventilated area such as a garage.

hole being punched into freshener

Step 4: Punch a hole. Once the freshener is dry, punch a hole in the top to hang the air freshener from.

Step 5: Loop yarn through the hole. Cut a piece of yarn or ribbon the desired length and loop it in the hole.

Tie the ends together and your air freshener is ready to hang over the rearview mirror. A homemade air freshener is a great way to make your car smell great and add a personal touch as well. If you don’t want to hang the air freshener from your rearview mirror, gearshift, or turn signal lever, you can place the air freshener under your car’s seat. Also, if the scent is too concentrated inside your car, put the air freshener in a ziplock bag with only part of it exposed. Be sure to have a mechanic perform an odor inspection if your car smells of exhaust, since this can be very dangerous.


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