7 Natural Ways to Freshen Any Room

Updated: Jun. 02, 2023

Ditch the chemicals and use a natural air freshener to get rid of stinky smells.

There are lots of smells welcome in my home, like a slice of homemade apple pie or a bouquet of freshly picked flowers on the kitchen table. But stinky odors like garbage, burnt popcorn and more can fill the house up as well. For stubborn, unpleasant scents that stick around, use a natural air freshener to clear the air.

Here’s how to fix your trash can smell.

1. Pomander Balls

I gift pomander balls during the holiday season, but they’re more than a sweet homemade gesture. The all-natural air fresheners can easily be made by piercing citrus fruits with a handful of cloves, and rolling the final product in a spice or two, like cinnamon and ground nutmeg. Hang pomander balls in a closet to ward off any stale air or pesky smells.

2. Essential Oils

Essential oils are natural deodorizers. Aside from filling up a diffuser with your favorite scent to freshen up your home, there are other places that can benefit from the sweet smelling oils. You can use them to get rid of that stinky trash can smell. Cover a wooden clothespin with a few drops of essential oils, then clip it to the car air vent to bring about a fresher, more pleasing scent in your vehicle. Did you know you can cook with essential oils, too?

3. Baking Soda

There are so many ways to clean with baking soda that it’s hard to keep track. It’s perfect for masking odors, too. You can create a baking soda air freshener spray by combining 1 tbsp. baking soda with water in a small spray bottle. The baking soda might not have a perfume-like smell, but it’ll absorb the unwanted odors and make them disappear completely.

4. Coffee

Whether you brew coffee on your own or frequent a local hangout (these are the best coffee shops in every state), there’s no denying the benefits of daily coffee drinking. Aside from giving us a daily boost, coffee also works as a natural homemade air freshener. If a room is super smelly, place bowls of freshly ground coffee around the area—be sure to place the bowls strategically, like on top of a floor vent so that the aroma travels faster throughout the room. The scent of the coffee grounds will block out any bad-smelling odors.

5. Vinegar

There are few things worse than the smell of a bathroom-related incident, or any other similar restroom odor. Vinegar is a loaded liquid that will not only eliminate these types of scents, but also keep the air as clean as possible. Place vinegar in a cup or bowl, allowing it to sit for a few hours in the contaminated area. The acetic acid will disinfect the air and get rid of the bacteria while taking away any foul smells that try to stick around. Here’s how to clean with vinegar.

6. Fragrant House Plants

Keeping fresh flowers in every room will certainly add a pleasant scent to your home. But those weekly bouquets can get expensive. For a more cost-effective option, adopt some fragrant house plants, such as jasmine or lavender. And in the kitchen, grow an array of herbs—like mint or rosemary—to keep odors away. These are the best herbs to grow in your kitchen.

7. Natural Candles

Candles serve a dual purpose: They reduce odors and give your home a cozy, inviting glow. Look for natural varieties made with bees, coconut or soy wax—and scented with essential oils. You can get natural candles and other eco-friendly household products from the subscription service Grove Collaborative.