The home fragrance aisle at the store has become so overpowering with pungent smells that I avoid it entirely. Each different spray, diffuser, candle and plug-in emit chemically-created scents that do a poor, and even dangerous, job of mimicking nature. That is, instead of scenting the home with real ingredients like lemons (anti-bacterial) and tea tree oil (anti-fungal), these companies use chemicals that are carcinogens (cancer-causing), hormone disruptors, neurotoxins and more. For a starter’s list on getting familiar with chemicals found in common household products, check out this link. Many of us buy these products thinking they are something else entirely, a little alcohol mixed with some “fragrance,” when really they contain sometimes hundreds of toxic chemicals. Here’s my shout out that dousing my home in toxic chemicals is not appealing, even if they are packaged ever-so nicely. Despite the boycott, I was determined not to give up scenting my home entirely though. So, I started experimenting with different DIY projects. I’ve done the guess work for you and now, it’s your turn to learn how to make your own favorite scented sprays, steams and sticks. Leave behind the chemicals for good and get scenting your home the green way!

These options were picked because they take the least time and cost the least, as well.

1. You Don’t Have to Break Up With Sprays Entirely

A household favorite, fragrance sprays are convenient for on-the-spot treatments and a quick atmosphere boost. All you need is a bottle, preferably dark glass or at least aluminum. Essential oils work best in those options; in plastic, the oils are absorbed into the container instead of working to scent your home. You’ll also need at least one essential oil option and some high proof vodka. Mother Earth News details vodka’s cleaning and deodorizing potentials. However, the list misses out on vodka’s effectiveness for home fragrance bases. I have used equal parts vodka and water and added oils accordingly to make a wonderful multi-purpose home fragrance spray that can clean, too. The oils neutralize the vodka, leaving no alcohol smell behind. You can clean almost any surface in your home with this: your showers, sinks, counters, tables, floors; you can scent your entire home safely: spray on sheets, cushions, pillows and carpets.

This base mixture of vodka and water disinfects well on its own, but adding in some strong oils will boost its power to even fight grease. Try: Peppermint oil and tea tree oil for deep-cleaning action. Try citrus for a nice shine. Try lavender for a great before-bed pillow spray fit for gifts. Simply put the ingredients into a spray bottle using a funnel and shake the bottle. Store away from direct window or heat.

Please note, this recipe can also use baking soda instead of vodka. For a nice lime-scented spray that does just that, check here.

2. When They Just “Pop” Over — Use Quick Steams

Everyone has that person in their life for whom they tidy up before having over. You know, maybe wash the table, vacuum the floor, clean the washroom first type-of-person. Well, this recipe is designed for those of us who don’t give have the time, every time, to do a full tidying. The quickest way to freshen a room and create a lasting impression of your home is to have it smell welcoming and soothing. If you’re out of spray or just really in a rush, start boiling some water, pronto! Once boiling, turn off the heat and shake your favorite essential oil into the warm water. Turn on your stove fan or better yet, point a fan at the essential oil steams to have them disperse in your house faster and more effectively. If you have an extra few minutes, grab a snack and toss your citrus peels in this water-oil mix for an even greater boost of freshness!

3. Sticks For The Decor Lover

If you want a more permanent home fragrance, try out diffusers! You can make your own really easily with just a nice glass container or bottle and some bamboo or other skewers. Add your favorite essential oil blend with a carrier oil, like almond, to the bottle. Toss in your sticks and wait for the oils to soak in and begin diffusing. Make this match part of your living room or bathroom decor simply by adding a coloured ribbon around the bottle.

These DIY projects are easy, fun and effective techniques for switching your home fragrance routine. They are great for regular use, giving as gifts and helping you and your family live a life with less human-made chemical exposures.

Image source: Easy-Breezy DIY Lime Air Freshener