'It lasts for hours!' – This homemade air freshener smells amazing and you only need 3 simple ingredients

If you're looking for an easy way to fill your home with long-lasting scent, try this viral trick

A kitchen with two vases of flower on a marble island
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Now that winter's nearly here and we're spending more time indoors, fragrancing your home with delicious aromas becomes more important than ever. Unlike spring and summer when you can easily crack open a window for a fresh breeze or fill your home with sweet-smelling flowers, scenting your home during winter requires a bit of extra effort, but we've found a genius solution we think you'll love. The best part? You only need three ingredients that you almost certainly already own. 

This homemade air freshener has been doing the rounds on social media with users praising the super simple DIY for its long-lasting scent. For anyone fed up with expensive plug-in diffusers or overused candle scents, this solution is a reliable way to make a home smell good and it lasts for hours. What's more, it takes less than 5 minutes to make using household items you probably have inside your kitchen right now.

To find out more, I spoke to home blogger Elizabeth Grace of Dream Home Making who knows a thing or two about scenting a home. 'In the captivating world of home fragrances, the recent viral hack has ignited enthusiasm among DIY enthusiasts,' she explains. 'Here we delve into the intricacies of this olfactory masterpiece, explore its efficacy, and uncover alternative aromatic alchemy.'

What is the fabric softener and salt air freshener hack?

a white entryway

(Image credit: Marie Flanigan)

As the name suggests, this genius homemade air freshener trick uses fabric softener and salt, plus a little rubbing alcohol, to make a bowl bursting with a delicious scent. All you need to do is fill a bowl with coarse sea salt followed by a tablespoon of rubbing alcohol, and then a capful of your favorite laundry softener. Once you've given the contents a mix, you simply leave on a surface to fill a room with its scent. 

It might not sound like much, but Elizabeth Grace at Dream Home Making says this trick is one of the best home fragrances when it comes to long-lasting results. 'Beyond its simplicity, what sets this DIY apart is its longevity,' she says. 'The marriage of fabric softener and salt creates a fragrance matrix that clings to surfaces, subtly releasing bursts of scent over an extended period. This longevity not only makes it cost-effective but also eliminates the need for frequent reapplication, a testament to its practicality.' 

As a scenting idea, this nifty DIY also has limitless potential for customization. 'With a
myriad of fabric softener scents available, you can tailor the fragrance to suit your mood or the season, transforming your home into a fragrant canvas that evolves with your preferences,' notes Elizabeth. 

How does this home scenting trick work?


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This home scent hack may just look like the sort of concoction you make as a kid, but a little more thought - and science - has gone into these contents. 'The crux of this aromatic revelation lies in the combination of fabric softener and salt,' Elizabeth explains. 'Fabric softener, with its viscous composition, serves as a base, imparting a lingering essence to the mixture. Meanwhile, the salt acts as a subtle catalyst, enhancing the diffusion of fragrance molecules and ensuring a sustained and nuanced scent profile.' 

What alternative home fragrance DIYs are there?

a bathroom with green tiles and white walls

(Image credit: George Barberis. Design: Bright Designlab)

If you're not sold on this idea you'll be pleased to know there are plenty of other DIY ways to scent your home, including lots of natural ways to make your home smell like fall this time of year. We understand that a concoction of chemicals might not appeal to everyone, or perhaps you're looking for a more aesthetically pleasing way to scent your home. If so, we have you covered. 

'Consider exploring essential oil diffusers, where the pure essences of nature infuse
your surroundings with therapeutic fragrances,' suggests Elizabeth. 'Mix and match oils like lavender for tranquility or citrus for an invigorating vibe. For a touch of botanical elegance, however, potpourri reigns supreme. Dried flowers, herbs, and spices, artfully arranged, not only emanate a delightful aroma but also serve as aesthetically pleasing décor.' 

Elizabeth also advises simmer pots, too, and if you're wondering what to boil to make your house smell good, she has some ideas up her sleeve. 'Use aromatic ingredients like citrus peels, cinnamon sticks, and herbs in water on your stovetop,' she says. 'This method not only envelops your home in a fragrant embrace but also adds a visual element with its simmering spectacle.'

When it comes to DIY home fragrance, it's all about experimenting (safely) with scents you love using methods that suit your space and family set up. 'Whether you opt for the viral fabric softener hack or venture into alternative aromatic realms, the goal is to create an olfactory symphony that resonates with the essence of your home,' says Elizabeth. 

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Lilith Hudson
News Editor

Lilith Hudson is the News Editor at Livingetc, and an expert at decoding trends and reporting on them as they happen. Writing news, features, and explainers for our digital platform, she's the go-to person for all the latest micro-trends, interior hacks, and color inspiration you need in your home. Lilith discovered a love for lifestyle journalism during her BA in English and Philosophy at the University of Nottingham where she spent more time writing for her student magazine than she did studying. After graduating, she decided to take things a step further and now holds an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London, with previous experience at the Saturday Times Magazine, Evening Standard, DJ Mag, and The Simple Things Magazine. At weekends you'll find her renovating a tiny one-up, one-down annex next to her Dad's holiday cottage in the Derbyshire dales where she applies all the latest design ideas she's picked up through the week.