If your home or car air freshener seems to last only a couple of weeks before it gives out, you are not alone. Most commercial air fresheners don’t last long meaning you’ll spend a fair amount of money on replacements. So how to make air freshener last longer?
There are two ways you can make your air freshener last longer: either use less of it or make your own DIY air freshener. Below are some tips on how you can do both of these things to save money on air fresheners.
1. Let in fresh air
Indoor air is dirtier than outdoor air. The concentration of pollutants from cleaning supplies, aerosols, VOCs and recycled air can cause serious indoor pollution. Add to that the fact that we spend a lot of time indoors and it’s easy to see why researchers consider indoor air pollution to be a major health risk.
The enclosed space also leads to build up of odours. If you find you have to keep your air freshener on all the time or keep spraying it around the house because it always feels stuffy, some fresh air might just solve the problem.
If you are worried about pollen and allergens blowing in through the open windows, consider using an air purifier.
In winter, when most people tend to keep their windows closed and stale air builds up inside the house, it’s still a good idea to open the windows even if it’s just for half an hour to recirculate the air inside the house. This way, you won’t find the need to keep using your air freshener.
2. Track down odour sources
Instead of trying to drown out the bad odours with air freshener, try to figure out where the smell is coming from.
Common causes of musty or foul smells include water leaks, mould, dead rats or birds in the attic or basement or a stinky wet mop. If you dry your laundry inside especially in winter, it can also cause a musty odour.
Make sure the garbage bin is properly secured, get a self-cleaning pet litter that traps smells and make sure the smell is not coming from outside.
If that doesn’t work, clean out the cabinets, fridge, closets and any crawl spaces. You just might be surprised by what you find lurking there and causing a stink.
3. Flush your car AC
If your car has a musky foul smell that won’t go away no matter what air freshener you use the issue is most likely your AC system.
It’s common for mildew and even mould to develop in there especially if you use the recirculation mode a lot.
Flushing your AC using a disinfectant like Lysol should help. Here’s a short video explaining how to do it.
4. Put it on low
If you have one of those automatic air fresheners with high, medium and low setting, keep it in either medium or low.
As long as there is no active source of bad odour in your home and you regularly let in fresh air, then the low setting will usually be enough to keep your indoor air smelling nice and fresh. Use medium in winter when you don’t open the windows as much. Reserve the high setting for when you want to mask temporary strong odours such as cooking smells.
Your air freshener will last much longer.
5. Use a homemade air freshener gel
Ditch those spray air fresheners that last just a couple of weeks and make your own at home. Not only will it last longer, it’ll also be cheaper and healthier.
You can start with this easy-to-make air freshener gel. Take two glass jars (each should hold at least half a cup of water) and add a tea spoon of your favourite essential oil in each. You can also add food colouring for aesthetics.
Then boil a cup of water in a pot and add 4 envelops of gelatine. Stir until it dissolves and then add 1 tablespoon of salt and stir again.
Pour the mixture into two jars and then leave it for 24 hours to solidify. You can place the jars on your desk, in your car, in the bathroom or anywhere else. The gel will gradually release the essential oil aroma for between 1 and 2 months before you need a new jar.
If you’d rather not use an air freshener gel, there are plenty of other essential oil air freshener recipes that work just as well.
6. Use activated charcoal
Activated charcoal is one of the cheapest and most effective ways of reducing bad odours. You don’t even need to buy one of those expensive bags with fancy designs and descriptions like ‘original bamboo activated charcoal’.
Any activated charcoal will do. You can even get a large bag at your local aquarium store and put it in your own DIY bags.
Leave the bags of charcoal around your home to absorb smells.
The best part is that you can re-activate the charcoal when it starts to loose strength by leaving it in the sun for a few hours.