Homemade Car Air Freshener

by Daisy


My car doesn’t smell bad to me, but someone was making a stink-face every time we had to go somewhere.

Enter child-labor. What we did:

Draw (or have someone draw) the motif of choice. Someone wanted a star. Cut out pattern and pin to felt of choice and cut out:


Make two:


Pin together and stitch around the edges with favorite colored thread. Leave an opening:


Soak a cotton ball (or dryer lint) with essential oil, 1/2 to 1 teaspoon:


Stuff in center of freshener-to-be:


Sew closed and secure thread:


Have someone choose favorite ribbon and sew on for a hanger:


To refresh, slip a dropper in between the stitching and squeeze in some more essential oil, or just pour some directly on the felt.

Disclaimer: This post may contain a link to an affiliate.

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Patti October 21, 2009 at 6:34 am

Great idea!

Ashley October 21, 2009 at 7:27 am

How long does the scent last, do you think?

Kirsten@Nexyoo October 21, 2009 at 9:40 am

This really is a good idea. Regular air fresheners can contain everything from benzene and formaldehyde to phthalates– definitely not chemicals you want to be breathing.

Jin6655321 October 21, 2009 at 9:42 am

How cute! It can also double as a Christmas ornament.

Granola Girl October 21, 2009 at 10:04 am

Love the child labor! Why out-source your child labor overseas when you can take advantage of it right there at home! 🙂

My someone LOVES to clean the floors now that he gets to use a squirt bottle to squirt the cleaning water all over (and I mean ALL OVER). Perhaps we will try some stitching as well.

Angela October 21, 2009 at 10:50 am

I think I just figured out what my students are making for christmas gifts this year. And we will be using dryer lint as I like the fact that we’re recycling and that it is FREE!!

Anachronism85 October 21, 2009 at 3:35 pm

Oh, this is wonderful! My sister and I make ornaments for every member of our family (it’s a tradition since we were old enough to put our hands on clay and have them traced). This is perfect for us to do this year! Thanks!!! 🙂

elsa October 21, 2009 at 5:12 pm

love this! wanting to do some stocking stuffers and this fits the bill! thank you for all that you share! love your blog!

Spring October 21, 2009 at 7:54 pm

What a super idea! I was just putting some drops of essential oil on the woodstove to freshen (and disinfect) the room. What a great way to bring the healthful and natural smell into the car. (I can’t stand those perfumed air fresheners!)

homemade serenity October 21, 2009 at 8:49 pm

Great idea! We rid our house of synthetic fragrances after our son was born and I’m always looking for ways to include homemade, wonderful, REAL scents into our house.

Mary Anne October 21, 2009 at 10:16 pm

It is sometimes frustrating to match the edges when sewing two items together.
An easy way to handle it is to draw the shape first on the felt. Pin two pieces together and sew all but the stuffing opening. and then trim a seam allowance or so out from the stitching and continue on as you said. Hate those lines? Cut the shape out of freeze paper and quick press it to the felt and the procede as above. If you don;t get it too hot it should come right off and be ready to fuse for the next one. Great idea. My grandson is ready to make some more. He is wanting to give them for Christmas. Makes me proud!

zorak October 21, 2009 at 10:43 pm

great idea! but the ribbon looked so small – did it actually fit over your rear-view, or do you hang it elsewhere? just curious. think i’ll have to put some of my own child labor to work this week…

Tomato Lady October 22, 2009 at 1:00 am

Thank you, Patti!
Ashley–Some essential oils’ fragrance lasts longer than others. It will really depend. Likely not as long as commercial air fresheners, but you can keep reapplying the oil. It makes more of an impact in a confined space like a car.
Kirsten–I think so, too!
Jin–I really hadn’t thought of that! Duh! on me!
Granola Girl–Ha! You know it! Liking the clean floor idea . . .
Angela–Great! Yes, necessity is the mother of invention (out of cotton balls!)
Anachronism85–Sweet tradition! Hope y’all have fun.
elsa–You’re sweet! Thank you!
Spring–That must smell so good! And yes, I agree about the perfumed things.
homemade serenity–Mmhm. There are enough unavoidable questionable substances without deliberately bringing more into the home.
Mary Anne–Wonderful tips! Thank you so much.
zorak–I actually hung it on the clothes hanger hook over the backseat door. I thought it was a little too big an ornament for the rear-view. Smaller than fuzzy dice, though . . . .

Kim October 22, 2009 at 10:39 am

I found your blog sometime ago and read a bunch of articles at that time, loved it saved it to my favs list and subsequently you got lost in the list, sorry! But in cleaning out my favs list I feel I have reconnected with an old friend! I love your site. I have already printed probably 10 recipes for various things, and plan to do the car air freshener as well. Just wanted to give you a shout out and thumbs up! Keep up the awesome job your doing!

Tomato Lady October 24, 2009 at 8:56 am

Kim–Thank you so much! We really appreciate it and it means a lot to hear from you.

Tammy June 10, 2010 at 12:33 am

I work in law enforcement and the ugly little pine trees have a nick name of “felony trees” because of their reputation for being used by persons trying to hide certain odors in vehicles…(it makes me feel suspect to even buy one)…this is a lovely alternative and much more innocent looking!! (LOL)

Kelly @ NJ Antiques February 28, 2012 at 8:24 am

That is adorable! I need to try to make one. I’ve been meaning to make my own car air freshener for awhile.

Pam September 23, 2012 at 10:09 am

I can’t wait to make one for my car and closets. You could put the oil in a small spray bottle and refresh when the scent fades. Super idea! I just bought a Yankee cardboard one a few minutes ago, wished I would have thought of this earlier and kept my money. 🙂

Brooke December 13, 2012 at 2:13 pm

Sorry how long will they last ?

Daisy December 13, 2012 at 3:27 pm

Brooke–Depending on the essential oil (some last longer than others) it lasts about a week before needing more oil.

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