Introduction: Homemade Air Freshener Gel

Picture of Homemade Air Freshener Gel
I wanted to share my experience with making these easy and useful Air Freshener Gels.  A relatively low cost Do-It-Yourself room air freshener, you may have all the ingredients already!

I keep one in each vehicle and at my desk at work.

The total time it takes to make is about five to six (5-6) minutes and then twenty-four (24) hours to solidify.

Materials & Equipment:
  • Three (3) to four (4) jars, capable of holding 1/2-cup of fluid each.  I used four (4) clean and recycled baby food jars, and each jar holds 1/2-cup of mixture.
  • Food Coloring
  • Essential Oil or Room Fragrance drops (Can be purchased at a craft store, but I found one on sale for $2 at Wal-mart.)
  • Two (2) cups of water, divided into two 1-cup amounts
  • Four (4) envelopes unflavored gelatine (one 1-oz box)
  • One (1) tablespoon of salt
  • Kitchen equipment such as a whisk, a pan to boil the water and spoons (plastic or metal) to mix the concoction

  • Pour a few drops of food coloring of your choice into each jar.
  • Next, pour one (1) teaspoon (minimum) of essential oil into each jar.  You may want to add more if you desire a stronger scent emanating from the end result.  I did not use more than two teaspoons and was pleased with the one teaspoon result.

Boil and Mix:
  • Bring one (1) cup of water to a boil.
  • Add all four (4) envelopes of gelatine to the boiling water and whisk until dissolved.  (I estimate it dissolved in about a minute.)
  • After the gelatine dissolves, add the remaining cup of water and then the salt.
  • After the salt dissolves, remove the pan from the heat and pour into the prepared jars.  Try pouring the mixture into the jars within a few minutes of removing the pan off of the heat.
  • NOTE: Please be careful as the mixture will be very hot!  My husband held the pot with a steady hand for the photo.  However the second time I did this by myself, I made a mess everywhere and spilled the gelatine mixture on the counter.  You may want to use a funnel to put the gelatine mixture in the jars.
  • I used a broken clothespin to stir the gelatinous combination, but suggest using plastic spoons.  Use them quickly as the heat from the water could make them melt slightly.
Let the now fragrant gel mix solidify at room temperature for at least 24-hours.
Can you believe that's it?

The scent and solid mixture will disintegrate over time.  The one in my car has lasted over a month.  The one in my bathroom has lasted over a month but probably will be ready to clean out in another week.  I estimate that one jar would last from four to six (4-6) good weeks of scent dispersion. Make sure the lid is off the container to enjoy!

Thanks for reading and I hope you post pictures of your gels.
The original Pinterest pin for this is here: DIY Air Fresheners.


Jonathanrimbaud81 (author)2017-09-16

I make these myself, but being a guy the more feminine scents I found essential oil in didnt do it for me. So i use the knock off colognes from the dollar store. They are inexpensive and now my whole bedroom smells like Light Blue by D&G. Love it.

DebH67 (author)2017-06-20

I wonder if you could use peppermint to deter spiders & mice. And your room would smell good too!

TauseefN (author)2017-04-23

Smells good . I used gelatin powder salt perfume

TauseefN (author)2017-04-23

I made this , the smell is okay.

y2y (author)2016-09-25

Gelatine is not so popular in my country but Agar agar are available at almost every grocery stores, can I used it instead? Also did you ever experient such mushroom or algae grow over the gel?

sannwi (author)y2y2016-10-04

Yes y2y :) I actually just watched a video from a guy that made his with Agar :)

jscheibly1 (author)2015-12-07

i am trying to make these for xmas gifts for everyone, with their favorite scent, and their favorite flower to put in there. Im still trying to get down how to make the fake flowers i put in the jar visible if i use food coloring, so far blues or turquoise is too dark to make out any decorations in the jar. any suggestions?

Also, is it just me or does the gelatine smell terribly when heating it up and mixing it?

another thing, any creative ideas on how to decorate the jars for gifts? ive tried etching on them, using decorative tape to tape the o-ring of the lid of the jar. but the etching doesnt stay and the tape just makes the whole thing look cheap and home made.

LoriP49 (author)jscheibly12016-08-20

You could glue a flower in before you add the liquid. Maybe tacky glue - be sure it is very dry before adding liquid because its hot of course.
You could do layers of colors using the same scent throughout using no color at the bottom so you can see the flower. Too add on layers you probably have to let the one completely set then add the next very cautiously so as not to mix.
As to decoration, the jars are so small and with a flower inside there really isn't room - BUT you said you tried to etch the outside. How about doing some decorative etched cut out on the top? Just be sure to put something plastic between jar and top when jel is done so the scent does not escape.
You could even put like a fabric square tied with a ribbon on the top as part of a gift basket - put the scent on the bottom or a tag.

MissEvitts (author)jscheibly12016-05-05

I know Christmas is over, but I'm going to answer your questions anyway.

You don't have to use food colouring at all. If you really want to though, dilute it with water first. i.e. mix colouring and water half and half, then use a single drop of that mix.

It's not just you, gelatine smells disgusting.

I don't know what style you want, or what an o ring is, but if you do a google image search for "decorate gift jar" you'll get millions of results. Most of them are on pinterest though...

sekhar.tripuramallu (author)2015-05-02


I made this gel air freshner as you said.

I kept the jars with the prepared liquid in fridze for 6 hours, they are solidified.

But when I took them out, they turn into liquid after some time.

Do I need to add more gelatin powder to the liquid.

Please guide me thru

did you get any insight on how to fix this problem?

get back to me @

SamuelB60 (author)jscheibly12016-01-26

I studied a good bit of chemistry back in college... Now, I did not do anything with gelatin, but we did have labs where things had to set at room temperature SLOWLY because freezing or rapid cooling in a fridge would "shock" the substance and make it fragile or susceptible to quick degradation. I'm thinking that the previous commenter had a poor result because they put it in the fridge. Try letting it set at room temperature for 24 hours and you may have more desirable results.

SamuelB60 (author)jscheibly12016-01-26

I studied a good bit of chemistry back in college... Now, I did not do anything with gelatin, but we did have labs where things had to set at room temperature SLOWLY because freezing or rapid cooling in a fridge would "shock" the substance and make it fragile or susceptible to quick degradation. I'm thinking that the previous commenter had a poor result because they put it in the fridge. Try letting it set at room temperature for 24 hours and you may have more desirable results.

BettsSheppard12 (author)2015-10-09

I havent made these yet, but i am going to fairly soon, and the melting issue, i would think maybe take a long air tight sandwhich bag an fill with water, freeze then wrap around the jar and place in a shallow bowl might help keep it from heating and keep from get all liquity. Just an idea

angela2125 (author)2015-07-14

when I let mix solidify do leave the lid on are off?

I left the lid off. It will solidify faster if you put it in the fridge. I hope it came out okay!

I am definitely going to try this -- it look like saving a lot of money and i can choose to make it environmentally friendly compare to those commercially made by china hehe

ata5 (author)2015-01-23

Hi I made this for my car, but after a couple of hours when I went back to check it, the gelatin had melted and is now water is there a way to prevent that from happening.

ramos.saenz.1 (author)ata52015-05-05

Try using agar instead of regular gelatin, once solidified (at 32 C, 90 F) it will stay firm up to 70-85 C (168-185 F)

DeandrasCrafts (author)ata52015-01-29

In the summertime where I live, the ones I put in our car would completely melt to liquid. It wasn't water though, just gelatin. I'm curious if the gelatin didn't get the chance to solidify in the first place. The gels don't come out looking like water when they melt per-se, but if they were solidified to a gel in the first place, then I would imagine they would go back to a gel like substance under cooler conditions.

A very interesting phenomena occurred to you!

tellfile (author)2014-10-22

Thanks for putting this site up. Didn't know you could do this at home. Now I can save some money! I couldn't get mine to put out a very noticeable scent, even with strong peppermint oil after being in the room 2 or 3 hours. So, I had a big jug of "GainApple Mango,Tango" fabric softener and mixed 4 tablespoons of that in a new batch. I could smell it 5 minutes after putting it in a musty smelling storage room. It makes a beautiful smelling fragrance. I noticed it jelled in about 12 hours. That big jug ought to last 5 years in making jell fresheners!

I only use one package of gelatine, 1/2 teaspoon of salt , a drop of dish soap and mixed it all up in the jar itself stirring with a spoon. I didn't have to use food coloring, the fabric softner was already colored blue.

I got the below 1/2 pint Ball canning jars at Walmart that had sort of an elegant look compared to normal canning jars. I think the wider opening helps out on dispersing the scent. If scent is too strong, just adjust by partially sliding the flat lid over the top.

dirtdevilbruce (author)tellfile2014-12-08

@tellfile I would like to know how long did your fragrance last using the fabric softener and do you think that any other gain fabric softeners would work too and also why did you use dish soap, and what kind of dish soap did you use, thank you

tellfile (author)dirtdevilbruce2014-12-09

Hello, I put a jar of it in a church basement bathroom that always had a musty mildew smell. After a little over a month I can now see some of the glass in the bottom of the jar and the bathroom still smells as good as it did when I first put it in there. The jelatine can be easily cleaned out of the jars with boiling water. I don't know the reason for the salt and soap, I just saw it on a video where they said to add it. I think I used Dawn dish soap and recently only used a half pack of jelatine in these small jars so I could put more fabric softener in. After a month in that moist bathroom, there was no trace of mold, or discolor in what was left in the jar. Yes, any other fabric softener might work if it has a good strong scent, or maybe the one I used just happened to have certain ingredients that made it work so well with the jelatine. Who knows!

cennie.daines (author)tellfile2015-04-19

So what was the exact ingredients to make your version of the Homemade air freshners, using the small jars as you did.. Thank you !

debbiekyleboyer (author)2015-03-29

Where do you all get the cute jars for these?

When I wrote the instructable, I had saved the baby jars from previous years of having children. My youngest is now four and we FINALLY threw away the ones I saved for all those years, but I still have several that I know I can make more air freshener for.

lissa.masters (author)2015-03-24

I have not made them yet, I plan to... but with the whole melt and spill issue... I am thinking (though some still would spill, I suppose, if tipped over), what if you were to just punch holes in the metal plate that goes under the jar top rim? They are pretty inexpensively replaceable with the Bell canning jars and would keep from losing an entire container at a time and what a mess! Just a thought!

ssharma32 (author)2015-02-15

For how long can it last if the lid is not open

bindasvikas (author)2015-02-07

It looks very attractive in first look, Same like world's best selling gel perfume, But when i placed it in my car , after one hour it get melt and spilled outside and spoiled my car interior and my clothes.what to do to make it solid even in summer condition. it does not happen to other gel perfume.

So here's the thing - When you make something yourself, you know what ingredients go into the product. The purchased one should have a list of ingredients that show you what go into the product. I would bet that there are ingredients in the purchased one that make it so that it stays solid in heat.

Because we are using gelatin as the base for our own scented product, it will melt in heat. I'm sorry if you misunderstood this from the tutorial. This is a do-it-yourself product and it will not have the other chemicals that the store bought one has. I hope that helps you understand the situation.

bindasvikas (author)2015-02-07

First one is world's best selling and second one is made by me, but main problem in Our is ReMelt in Heat Condition .

bindasvikas (author)2015-02-07

First one is world's best selling Gel perfume and Second one i made. But Main Problem in our is ReMelt in Heat condition.

Mary JL (author)2015-01-01


drgradybooks (author)2014-10-03

I made these and so far so good! My first batch (following another recipe) molded within a week. But these appear to be going strong. Thank you for sharing this!

Thank you for sharing! Got any photos to show off?

gduren-d'audiffret (author)2013-03-13

Just tried this and the some of the gelatin stayed clumped is this normal? I'll give an update in 24 hours

maybe if you mix gelatin with a small amount of cold water first, before adding to hot water,it may keep the gelatin from clumping. Kind of like when making a cornstarch slurry for gravy.

One of my batches had clumping gelatin that wouldn't separate while whisking the gelatin in the boiling water.
I completely removed those clumps with spoons AFTER trying to separate them with the wisk. I hope the recipe still worked for you!

LindaLVanMeter (author)2014-09-13

Since I have spent a small fortune on the Batteries and canisters of the Misting ones. Then I have the refills for the plug in type. Wow it gets expensive every month. I am caregiver for my 92 Year Young Mom and we have 2 furbabies, I love to have a nice aroma greeting our company, and I love fresh smelling air, this is a wonderful Idea. Plus you can change your scent whenever you want. I will be making tonight. Thank You so much for sharing and the tutorial

DizzyDeeCrafts (author)2014-05-28

I'm going to make these today! I'm also going to experiment putting glitter in my mixture! Thanks so much for sharing this superb "ible"!

Katielea143 (author)2013-12-01

When letting the gel mixture sit to solidify, should the lid be off or on?

antoniraj (author)2013-11-03

colorful and nice looking...

tray2129 (author)2013-09-17

Can you use flavored gelatin if that's what you have on hand at the time?

DeandrasCrafts (author)tray21292013-10-14

I think you could, but the chance of that "going bad" or molding would be MUCH greater because of the sugars. I'd be interested in trying it, but in my house, we can't waste flavored gelatin. =)

Amyrosie (author)2013-08-06

That's a wonderful idea! I did this last week-end and I had a blast! :) Only thing I noticed is some of the fragrance oil stays on top of the gelatin. Maybe because I added glitter and miniature fimo fruits in each of my jars? Also, I didn't use salt, I used vodka. I read somewhere else that people had mold problems with salt.

Anyway, thanks for sharing :)

Pane-Bistecca (author)2013-02-25

Wow! What a great ides!! I will try this!!

Thank you!

t800 (author)2013-02-25

I always wondered what is in those commercial ones. Thank you very much for posting!

DeandrasCrafts (author)t8002013-02-28

Thank you for your comment and for looking!

Latona38 (author)2013-02-28

What a neat idea! I'm gonna try this.. Thanks for sharing!

About This Instructable




Bio: I crochet and do crafts. Oh and I also work full time and have a family to take care of. I'm on here because ... More »
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