car air freshener alternatives

Car air fresheners depending on the brand can be either affordable or expensive, but most have one thing in common which is that they rely on chemicals for their scent. They are a quick way to freshen up your vehicle or they can be used to mask a foul odor. While these kinds of air fresheners are generally ok to use, they do produce some risk to your health and can even cause damage to your car’s interior if they melt or are exposed to enough heat. With that in mind, we have created a quick list of car air freshener alternatives you can use to help make your car smell great and keep it natural as well.

homemade air fresheners

Going the do-it-yourself route can also be a great alternative to those looking for a natural or non-chemical air freshener for their vehicles. This holds especially true for those who want a more customized scent to their vehicle. All you will need is a container and whatever scents you want for your vehicle. This can consist of just essential oils or a mixture of oils and your favorite citrus peels. The choice is completely up to you.

coffee beans

One quick way to get a nice aromatic smell into your vehicle is through the use of coffee beans. The scent of coffee will not only wake you up but will also help mask the foul odors. In addition to that, coffee beans also help you get rid of any aftertastes or bad odors you may have experienced prior. If you want to use these beans as an air freshener for your car you can either put them in a thin sock or put them in a mason jar inside your vehicle. You can even place a few of these jars or socks in key locations in your vehicle to further maximize the coffee scent.

orange peels

If a citrus scent is more your style you can choose to use orange or lemon peels for your natural air freshener. These are cheap and readily available and can easily be replaced once they start to degrade over time. Similar to how you would treat coffee beans you can put them in a small jar or a similar container but make sure you punch holes on the lid so their natural scent can easily spread throughout your vehicle. As a bonus tip if you want to make the peels last longer you can even add a little bit of salt into the container to help manage the moisture.

You do not, however, want to keep the peels around for a long period of time as they are still biodegradable and can be an invitation to other odor-causing organisms and even mold if not kept properly.

essential oils

Another source of scents you can’t go wrong with is essential oils. While the type of oil you choose is totally up to you, make sure that you choose scents that will not make you sleepy behind the wheel. Do your research and go with something that will keep you alert and awake like mint. The great thing about using essential oils is that you won’t need to use too much product as even a small amount will do the trick. Simply put a drop or two of the oil onto a cloth or tissue then position it near your air vents to maximize the spread of the smell.


A great pairing with essential oils is a diffuser or a dehumidifier. A diffuser will help effectively spread the desired smell across your cabin, while a dehumidifier will help remove the smell entirely. Ultimately it’s up to you if you want an odorless cabin or what smells of your favorite scent.


If you prefer your car to have a neutral to no-odor smell you can use a box of charcoal as your “air freshener.” While there will be no scent to speak of to spread around your car, charcoal does come with other benefits as it helps neutralize unwanted odors. That being said, if you want to mask an unpleasant smell then this is the go-to trick to utilize. 

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