Replace Scented Sprays With Essential Oils

Replace scented sprays - A can of fragrance being sprayed with a red circle and slash through it

By Mark Piatt

Updated on January 8, 2021

Should you replace scented sprays with essential oils?

You may want to replace scented sprays with homemade essential oil sprays after reading this article. 

More and more I am using my essential oil sprays to freshen up my home instead of those cans of spray fragrances.  I think you will find that making an essential oil spray is a good healthy scented spray alternative.  


Information provided in this description is for educational purposes only.  For possible treatments of physical or mental diseases, please seek a trained and licensed health professional.  Enchanted Aromatics is not responsible for any adverse side effects resulting from the use of any suggestions, products, preparations, or procedures mentioned or from following historical uses of essential oils.

Why I stopped using commercial fragrance sprays

I am asthmatic and sensitive to certain smells such as bleach.  I discovered that many of those fragrance sprays were also aggravating my asthma. 

Now that I have mostly stopped using those cans of spray fragrances, the specific essential oils I am using do not seem to cause my asthma to flare up.

There are a few exceptions, such as lavender essential oil.

Plus, I was concerned about the chemicals being used in those spray cans. 

Since I use a small bottle (2 -4 ounces) to make my sprays, I can use my all-natural essential oil spray anywhere and at any time.  And, since I make my essential oil sprays, I know exactly what is in my sprays. 

I can even carry one in the car, or even in my pocket.  Homemade essential oil sprays are a great solution for the restroom, the kids’ room, or whenever you want to freshen up your space.  Plus, these homemade sprays are relatively inexpensive to make.

Many people are concerned with indoor pollution.  They create their essential oil sprays out of fear because of the harsh chemicals being used in those other alternatives. 

Also, many people who make their essential oil sprays choose the spray based upon what aroma’s they like, the mood they may want to create, or just to mask or remove an offensive smell. 

What are essential oil sprays?

An essential oil spray is nothing more than water that has a small amount of essential oil added to it, and maybe an emulsifier to help the oil and water mix. 

I do not know about you, but I just love when I walk into a home and it smells so inviting and relaxing, or perhaps, smells like fresh flowers. 

Compare that to when you use one of those spray air fresheners in your restroom.  With a commercial air freshener, you probably find it difficult to breathe and the aroma is, well, artificial and just not any good.

A homemade spray made from natural essential oils will make your home smell inviting and relaxing, not like a chemical factory the way some of those spray cans smell.  And best of all, you will know that you are not inhaling toxic chemicals from your homemade spray. 

Why use a homemade essential oil spray to replace scented sprays?

Great variety of aromas.

A Variety of Artisan Aromatics essential oilsThere are over 200+ essential oils for you to choose from.  This is good because not everyone enjoys the same type of aroma.  With over 200 aromas to choose from, you are sure to find one you like.  Plus, you can mix essential oils to create custom aromas. 

Essential oils can be broken down into 9 popular aromatic families.  Here are some of the more popular essential oils in each family:

Aromatic FamilyEssential oils

These types of essential oils have a cooling sensation and can be described as fresh. Some of these essential oils can produce a medicinal effect.
cajeput, camphor, cedar leaf, cedarwood, cypress blue, eucalyptus, fir balsam, frankincense, helichrysum, ho wood, hyssop, juniper berry, marjoram, myrtle, niaouli, origanum, rosemary, sage
Citrus scents

These essential oils have a fruity smell that is fresh and zesty.
bergamot, bitter orange, blood orange, grapefruit, laurel leaf, lavandin, lemon, lime, mandarin, neroli, petitgrain, sweet orange, tangerine, tea tree, yuzu

These have an earth / soil / leafy / grassy type of aroma that is fresh and musky. These types of aromas are usually described as grounding and calming.
patchouli, sage, vetiver, carrot seed, clary sage, patchouli
Floral Scents

These types of aromas usually smell like flowers. They have a sweet, fresh aroma that may be a bit more subtle compared to other aromas.
bergamot, blue tansy, clary sage, chamomile, geranium, helichrysum, jasmine, juniper berry, lavender, lotus, neroli, rhododendron, rose, yarrow, ylang ylang

These are green earthy scents that may smell a little like grass. These are sometimes associated with kitchen herbs.
angelica root, bay laurel, chamomile, clary sage, eucalyptus radiata, fennel, hyssop, marjoram, melissa, oregano, rosemary, sage dalmatian, tea tree, thyme, yarrow

These essential oils tend to be strongly aromatic with a cooling sensation that smells sweet and fresh.
mountain mint, pennyroyal, peppermint, spearmint, water mint, wintergreen

These have a tree sap type of aroma.
benzoin, elemi, frankincense, myrrh, peru balsam

These essential oils have a warm, exotic type of smell. Essential oils in this category can be quite aromatic.
allspice, anise, black pepper, cardamom, cassia, celery seed, cinnamon, clove leaf, coriander, cumin, ginger, ho wood, nutmeg, sweet fennel

These scents tend to be grounding and stabilizing. They have a fresh, natural, and earthy type of aroma.
cedarwood, cypress, fir, juniper, myrrh, patchouli pine, sandalwood, sage, spruce, vetiver

Help set the mood in your home.

Besides making your home smell good, numerous studies have concluded the aromas from essential oils can alter your mood.  These essential oils can decrease stress, reduce anxiety, and depression, and are good for uplifting your mood.  Some essential oils can help to increase your self-esteem and can help to increase your confidence.  If you need an extra boost, other essential oils can energize you and increase your energy levels.  So, if you need a quick picker-upper, or you need to calm down, there is an essential oil that has you covered.   

Essential oils are better for the environment compared to commercial fragrance sprays.

Essential oils do not have added chemicals to disperse them, stabilize them, or create or alter their aroma.  For this reason, they are better for the environment compared to commercial spray fragrances.  Also, pure essential oils do not have polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), while many commercial fragrance sprays do.  These compounds are found in coal, crude oil, gasoline, and many of their by-products, some of which are used in commercial fragrance sprays. 

Many fragrance sprays release Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) which are harming our ozone layer. 

But essential oils are not perfect.  Essential oils also emit VOCs, but in smaller quantities compared to commercial fragrance sprays.  But, if you have a diffuser constantly running in your home, or for many hours throughout the day, you may be exposing yourself to harmful VOCs. 

For more information, please see the following studies and articles:

The effects of evaporating essential oils on indoor quality” 

Comparison of the neurotoxicities between volatile organic compounds and fragrant organic compounds on human neuroblastoma SK-N-SH cells and primary cultured rat neurons” 

Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs)” 

What is wrong with commercial spray air fresheners?

These sprays have all kinds of nasty things in them that you do not want to be breathing in.  According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), they found that 75% of products that list “fragrance” contain hormone-disrupting chemicals called phthalates.  This chemical is a carcinogen that has been banned in many countries.  The United States is not one of these countries. 

To help the fragrance evaporate faster and disperse its aroma into the air, many of these sprays use a solvent such as isopropyl alcohol. 

To disburse the aroma from the can, these sprays need to use an aerosol.  They usually use compressed gas such as butane, isobutane, or propane to accomplish this.  These chemicals can cause breathing issues, nausea, and headaches.  Also, these fluorocarbon propellants are contributing to global warming.

In case you were wondering between 50% – 90% of the total volume of your aerosol spray can is the aerosol itself.  

In the United States alone, over 4.5 billion aerosol cans are produced each year according to the Consumer Specialty Products Association.  So every time you push that little button on any aerosol, you are raising your carbon footprint.  

Most of these sprays use synthetic fragrances that are made up of hundreds of chemicals that have been associated with serious health risks.  Most of these ingredients and chemicals are undisclosed.   One such chemical called diethyl phthalate is now found in 97 percent of Americans.  This chemical has been linked to sperm damage as described in the following study

Other chemicals found in these products can trigger asthma, eye, and throat irritations, and skin disorders.

Did you know that a law passed in 1973 called the “Federal Fair Packaging and Labeling Act” requires companies to list their cosmetic ingredients on packages?  But what you may not know is that fragrances are explicitly exempted from this requirement, including listing ingredients that pose a potential health risk.  These chemicals are considered proprietary.  When you look at the ingredients and see “fragrance”, that one fragrance may be made up of over 2000 chemicals and compounds. 

Many of these chemicals not only pose health risks but also pollute our environment.  

And finally, how about the can itself?  After you are done with it, what do you do with it?  If you are like me, it goes straight into the trash.  That is roughly 4.5 billion cans getting thrown away in the United States each year!

Sure, some of those spray cans have a powerful aroma, but is that powerful aroma worth the risks?

How do I make an essential oil spray to replace scented sprays?

If you want to replace scented sprays with homemade essential oils sprays, it is pretty easy.  Aroma and scents are very individualized.  You never know when you may find that scent you just absolutely love.  Of course, the best blend is the one you like.

Keep in mind that some essential oils blend well with other essential oils and some essential oils do not blend well with certain types of essential oils.  Just look around on the internet to find what blends with what or feel free to experiment.

When blending essential oils, you will usually have one that is the primary aroma while the others are complementary aromas.  With that out of the way, let us get started.

1.  Choose your bottle

Three glass spray bottles for essential oil room sprays

I usually use a small 2-ounce plastic bottle but a better choice would be a glass bottle that is around 2 -4 ounces.  Keep in mind that essential oils can degrade over time if stored in a plastic bottle, especially citrus-based essential oils.  Because I use a small bottle, my essential oils are not in them long enough to degrade.

On a side note, I use a 16-ounce plastic spray bottle to make a peppermint spray for keeping spiders away from inside my tool shed.  I make the spray in the early spring, and it will last until fall.  For the last 2 years that I have been doing this, I have not had any more spider issues in my shed.  I would like to think it is my peppermint spray.

2.  Make your spray

Since your goal is to make an all-natural spray, I recommend you use purified or distilled water. You do not need added chemicals in your all-natural spray. 

For every ounce of water, add between 10-12 drops of essential oils.  I would start with a smaller amount and if that is not strong enough, you can always add more to your next batch. 

Also, certain essential oils can overwhelm other essential oils.  Cinnamon and clove are two such essential oils.  If you are blending essential oils, you may want to add a smaller amount of these two essential oils. 

Remember that water and oil do not mix.  Before you use your spray, give your bottle a quick shake.  This is how I use my mixes.

3.  Emulsifier

Although not required, you may want to use an emulsifier. Essential oils are hydrophobic, which means they do not blend with water.  Since water and oil do not mix, an emulsifier helps the essential oil and water bind.

The following are the best essential oil emulsifiers for room sprays: unscented Witch Hazel, Alcohol (like vodka), and unscented Liquid Castle soap.    

Use a 1:1 mixture.  In other words, if you add 20 drops of essential oil, add 20 drops of your emulsifier.  When using witch hazel, fill about half the bottle with witch hazel, and the other half with water.  Leave room to add your essential oil and a little room so that when you shake your bottle, everything mixes.

How long will my essential oil spray last?

Every essential oil is different.  It also depends if you are using your essential oil for therapeutic purposes or the aroma.  If you are using your essential oil for the aroma, their life span will be much longer.  For therapeutic purposes, essential oils have a life span between 2 – 15 years, depending on the essential oil. 

As far as how long the aroma will last in the air, that also depends on the essential oil.  Some essential oils such as cinnamon can linger around all day.  Some essential oils, such as citrus oils, can linger for 10 – 60 minutes. 

When compared to those commercial fragrance sprays, a homemade essential oil spray will typically last for a shorter period.   Our homemade sprays do not have added ingredients to help the smell linger for longer periods.

How much will my homemade sprays cost?

Every essential oil cost’s a different amount.  It also depends on who you purchase your essential oil from.  Remember the adage, “you get what you pay for”.  If you are making an all-natural spray, do not skimp on the essential oil and purchase the cheapest one you can find on eBay.  Because essential oils can be expensive to make, they are targeted by unscrupulous distributors and sellers.  Most of these inexpensive oils have been diluted with a carrier oil such as coconut oil, use synthetic chemicals, or are mixed with cheaper essential oil.

Some essential oils are relatively cheap ($10 for ½ ounce), while others cost hundreds of dollars an ounce (rose oil). 

Keep in mind that a half-ounce of essential oil has about 300 drops.  As an example, let us say you purchase a ½-ounce bottle of cedarwood for $12.99.  That is about $.04 a drop.  In a 2-ounce bottle, you would use around 20 drops.  That is $.80 of essential oil.  Pretty cost-effective.

But let us say you use a more expensive essential oil such as myrrh which costs around $59 for ½ ounce.  That is about $.20 a drop.  A 2-ounce bottle using 20 drops will cost about $4.00.  Still, relatively cheap.

Myrrh is a powerful essential oil and will linger in the air longer than cedarwood.  Using a ½-ounce bottle of essential oil in a 2-ounce bottle, you will be able to make 15 batches. 

Most essential oils will fall within this range. 

Are essential oils safe to use as a room spray?

Even though essential oils are natural, does not mean they are safe.  There are risks.  Each essential oil is unique and carries its risks.  Most of those risks apply if you are ingesting your essential oils, which we do not recommend.  Essential oils can cause skin irritations, respiratory symptoms, and even hormone-related symptoms. 

There is no information to make a list of safe and “not safe” essential oils since each person is different and is affected by different substances.  If you plan on using a specific essential oil, look around on the internet concerning risks for that certain essential oil. 

Many essential oils are not safe to use around the youngsters since their lungs and other vital organs are not fully developed.  Pets can be especially sensitive to essential oils, especially cats.  Check out our article “Essential Oils For Odor Elimination” which includes a table showing some of the essential oils that are safe and not safe for your pets.

Here are some general guidelines you should apply when using essential oils:

  • Do not take internally unless directed by a medical professional.
  • avoid applying to eyes, sensitive areas, or mucous membranes, or applying undiluted to the skin.
  • Pregnant women, nursing mothers, and children should not use essential oils without first consulting a medical professional.
  • Keep essential oils from, and out of reach of children.
  • If you are experiencing adverse side effects, stop using immediately.
  • The information on this website is not intended to be used in the diagnoses, treatment, or mitigation of any physical or mental illness.
  • The statements on this website have not been evaluated by the FDA.

Related Questions

How to make room spray last longer?

If you mix half your bottle with witch hazel, the oil and water will combine, allowing the scent to last a bit longer. 

If you add more drops to your bottle, your spray will be more potent and will last longer.

Instead of just spraying in the air, try spraying on your towels.  The aroma will linger on the cloth.  You may have a pleasant surprise when you use your towel and can smell a hint of your essential oil aroma. 

Can I make a body spray with essential oils?

When making a body spray, you want to mix isopropyl alcohol with the mixture.  For every 2 ounces of water, add 1 teaspoon of alcohol.  Keep the number of drops of essential oil the same, approximately 20 drops.


I hope you enjoyed this article and learned a little something. 

Enjoy making your essential oil sprays and have fun.  Stay Safe.

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