Remember those gel cone air fresheners every mom stuck in the bathroom when we were kids? I was always fascinated with the way the spongy gel shrank and shriveled up as it diffused its artificial scents and phthalates into the air. Yum.
We found and adapted a simple DIY air freshener project in our copy of DK Books’ STEM Lab to make something kinda like that, except this gel air freshener is completely non-toxic and made from food and natural ingredients. It’s even compostable when it’s time to discard it!
What You’ll Need:
- 1/2 cup cold water
- 2 rounded teaspoons powdered, unflavoured gelatin (one packet)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup hot water
- 2-3 drops food colouring (optional)
- 10-15 drops of your favourite essential oils
- small glass jars — glass ramekins or baby food jars work well
Pour half a cup of cold water in a small bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin on the surface of the water and allow it to sit for 3-5 minutes. Add the half cup of hot water and the salt, then stir until all the solids are dissolved. The salt is not optional – you need this to keep your air freshener from going moldy.
Next, add a couple of drops of food colouring and mix it in. Feel free to add a little less or a little more food colouring to reach your desired shade. Then add 10-15 drops or more of your favourite essential oil and mix. I suggest you start with 10 drops then add more if the scent isn’t strong enough for you. Make sure everything is well mixed then pour the scented mixture into your glass jars.
Pop the jars into the fridge until the gelatin sets, about 2-3 hours. Once the gel is solid, leave the jars out wherever you’d like a burst of natural scent. These should last for at least 2-3 weeks. Once they’re all dried up, clean out the jars and make a new batch. Because these are made from all organic ingredients, it can even be composted!
Each cup of air freshener “mix” makes two jars, so what you see here is a double batch. If you were wondering what oils I used, the orange gel is scented with grapefruit and sweet orange essential oils. I keep one of these in my car’s cup holder, and it makes my car smell amazing even with the kids’ wet boots, lost snacks under the seat, and trips to the dog park. The purple ones are lavender, perfect to gently scent my bedroom.
These cute air fresheners only take about 10 minutes to make, and I love that they don’t contain any toxic ingredients. Having said that, you should still definitely keep these out of reach of little ones who might mistake them for dessert!
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