Pinbusters – DIY Air Freshener Refills

Have you ever wondered if the stuff people post on Pinterest is true? Well I have, and I test them all so that you don’t have to, ’cause ain’t nobody got time for that.  Click here to check out all of the pins I haven taken on. You might be surprised by some of the results!

This might be the most straight-forward pin I have ever tested. Noses don’t lie, says The Dog. This pin talks about all of the harmful chemicals in those liquid air freshener refills, calling out no brand in particular. I have a bunch of the Air Wick air fresheners around my house, and I often buy the refills, which aren’t cheap. Therefore, while my motives were fiscal in nature, and I don’t think my face is going to melt off from any of the chemicals, it certainly cannot hurt to eliminate some chemicals from my life. (Click here for a link to the Air Wick ingredients page – propane?! Maybe I should be a little more concerned about these chemicals!) The idea is that you can reuse the little containers by filling them with your own concoction, namely some watered down essential oils.

Did you catch that? I am pretty sure a fourth grader could tell you that water and oil don’t mix. Water and essential oil? I am guessing the same result. Still, though, I wanted to know if I could fragrance my house with it. First obstacle was locating essential oils. I searched online, and found that CVS sells essential oils at a reasonable price, so I went there. Apparently the merchandise offered online is not the same as what is offered in the store. Perhaps your website should inform customers of this, CVS!! After wandering the aisles for 15 minutes, I asked an employee, who provided the sage advice that I should just order it from them online. “But I need it NOW!” I pleaded. The girl clearly did not understand my essential oil crisis, and had no sense of urgency about the matter. I was raised to do the best with what you’ve got, and the “ethnic hair” section of CVS yielded this:

Tea tree (ahem) essential oil.

The tutorial tells you to remove the cotton wick which looks very much like a cigarette or a filter or something.  This was harder than it sounds, without destroying the wick at least, because if you tear the thin plastic holding the cotton together, you end up with this:

Possibly effective, but hardly reusable. In my infinite wisdom, I decided to pry off the plastic part holding the wick, using my favorite tool – the butter knife. I put some of my “essential” tea tree oil (which does smell very minty) and “mixed” it with water. I put everything back together and plugged it in in the kitchen. In another empty refill container, I said what the heck, and poured in some Febreeze.

At no point in college or law school, when I was honing my funneling skills, did I think it would come to this. I am officially old. I placed the Febreeze-filled one in the bathroom.

Results? Nothing. If I got my sniffer up really close I could smell a faint scent, but after a few days I could smell nothing. I didn’t really feel comfortable that I had conducted a true scientific experiment, though, for obvious reasons. Therefore, I finally located some real essential oil (at Michael’s, of all places, but of course it is in the store and not available online) which specifically says it is for fragrance purposes.  I put some of my cinnamon essential oil into a holder, “mixed” it with water, and had this:

The olfactory results were … well … underwhelming. I left it in for a few days and could smell absolutely nothing. In a final last ditch effort to get some results, I filled the entire container with nothing but essential oil. The final result can best be described as “eh” with a shrug. I could smell it, but WAY less than my actual Air Wick refills. Also, from a cost effective standpoint, the essential oils are more expensive if you use an entire bottle to fill the container, so unless your goal is merely to fragrance your home without exposure to the chemicals, this doesn’t make sense.

Finally, I consulted my field guide for all things … well, just all things – Wikipedia. Oh yeah, things are going along just fine until you get to the Dangers section. In fact, skip ahead to it. Apparently everything on earth is designed to kill us, in one way or another. I would like for my tombstone to read, “Her house smelled really good all the time,” so I will continue to buy my chemical-laden refills. And life goes on.  (Note: The Boy was completely and utterly blissfully unaware that any scent-periment was going on at our house.)

15 thoughts on “Pinbusters – DIY Air Freshener Refills

  1. Ahhh poopsicles. I was getting ready to try this one this morning (that’s how I stumbled upon your blog) because mine have all run out but I didn’t want to waste a bunch of pricey oils in my attempts if it wasn’t going to work. Thanks for being the guinea pig and testing it for us! Guess I’ll be looking for glade refills on sale haha

  2. This actually works great with the bath and body works burners! I had one single and one double and my house smelled amazing, in my opinion those burners work the best so i really was saving money since their refills are so expensive

  3. You are so funny and it’s great to see how the experiments turn out (I swear, not making fun! ^^) Gonna keep coming to get more do/don’t do tips!

  4. the dollar tree has huge bottles in different scents, but make sure to read the bottle to make sure it is for a warmer (for safety reasons!) mine aren’t as strong but do much better than the essential oil experiment and are definitely cost effective as one bottle can refill about 30 times at a dollar a bottle!

  5. I get the refills at Costco for Air Wick. Today, with the “coupon” discount of $3, I got 7 refills and another plug in oil warmer for $9.69. Not too shabby! I walked into my house and smelled nothin’ but good!

  6. I would like to know what the heck she read in Wikipedia that deters her from using the essential oils? We aren’t going to drink it or rub it into our skin–that’s what the Wikipedia dangers are talking about! Simply use gloves if you’re that concerned. The article stated they were mostly for aromatherapies which is basically what you’re doing here which is the added benefit of the scent.

  7. Mix the essential oil with OIL, not water. Try that. They cannot be diluted in water without some kind of solubilizer. I might suggest some kind of oil that doesn’t have much of a scent, maybe grape seed. Will experiment myself.

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