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If you are anything like me, you love a fresh, clean, home and car. Truth be known, I’d be embarrassed to tell you how often I neglect my own car’s interior and exterior.

Car cleaning is not my favorite chore. Today though, we’re going to have some fun! These tips and tricks for how to make your car smell good naturally are going to be easy and effective!

Our cars may not always be clean, but hey, they can at least smell clean, right? 😉

Part of the mission and passion here at Wholeness Haven is to promote a more natural living approach. We believe our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit and should be cared for with love.

That’s why we enjoy finding ways to replace harmful chemicals with natural alternatives that work just as well, if not better!

Sound good? Let’s get creating!

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How To Make Your Car Smell Good Naturally

*This post contains affiliate links. Buying something through my links won’t cost you a penny more but I may earn a small commission. Your support helps keep the lights on here at Wholeness Haven and allows us to give to charities and ministries that need our help! Thank you!! ❤️

Is your car smelling a bit stinky or stale these days? Don’t miss these 7+ easy DIY ideas for how to make your car smell great…naturally!

how to make your car smell good with DIY air fresheners

We all want a fresh-smelling car, but that can be a challenge to maintain — especially if you’re often toting around pets, kids, or even food you’ve grabbed while on the go. But many of the car air fresheners you buy have problematic ingredients, like volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

So, if you want to keep your car smelling nice, you may want to consider going the DIY route.  

Here are just a few fun (and cheap!) ideas you can try to make your car rides a little less funky and a lot more fresh!

1. Organza bag DIY car air freshener

Organza bags are cheap and come in a fun variety of colors which makes them the perfect way to add a little odor-busting power to your car with personality.

It’s incredibly simple and versatile too! All you need are the bags (linked above, if needed) and your choice of what to fill them with.

A few of the options we’ll cover here are:

  • essential oils
  • scented beads
  • fresh herbs

If you are looking for a pure, high-quality essential oil that’s affordable, we LOVE Plant Therapy oils in our home and think you will too. We usually buy direct from Plant Therapy because of their amazing sales but you can also find them on Amazon.

If you are interested in Young Living, my friend Shell is a partner for them and would love to help you! Visit her Young Living partner page here or her blog where she shares fresh ideas on how to use essential oils and more here.

Here’s what you will do for each option:

Organza bag with rice and essential oils

  • Start by adding a 1/4 cup of uncooked plain rice into a bowl or plastic ziploc bag.
  • Pour 5 to 20 drops of your favorite essential oils into the rice. (If blending oils for a custom scent, add only a few drops of each)
  • Mix rice and oils until well blended
  • Add rice to the organza bag of your choice
  • Cinch the bag closed and hang from your car vents or rear view mirror for a custom-made DIY car air freshener

This is definitely one of the simplest ways for how to make your car smell good without artificial scents and unhealthy chemicals.

Note: The frequency of refreshing will vary depending on your preferred strength of scent

perfume placed near bath brushes and aromatic candles
Photo by Rachel Claire on

Organza bag with scented beads

This option is almost identical to the rice version but with a little twist.

You use aroma beads instead of rice. Simply add your essential oils or favorite perfume, and follow the same steps as the rice bag.

Another thing people like about the beads version is you don’t have to use essential oils.

You can use any scented beads you love the aroma of; for example, a lot of people prefer using laundry scent boosters like Downy Unstoppables.

love summer grass leaf
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on

Organza bag with dried herbs

Do you love the invigorating smell of mint or the soothing scent of lavender? Try drying your favorite herbs or flowers, mixing them with 1/4 cup of epsom salt and filling your organza bag with the blend.

To kick the scent up a notch, add some complementary (or same) essential oils.

black lamborghini vehicle steering wheel
Photo by Charles Kettor on

2. Clean your cloth upholstery with baking soda and essential oils

After my husband’s truck was tragically totaled in 2021, we needed a vehicle he could use for his 45-minute commute to work.

The catch was, we didn’t want a car payment because the truck was paid off.

We ended up with a used car that belonged to a family member who had passed away. This car had been mostly sitting for awhile, not being used.

I bet you know what that means! Yep, that’s right! Stale odors and squeaky belts. 😁

I used my friend Michelle’s natural carpet freshener recipe and it worked like a charm! I chose to add more essential oils because I’m a sucker for things that smell good!

In my case, I used sweet orange essential oil because, to me, it smells so fresh and inviting.

All you have to do is apply the mixture to your car’s cloth upholstery, let it sit anywhere from 1 hour to overnight and vacuum it up.

Voila! This is easily one of my top tricks for how to make your car smell good, but don’t forget to try it on your home carpet as well. You’ll love the results.

3. DIY wooden air fresheners

Green DIY wood owl air freshener for car

If you love crafts, then you are familiar with those fun wooden cut-outs of various shapes and sizes found at hobby stores and dollar stores everywhere.

Brittanie from Simplistically Living has taken those and created a unique way to make your car smell great. They are so simple and inexpensive to make that if you are looking for something creative, I highly recommend you try these.

All you need is a few basic materials and a little time. Refreshing the scent is easy as pie too!

more ways to make your car smell great from around the web

I’m always amazed by people’s creativity. There’s a DIY online out there for everybody!

But when I came across Herchel’s post, “Homemade Car Air Fresheners You Can Make In A Weekend,” I knew that I had to share it with you! She has so many great ideas for any budget and anybody!

If you have kids, these are fun projects to do together.

Need more inspiration? Take a look at these natural and effective ways to eliminate odor in your car, courtesy of Say Insurance. Don’t forget to take a look at their blog post, “Natural Ways to Keep Your Car Smelling Great,” for all the details!


Each of these ideas for how to make your car smell good naturally are simple, effective, healthier than store-bought, and very inexpensive.

Whether you love the smell of your favorite essential oils or prefer the odor-absorbing power of charcoal instead, there’s no reason you can’t make your next car air freshener a fun DIY!

  • Do you have a favorite from this list?
  • Have you ever made your own home or car air fresheners?

Related Reading: 8 Great Ideas for How To Make Your Home Smell Good Naturally

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below! And as always, I genuinely appreciate you sharing this post with anyone you think will enjoy. Thank you so much for your support! ❤️

Love Headed Your Way,


Sharing Is Caring! ♥ Thank You!


    1. Hi Molly! It’s great to see you! I agree with you; a car that smells nice is always nice! Thank you for your kind words of encouragement. I appreciate you. 😊 I hope these ideas work brilliantly for you if you try them!

  1. Finding natural and plastic-free air fresheners is such a challenge. I have tried the rice an essential oils in a jar but it didn’t work for me. I do like the organza bag idea. I think I have a couple of them around the house. Maybe I will give it a try. Thanks for the ideas.

    1. Hi Michelle! It’s wonderful to hear from you. Thank you for sharing your thoughts! ❤️ You’re right; it is definitely a challenge to find natural and plastic free air fresheners of any kind these days. Plastic itself is everywhere!

      I’d really love to hear what you think of the organza bags if you try them. I think the trick is finding the right level of scent to match everyone’s taste. Some only want to absorb odors – while others want to really smell the fragrance too. (I’m the latter, personally) Will you come back and share your thoughts with me if you put these in your car? I’d love to hear!

      Thank you again for stopping by. Blessings to you and your family!

  2. Very useful tips and wonderful that they are all natural . It is always makes your day when you to get into a fresh smelling car and helps enjoy your journey! Thanks for sharing these ideas.

    1. Nisha!! I’ve missed you, friend. It’s so nice to see your name in my comments. 😊 How are you and your family? I pray each of you are well!

      You’re right, it is refreshing to step into a car that smells fresh and delicious! I hope if you try any of these ideas that you enjoy them. As always, I am sending you so much love from my whole heart. Thank you for stopping by!

    1. Aren’t these great ideas? I thought you would be one who might enjoy them. If you do try them out, I’d love to hear what you think. I’m one of those people who don’t just want odor absorbing powers; I like to smell the fragrance too. Certain essential oils just take me right to that ‘happy place.’

      I meant to add your info for Young Living under the Plant Therapy information. Shucks! I will be editing this post soon and including how people can get in touch with you if they enjoy Young Living oils. Sending you my love, sweet friend. ❤️

      1. I’ve updated the post to include your information. 😊 Sending love to you, my friend! You’re always on my heart! ❤️

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Holly G.

Hi, I'm Holly! Lover of my husband, the Lord, nature and animals (especially cats!) I'm an INFJ (MBTI) which means I love deeply and care about the well-being of those around me and in this world.

I hope to hear from you at one of my sites. God bless! ♥

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