How To Make A Vanilla Air Freshener Spray

Some people love those store bought air freshener sprays.

Not Me.

I think they’re too strong and they make me want to cough. I’m just not a fan. Sorry.

So what do I do if I want to add a welcoming scent to a room? I make my own vanilla air freshener spray instead!

air freshener spray 2

This recipe came about quite by accident for me. I started out trying to make a spray with some essential oils but just wasn’t finding a combination that satisfied me. The more I thought about what scent I might enjoy, I realized, HEY, how about plain old vanilla? I like plain old vanilla. I like it a lot!

I tinkered around (which thankfully is fun for me) and came up with this DIY vanilla air freshener spray. It’s sooo much nicer than the fake flowery smells of the store bought sprays.

It’s super simple too! Just combine the cheap imitation vanilla extract with some water and you’re good! Be sure to use a Mist Bottle not a spray bottle. A spray bottle shoots out too heavy of a stream and you’ll get things around the room wet. Spritzing some of this spray up into the air with a mist bottle works perfectly.

DIY Vanilla Air Freshener Spray

You will need:

  • 1 cup Water
  • 3 Tablespoons Imitation Vanilla Extract
  • Mist Bottle

Combine the water and the vanilla extract. Place in a mist bottle. To use, spritz some of the spray up into the air as needed to add the warm cozy smell of vanilla to the room.

How about you? What’s your favorite scent to freshen a room?

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  1. With Thanksgiving just a few days away, I thought about making this air freshener/deodorizer with spruce essential oil. That will give me the combination smells of a Christmas tree and baking Christmas cookies. Yum! I’ll let you know how this experiment turns out. Another plus: I don’t keep alcohol in my home, and that’s usually added to homemade fresheners. I’m not sure if vanilla extract has enough alcohol in it, but I guess we’ll find out!

  2. I found this recipe a few months ago, and it’s been a blessing to me! I’ve given up on artificial fragrances, (migraines, & just health in general) which meant no more vanilla air fresheners or candles for me haha. I use vanilla essential oil, or Madagascar vanilla extract! So so so good! Thank you so much for posting this!

    1. Yes, you could use vanilla essential oil, but I believe you would only need several drops of it and would not need to use as much as when you are using vanilla extract in the mixture (the type of extract used for cooking).

  3. Was looking for a cost effective way to liven up my studio here in Thailand without buying aerosols. The girl next door was a bit of a baker and gave me a whole bunch of spices and what not when she moved out included were spray mist bottles (believe it or not).
    I remember my mom using it in the refrigerator for a nice smell…a little googling later and found your post.
    Tried it and voila….loving the sweet and subtle smell my studio space has.
    Thanks heaps 😘

    1. I don’t think this mixture is concentrated enough (because it is just lightly scented water) to work in an oil burner.

  4. Thank you for sharing this! Making the spray was quick and super easy. Smells great! Vanilla is my favorite. I won’t purchase anymore air fresheners from now on. Making my own. Also, you know those little beads that you can add to your load of laundry? Those work too, mix them with warm water so that they dissolve and whaaaalaaaaa πŸ™‚

  5. I am wondering if you could empty out one of those little plug in bottles and make a mix like this and fill the bottle and plug it back in to get the smell all of the time.

    1. I think this would probably work Cindy. I have seen people make DIY refills with essential oils and water so I think the vanilla extract and water might work too as a plugin refill.

    1. Probably just a few minutes, but that’s what I like about it . . . I don’t like smells that linger around for too long so it works for me.

  6. I wanted to know: I’m really sensitive to anything imitation (eye issues), how much alcohol free vanilla extract would you use to water and do you think it will last as long?

    1. Forgot, guess it would be expensive, but is there a way to make it so it’s not, hmm… Lol… I do well w/ the smell of lemon juice, don’t know much about lemon oil…

    2. Well I usually tell people to start with less if you are experimenting because you can always add more, but you can’t take it back out once it’s in! So perhaps you could start with just 1 or 2 tablespoons to a cup of water, especially if the extract you are using is higher priced and you want to keep your spray economical. If that is not a strong enough scent for you keep adding a few more teaspoons at a time until you are happy with the scent. I think it would probably last just as long as the regular vanilla extract too.

    3. Are you allergic to alcohol? Because if you aren’t then alcohol wouldn’t be an issue. Alcohol free vanilla is made with glycerin.

  7. Can I make this without the risk of attracting ants? I say this because of the sweet smell of vanilla, but since it has no sugar I don’t know if it is risky

    1. I have not had any problems with this spray attracting ants or other bugs. Using the mist bottle makes a really fine spray which helps.

    2. You might want to try something that contains a peppermint . Maybe a peppermint extract. I heard that the smell of peppermint isn’t liked by ants?? or mice?or roaches?? Anyways one of those critters don’t like the smell.

  8. This sounds fantastic! This may seem like a silly question but do you know if it attracts ants? Or stain carpets? Or does the water dilute it enough that this won’t happen?

    1. I have not had a problem with any staining or attracting of ants or anything. I use this spray primarily in my kitchen where there are mostly hard surfaces. I usually mist it up high in the air and let it filter down, and it’s a very fine mist that has not caused any unwanted side effects.

  9. We had run out of some vanilla air freshener. There was no brand name on the bottle, so I ‘googled’ vanilla air freshener and your site popped up. I immediately went to the kitchen and mixed up a batch and refilled the bottle!! Amazing!! So glad I found your site.

  10. I’m moving into my apartment soon and want a nice scent to spray in my room and bathroom! I love this!! Do you know how long the mixture lasts?

    1. Mine has been lasting for several months with no problems. If you make it with distilled water or filtered water, that helps it last longer too.

    1. Imitation vanilla is what most people are buying when they buy vanilla at the grocery store and don’t even realize that in fact it does say “imitation” on the bottle. But you can also find smaller bottles that say “real” vanilla and those are quite a bit pricier. The flavor of the “real” vanilla is a little richer, but if you’re using it for an air freshener, the flavor doesn’t matter.

    1. Lisa – you can certainly use real vanilla in this recipe, however the real vanilla is more expensive. If you use the imitation vanilla it keeps the cost of the recipe a little more budget friendly.

  11. My favorite scent, especially for kitchens and bathrooms, is lemon. Can you think of any reason you couldn’t substitute lemon juice?

    I think this is a great idea. I have some lung issues and strong, artificial scents bother me.

    Thank you!

  12. I refill a empty non-aerosol hairspray bottle for my mist bottle for my plants. You could paint or decorate that bottle and it is one more way to recycle.

    1. That’s a great idea! That reminds me that I’ve re-used the mist bottles from the body fragrance sprays too. They’re perfect for misting, but sometimes the fragrance smell lingers in them. To get rid of a lingering smell in a bottle I’ve filled them with water and a few teaspoons of baking soda and let them soak, with good results.

    1. Hi Loretta – Sometimes it can be a challenge to find mist bottles in the store. In the past I have been able to find them at a beauty supply store (Sally Beauty Supply), but lately they have been out of stock at my local store. They can also sometimes be found in the personal care area of larger stores where the travel size products are sold, but the down side of that is they are usually a small 2 oz size. You can buy them through Amazon too. (You can click on the link up above that says “mist bottle” to see an example).