The Best Air Fresheners for Every Part of Your Home

Our favorite is the Pura Smart Fragrance Diffuser for its ease of use and range of scents.

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best air fresherners

Even the cleanest homes can suffer from pesky smells that love to lingerstale pet odors, last night's stew, and musty closets are all big culprits. Plus, cleaning products don't always have inviting scents. The right air freshener can banish bad odors and infuse your home with welcoming hints of wildflowers or citrus. And for the fragrance-sensitive, deodorizers are useful tools for keeping your home funk-free.

To determine the best air fresheners, we devoted hours researching top-rated favorites and scouring ingredient lists. We considered a range of criteria such as longevity, maintenance, and scent. We also spoke to Melissa Maker of Clean My Space to find out how to get your home to smell like "nothing."

"I have come to prefer the smell of 'nothing' at home, because, to me, that's truly the sign of a clean home," says Maker. "If we use heavily scented products, we are generally masking odors instead of dealing with them." Maker's biggest tip? "Find the source of the odor first, deal with that, and you'll likely have way less cover-up work to do!"

You can program a consistent schedule for this plug-in device, or you can change the scent and schedule on the app at your whim. Whichever way you go, you'll be saving money by not perfuming an empty house.

Here, more fresh picks and air freshener recommendations below.

Best Overall Air Freshener

Pura Smart Fragrance Diffuser

Pura Smart Fragrance Diffuser


Who it's for: People looking for a customizable air freshener that's smart home compatible.

Who it's not for: Those who want a low-maintenance user experience.

This plug-in home accessory is a game-changer. The Pura Smart Fragrance Diffuser is controlled by an app that allows users to create custom schedules and adjust scent intensity with the tap of a button. Arriving home at 5? Schedule a start time of 4pm and stop wasting fragrance on an empty home. Despite the pricier initial investment, you'll save money on refills in the long run. You can even switch between two scents within the app. Want to feel energized? Calm? Come home to a house that matches your mood. You have a serious range of options to choose from, since Pura diffusers are also compatible with fragrances from Nest New York, Capri Blue, and Apotheke.

It also appears that Pura has thought of something else other plug-in brands haven't: a customizable, ambient color-wheel night-light. You'll also sleep with a clean conscience knowing that Pura's scents are 100 percent free of parabens, phthalates, formaldehyde, and propylene.

Type: Plug-In/automatic | Lifespan: 30 days | Room Size: 500-1000 square feet

Best Plug-In Air Freshener

Enviroscent Non-Toxic Plug-in Room & Home Air Freshener Kit



Who it's for: People looking for an eco-friendly air freshener that they can plug in and forget about.

Who it's not for: People looking for a cheaper option.

You'll hardly notice this plug-in air freshener, and that's good news. The sleek design doesn't clamor for attention like other bulkier plug-ins, and the clean scents (there are several to choose from) are vibrant but natural and subtle—no offensive and obnoxious synthetic scents here. Unlike other plug-ins, Enviroscent's are made of paper pulp and essential oils, eliminating all risk of leaks, flames, and messes. Not to mention, they're better for the environment too—they're certified by the Forest Stewardship Council for responsible forestry, and their products come in plastic-free packaging.

Type: Plug-In | Lifespan: 45 days | Room Size: Not listed

Best Automatic Air Freshener

Aera Mini Smart Home Fragrance Diffuser



Who it's for: People looking for unique scents and smart home compatibility.

Who it's not for: People looking for something more affordable.

With Aera products, you get sophisticated scents and sophisticated tech. Their scent catalog goes way beyond the general range of lemon and lavender, featuring fragrance blends like "Poetry" (suede and violet leaves) and "Feu de Bois" (smoky embers and driftwood). If you find their range of options overwhelming, you can take their "Fragrance Finder" quiz to pinpoint the scent that's just right for you. They even offer scents engineered for specific problems: cooking, pet odor, and so on. Plus, their hypoallergenic scents ensure that sensitive noses are safe to breathe the air. They use only the highest quality essential oils in their products, and offer complete transparency about ingredients.

The Aera Mini Diffuser uses sophisticated micro-droplet technology to disperse scent evenly throughout the room, avoiding scent "hot spots." They advertise 125,000 Aera droplets per the average aerosol droplet! With the app, you can control multiple devices, creating scent "schedules" to enliven or calm you, depending on the room or time of day.

Type: Automatic plug-in | Lifespan: At mid-strength settings running 10 hours a day, an average capsule lasts approximately 60 days | Room Size: 200-400 square feet

Best Spray Air Freshener

Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Room Refresher Spray

Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Room Freshener


Who it's for: People who don't need a permanent air freshener.

Who it's not for: People looking for a spray that will eliminate, not just mask, odors.

For an instant fresh feeling, reach for a bottle of Mrs. Meyer's Room Freshener. Made with essential oils and plant-derived ingredients, this spray does not contain the phthalates, parabens, or propellants that you'll find in similar sprays. Plus, it's packaged in a non-aerosol bottle, making it one of the cleanest air fresheners on the market. Mrs. Meyer's offers everyday scents like lavender and rose, in addition to seasonal favorites like fresh-cut grass, geranium, and mint, so you can transform your home into a spring garden or a winter wonderland. Compared to the more chemical sprays that smell synthetic, these fragrances are both powerful and subtle, and, while the scent might not linger as long, each bottle packs at least 100 sprays.

Type: Spray | Lifespan: 100 sprays | Room Size: Not listed

Best Air Freshener for Vents

Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Air Freshener Scent Sachets



Who it's for: Those with central air conditioning who want long-lasting, low-maintenance fragrance.

Who it's not for: Those who want a stronger scent.

Want to have fresh scent piped into your house all day long while avoiding the added clutter of plug-ins and sprays? Squirrel away your favorite sachets of potpourri blends or dried herbs into your vents and voila—low maintenance fragrance for a few weeks. Actually, opt for Mrs. Meyer's Scent Sachets and you'll get a few months of scent out of your purchase. Mrs. Meyer's sachets are made from renewable and safe ingredients like repurposed wood and essential oils. Alternative methods (like clipping car air fresheners on your home vents) often unwittingly expose users to chemicals like phthalates. These sachets also smell fresher; they're floral, without being cloyingly sweet.

Type: Sachet | Lifespan: 30-60 days | Room Size: Not listed

Best Air Freshener for Bathroom

Poo-Pourri Before-You-Go Toilet Spray

Poo-Pourri Before-You-Go Toilet Spray


Who it's for: Those who want a freshener that's easy to take on the go.

Who it's not for: Those who want a more traditional spray or plug-in freshener.

There's a reason Poo-Pourri is a major success story. The brand distinguishes itself from the competition with a toilet spray that eliminates odors before they're released, making it less of an air freshener than a stench-prophylactic. The spray traps bad odors beneath the surface of the water, releasing fresh scents in their stead and leaving the bathroom smelling fresher than you found it.

You get to choose from five popular scents: "Royal Flush" (eucalyptus and spearmint), "Ship Happens" (coconut, freesia, and citrus), "Tropical Hibiscus" (hibiscus, apricot, and citrus), "Original Citrus" (lemon bergamot and lemongrass), or "Lavender Vanilla." Sizes range from 0.13 to 16 ounces, and—bonus—most of them are small enough to toss into your bag.

Type: Toilet spray | Lifespan: 70 sprays | Room Size: N/A

Best Air Freshener for Closets

Vergali Nature Fresh Bamboo Charcoal Air Purifying Bags, pack of 10



Who it's for: People looking for an easy solution for hard-to-scent areas.

Who it's not for: Those who want to add fragrance.

Mold and mildew thrive in small, moist areas where there's limited circulation. You're probably envisioning a bathroom right now (fair enough), but closets are also a prime culprit. The best tool in your arsenal for these types of odors isn't a fragrance that'll mask the smell—it's an activated charcoal bag. "Activated charcoal is a great way to eliminate odors without much hands-on management," says Maker. "Just set it and forget it. Once a month, you can leave it out in the sun to 'recharge' and it will last up to two years."

The Vergali Bamboo Charcoal Odor Absorber Bags are ideal for the job, and unlike most fragrances that require frequent refills, these bags last up to two years. These highly porous bags absorb moisture and toxins from the air, effectively deodorizing your space. All you have to do for upkeep is simply "recharge" them in the sun for two hours once a month. This process releases trapped moisture and odors, making the bags like new again. But perhaps the best part is that they're completely free of chemicals.

Type: Activated charcoal bag | Lifespan: 2 years; recharged monthly | Room Size: Not listed

Best Air Freshener Candle

Bluecorn Beeswax 100% Pure Raw Beeswax Pillar, 3"x 4"



Who it's for: Those who like natural deodorizers and subtle fragrance.

Who it's not for: Those who like strong scents.

It's thought that beeswax candles can not only add a subtle scent to your space, but can even deodorize your home. That's because beeswax releases negative ions into the air when it's burned, bonding to positively charged particles in dust and mold spores, much like an electric air purifier would. Also, because beeswax can be used in its original state, it doesn't require any chemical processing. Plus, though beeswax candles are a little pricier than alternatives, they burn much longer, giving you more bang for your buck.

While they're not scented in the same way that traditional scented candles are, they can help mask odors. Bluecorn's Beeswax Candles are a great choice—handcrafted in Colorado, these candles are available in eight sizes, and can be purchased individually or in packs of six.

Type: Candle | Lifespan: 90 minutes to 6 hours | Room Size: Not listed

Best Diffuser

Plant Therapy TerraFuse Essential Oil Diffuser



Who it's for: Those who want a long-lasting scent.

Who it's not for: Those who prefer a low-maintenance or hands-off approach to air freshening.

If you want to not only freshen up your space but make it smell nicer for several hours, a diffuser might be the solution for you. Plant Therapy's TerraFuse Diffuser provides maximum flexibility in diffusion. Choose from five timer settings that include intermittent or continuous options and provide up to eight hours of diffusion. And it's not just the eucalyptus and lavender oils that'll relax you—the automatic shut off function means you can rest assured the device will stop if the water reservoir is emptied or the timer runs out. Lastly, the natural stone lends a sophisticated and sculptural look to this practical device, allowing it to seamlessly fit in with your decor.

Type: Ultrasonic diffuser | Lifespan: Diffuses for up to 8 hours at a time | Room Size: 322 square feet

Final Verdict

Our top pick is the Pura Smart Fragrance Diffuser, a plug-in air freshener that stands out for its range of scents, customization options, and smart home compatibility. It's on the expensive side though, so if you're looking for a more budget-friendly alternative we recommend the Enviroscent Plug Hub Warmer Starter Kit, another plug-in option that's made without harsh chemicals.

How to Shop for Air Fresheners Like a Pro


Air fresheners come in all forms. While automatic plug-ins or sprays are ubiquitous, there are other effective means of tackling odor and introducing desirable fragrances to your home, including scent sachets, essential oil diffusers, activated charcoal bags, and vent clip-ons. The best option for your home primarily depends upon the amount of maintenance you're willing to contribute, the fragrance longevity you want (or whether you want fragrance at all), and your comfort with chemicals in ingredient lists. (More on that below!)

Automatic plug-ins work effortlessly behind the scenes 24/7, typically requiring a replacement or refill every 50-60 days. Essential oil diffusers will require routine refills of water as well as some willingness to experiment with essential oil blends, and they'll diffuse for about eight hours at a time. On the plus side, these units double as humidifiers and work especially well in smaller spaces. One downside is that some essential oils like tea tree oil and eucalyptus oil can be harmful to pets—those with fur babies should do their research before buying.

Those who want their efforts to be smelled but not sighted should opt for scent sachets that can be stashed away in vents for about 60 days. Alternatives like activated charcoal bags can tackle odor related to moisture but won't add any fragrance to your space.


There is a lot of debate around the safety of air fresheners. Many traditional air fresheners contain VOCs, benzene, formaldehyde, and undisclosed fragrances, which can impact indoor air quality and long-term health. The evidence regarding the safety of air fresheners specifically is less clear, but it's always good to check the ingredient lists of air fresheners you're considering. If you're wary of traditional air fresheners, you'll be happy to know that there are many companies that use ingredients from renewable and biodegradable plant resources, provide transparency about their ingredients, and avoid the use of aerosols.


Whether a scent is desirable or not is a totally subjective call. Still, it's worth considering what you want your fragrance to achieve. We tend to associate citrusy scents with cleanliness, and that zest provided by top notes like lemon, orange, and grapefruit is also energizing. For a calming effect, reach for aromatics like vanilla and lavender. Seasonal scents like cinnamon and clove or freshly cut grass can uplift mood and get you in the spirit of the season or holiday.

There are also air fresheners that don't contain any scents at all. Instead, these products work to absorb odors and create a "nothing" smell, which is great news for people who are sensitive to scents of all types.

Questions You Might Ask

How long do air fresheners last?

Heated oil or spray plug-ins provide the most consistent coverage, producing a continuous stream of fragrance for as long as the cartridge lasts, typically between 1-2 months. Other types of plug-ins—including essential oil diffusers and wax warmers—won't get quite as much mileage, but they'll still outlast your average spray. Wax warmers typically give off around 10 hours of scent, while essential oil diffusers will perfume the air for a few hours.

What are some natural air freshener solutions?

If you want to skip the sprays and plug-ins altogether, a simmer pot is a simple, natural way to freshen up your space. Channel your inner sorcerer and transform the smell of your home by adding a few aromatics like herbs, spices, and citrus to a pot of simmering water. For spring, consider adding thyme and lemon slices; for fall, think cinnamon sticks, cloves, orange rinds, and nutmeg. (Don't blame us if your guests get the mistaken impression that you've baked something delicious for them!) You can also add a few drops of essential oil to a cotton ball and let it do its thing.

If you're more interested in deodorizing your house than adding scent, you might try some simple hacks like adding small activated charcoal filters to the smelliest parts of your house: garbage cans, litter boxes, and laundry hampers. A natural absorbent of odors and moisture, the charcoal works so you don't have to. Alternatively, if you want to make use of materials you already have in your home, you'll find a natural deodorizer and disinfectant in your liquor cabinet: vodka. Grab an inexpensive bottle and add some to a spray bottle (undiluted), then lightly mist it over any musty curtains or furniture fabric.

What are some tips for deodorizing your home?

First, identify the main culprits. If Fido has been sneaking onto the couch, you may want to tackle furniture fibers with a deodorizing spray. Be sure that any pet accidents are cleaned up with an enzyme cleaner to help break down the organic materials that give off bad smells. (These can also help prevent a repeat incident.) If the funky smells are emanating from your kitchen, it may be time to deep clean your garbage disposal, fish out (and clean) the dishwater filter, wipe down the microwave, and toss any expired foods from your fridge. (In fact, aim to make these kitchen tips part of a monthly cleaning routine.) For moist areas and stinkier rooms like a garbage can, closet, or bathroom (especially ones containing a litter box), consider stashing or hanging some activated charcoal bags. Those living in humid areas can benefit from specific tips about dealing with moisture in your home. If smoke smell is the culprit, you can use vinegar and baking soda to remove the odor from surfaces.

Take Our Word for It

This article was written by Leslie Joblin, a writer with two years of experience writing product reviews and lifestyle content. Her work has appeared in The Spruce, Brides, and MyDomaine. To compile this list, she dove deep into the research and reviews on top-rated air fresheners and solicited advice from Melissa Maker of Clean My Space.

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