Unfortunately, the world of “fragrance” is a bit of a mess. Because of what’s commonly known as the “fragrance loophole,” air freshener brands are legally allowed to include roughly 4,000 different chemicals into their products without actually listing them
Many of these ingredients are perfectly safe, while others include carcinogens and endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs). Phthalates, for example, are EDCs that are often added to air fresheners to make the scent “stick” longer.
These fragrances can also include allergens, and the lack of ingredient transparency can make it very difficult for people with specific allergies or sensitivities to find out if a certain car air freshener will be a good choice for them.
In the past, it’s been slim pickings when it comes to non-toxic car air fresheners, but there are now several great brands that offer options that will help you keep your car smelling fresh without the harmful chemicals.
And I have researched them and tested them out to give you the best options here!
Table of Contents
- Here Are the Best Safe, Natural, & Non-Toxic Car Air Fresheners
- 1. Grow
- 2. Enviroscent
- 3. Plantish On-The-Go Diffusers
- 4. Plant Therapy Portable Diffusers
- 5. Seek Bamboo
- 6. DIY Car Air Fresheners
- 1. Find a regular old clothes pin.
- 2. Add 5-10 drops of your favorite essential oil.
- 3. Clip onto the air vent in your car.
- 4. Add more essential oils when the scent runs out.
- 7. Non-Toxic Air Freshener Sprays
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Here Are the Best Safe, Natural, & Non-Toxic Car Air Fresheners
Let’s get right to it. Here are our favorite car air freshener brands offering safer wats to bring a pleasant scent into your car, truck, RV, or other small space. We’ve got hanging options, air fresheners that attach to your car’s air vents, cup-holder-friendly choices, DIY ideas, and more.
Best for: Non-toxic hanging car air fresheners
If you love those conventional car fresheners that you hang from your rearview mirror (they’re so easy to use!), then you’ve got to check out Grow’s new car air fresheners.
Grow has become known for their non-toxic fragrance sprays (which make a really great alternative to Febreze) and their refillable plant-based candles.
And now, they’ve added car air fresheners to their collection as well! The scents they offer will rotate, and will include Sea Salt Neroli, Blondewood, Woodland Sage, Ginger Pumpkin, and more as the seasons go on.
I honestly really love the Sea Salt Neroli smell; to me, it’s like a mix between the smell of the beach and that “fresh laundry” scent.
Each pack contains two car fresheners, and Grow says that each freshener provides up to 7-14 days of scent. However, I’ve had my freshener in my car for about a month now and I can still smell it.
Unlike most conventional fragrance brands, Grow makes each and every one of their fragrance ingredients transparent right on their website, so customers can easily find and understand them. They use 100% plant-based ingredients, which are made from a mixture of essential oils and plant extracts. They even do bio-based testing to ensure there are no synthetic ingredients used.
Here’s the ingredient list of the Sea Salt Neroli Car Air Freshener:
Of course, you can also throw these air fresheners in other places that you might want to add a nice scent, like the side pocket of your gym bag or your sock drawer. (Just be careful about which surfaces touch the freshener, since the oils can potentially harm certain materials.)
Best for: Car vent clip air fresheners
Enviroscent is another great brand that offers non-toxic and natural air fresheners of various kinds. For your car, they have refillable Car Vent Clips as well as Auto Stix, which you can hang from your rearview mirror.
The Starter Kit for the Car Vent Clips comes with the clip itself and then you can choose between four scents: Sea Salt + Aloe, Lemon Leaf + Thyme, Spring Water + Lotus, or Minerals + Moss. Then you can buy refills and just swap them out when you need a refresh. Each refill lasts about a month (sometimes longer) and you can sign up for an auto-subscription to save 15% if you want. They’re also liquid-free, which means you don’t have to worry about it damaging the fabric inside your car or anything like that.
In addition to their vent clips, Enviroscent also offers Auto Stix, which are their twist on the conventional hanging car air fresheners—except they’re stick-shaped! Scents available for the Auto Stix include Seaside Coconut + Verbena, Coastal Storm + Teakwood, Black Vanilla + Mandarin, Spring Water + Lotus, and Cedarwood + Bergamot. Each of these also lasts about 30 days. If you want a stronger scent, you can always hang two at once!
Although Enviroscent uses a lot of non-toxic, natural, and plant-based ingredients, not ALL of their ingredients are natural. You can find their full list of ingredients in the Smart Label database. Some of their ingredients are not the best(like benzyl benzoate, for example); however, they do have a pretty comprehensive “never list,” which includes a lot of endocrine disruptors, allergens, and other toxic ingredients that are commonly used by other brands:
Best for: Zero waste non-toxic car air fresheners
How pretty are these natural wood air freshener vent clips?
If you want to skip the paper options, these wooden air fresheners can be infinitely refilled with essential oils of your choice. I personally love the flower ones, but you can also get a cube one or a more minimalist cylinder one.
Just drip a few drops of your favorite essential oils onto the wood and allow about 30 minutes for absorption. There is a magnetic clip that goes on the back of the flower option, which you can attach to your car’s air vent. (You could also take the clip part off and use it as a regular magnet in your office or something!)
In addition to being completely plastic-free, one of the best things about this option is that it’s very customizable. Not only can you decide which scent you want, but you can mix and match oils and choose your strength as well. You can even attach several flowers to multiple air vents if you want to!
Use the code THEFILTERY15 for 15% off your order.
Best for: Battery-powered travel essential oil diffuser
Plant Therapy, the popular essential oil brand, offers a couple of portable diffusers that fit nicely into your car’s cup holder. They have a Rose Gold and a Wood Grain option, which each comes with their own traveling case that you can zip up and throw in your bag or center console.
It comes with a USB charger, so you can charge it both at home and in your car. There are three intermittent diffusion settings, so you can decide how powerful you want the scent to be. When it’s plugged in, the diffuser will last about 4-5 hours if you run it continuously before you have to refill the oil. If you run it on an intermittent setting, it will last 8-10 hours before it runs out.
The kit comes with a Travel Essential Oil Blend that’s colorless (to protect your car seats in case of spills) and provides focus and tummy-soothing properties if you deal with motion sickness. But you can fill this diffuser with any essential oils of your choice!
5. Seek Bamboo
Best for: Odor-eliminating charcoal bags
Another great option for getting rid of unpleasant odors in your car is to actually absorb them instead of just masking them with floral fragrances or whatever.
Many odor-eliminators contain powders that may spill and leave a mess in your car. But activated charcoal bags are a great mess-free option that can neutralize odors in your car without any synthetic fragrances.
Each of these ones from Seek Bamboo comes with 100g of natural charcoal. They are long and thin, so they can easily be thrown into your center console, the slot in your door, the pocket on the back of your seat, or even underneath your passenger seat.
Each bag lasts about two years. To “re-activate” it, all you have to do is let it sit in the sunlight for about an hour per month.
6. DIY Car Air Fresheners
If you’re the type of person that prefers to do things yourself, you can make a natural car air freshener using ingredients you probably already have at home!
Here are 2 easy ideas:
SUPER Easy DIY Clothes Pin Car Air Freshener
1. Find a regular old clothes pin.
This is one the absolute simplest options for a DIY car air freshener!
2. Add 5-10 drops of your favorite essential oil.
Feel free to mix and match scents if you want to. Use more or less oil depending on how strong you want the scent.
3. Clip onto the air vent in your car.
4. Add more essential oils when the scent runs out.
Depending on how many drops of oil you added, you should need to add more every 14-30 days.
Car Air Freshener in a Jar
For this cup-holder-friendly DIY car freshener, you’ll need:
– A mason jar (including the lid)
– A piece of cardboard (about the size of the jar opening)
– A pen or nail (for poking holes in the cardboard)
– Baking soda
– Essential oil(s) of your choice
1. Cut out the top of the air freshener.
Trace around the jar and cut out a piece of cardboard that will fit the top of the jar. Screw on the outer ring of the mason jar lid over the top of the cardboard and make sure it fits correctly.
(You can set aside the inner circle part of the jar lid. You won’t need it for this since the cardboard will be taking its place.)
2. Punch holes in the cardboard.
Using whatever hole-punching tool you’ve chosen (like a pen or a nail), carefully punch holes in the cardboard.
3. Remove the lid and add baking soda.
Fill the jar about 3/4 of the way up with baking soda.
4. Add essential oils (optional).
If you just want to make an odor-eliminator, you don’t have to add essential oils. But if you’d like to add a nice scent to the air freshener, add 15-20 drops of your favorite essential oils.
5. Replace the lid and place in your cup holder.
Close the lid and place in your car’s cup holder.
Be careful not to place it in a place where it can tip over and spill.
6. Refresh the baking soda and essential oils as needed.
When you notice that the scent has faded, you can add more essential oils and/or replace the baking soda.
7. Non-Toxic Air Freshener Sprays
Lastly, you can always use a regular spray to make your car smell great! Sprays aren’t going to last as long as the other car air freshener options listed above, but it really just comes down to personal preference!
To check out our favorite natural and non-toxic air freshener sprays, check out this guide.
I hope this guide to natural, non-toxic, and organic car air fresheners has helped you find an option that works for you! To get more non-toxic lifestyle tips & tricks delivered to your inbox once a week, sign up for Filtered Fridays!
Are car air fresheners unhealthy?
Unfortunately, most conventional car air fresheners are not healthy to breathe in. They can contain endocrine-disrupting chemicals such as phthalates as well as various allergens and carcinogens. Instead, look for non-toxic and phthalate-free car air fresheners that use natural fragrances, safe synthetics, and transparent ingredients.
Can I use essential oils in my car?
Yes! One of the easiest ways to use essential oils to freshen up your car is to sprinkle a few drops onto a clothes pin and then attach it to your car’s air vent. Of course, whenever you use essential oils of any kind, you should always be careful to use pet- and kid-friendly blends and be careful of any specific allergies or sensitivities that you or others who ride in your car may have.