Best air freshener: 14 top buys for a clean home

The Real Homes guide on the best air fresheners to buy for a lovely smelling home – and to banish those odours (and bacteria) in seconds

Best air freshener: Botanica by Air Wick Air Freshener
(Image credit: Amazon)

If you are in search of the best air freshener to deodorize every room in your home, including your upholstery and furniture, then you have landed in the right place. Even if you are after something for a specific use – the best air freshener for cars, a recommendation for your smelly bin – we can help. We've tried, tested (and clearly loved) a range of air fresheners, from brands including Febreze, Dettol, AirWick and lesser-known companies including Puressentiel and 1001. The result? Obviously, our homes smell lovely, but we've also noticed that a good few of these top air fresheners can banish bacteria, lots of them are versatile so can also be used to clean your surfaces, and a handful of them are eco-friendly. Because a lovely smelling home is important, but saving the environment is up there, too.

Whether it's a spray air freshener you are after or a solid option – perhaps you want an unobtrusive air freshener plug to do the job for you? Keep scrolling for 14 top recommendations.

Once you are done, why not read up on the best home fragrances – including candles, reed diffusers, room sprays – for every room in our buyer's guide.

The best air fresheners

Best air freshener: Puressentiel Purifying Air SprayReal Homes Rated Gold badge

(Image credit: Puressentiel)

1. Puressentiel Purifying Air Spray

The best air freshener you can buy

Specifications
Best for: Killing bacteria
Size: 200ml
Type: Spray
Scent: Natural
Reasons to buy
+100% natural+A little goes a very long way+Long-lasting
Reasons to avoid
-Not easy to find in shops-Can't be sprayed around babies

In our opinion, this is the best air freshener you can buy for your home, and the best part is that it's made with no synthetic chemicals, but from a unique blend of 100 per cent pure and natural essential oils.

Scent
As for the scent, it's natural and fresh with notes of tea tree, peppermint and eucalyptus.

Can be used on...
As well as spraying in the air, you can also use Puressentiel Purifying Air Spray on carpets, bedding and upholstery to immediately freshen a room.

Results
Just one spray will make a difference and you'll immediately notice the air clearing. This truly is worth the money for those times when you've been cooking something strong or you've guests arriving in minutes and don't want to just mask the smell, but kill the odour. For those who work all day and can't leave their windows open to air their home, this spray makes your home smell fresh as a daisy, too.

Good to know
It's quite pricey, and strong, so all you need is one spray per room (trust us, it's plenty). The only downside is that it's not easily accessible in shops – so buy online.

Dettol All-in-One Spray – Crisp Linen

(Image credit: Dettol)

2. Dettol All-in-One Spray – Crisp Linen

The best antibacterial air freshener

Specifications
Best for : Antibacterial
Size: 400ml
Type: Spray
Scent: Cotton, Orange & Lemon
Reasons to buy
+3 scents+Mrs Hinch approved+Kills 99.9% of bacteria+Can be used almost anywhere in your home
Reasons to avoid
-Keep pets away when using and wait until dry to let them close

An air freshener that's much loved by Mrs Hinch (so you can guarantee that it does the job), the Dettol All-in-One is an antibacterial air freshener – it makes your home smell nice while killing 99.9 per cent of bacteria. 

Scent
The Dettol All-in-One comes in Crisp Linen, Orchard Blossom or Lemon Breeze. 

Can be used on...
Pretty much anything from your sofa to your toilet seat, door handles, mattresses, curtains... you get the idea.

Results
Just shake, spray and wait to see (and smell) the results of this air freshener. It comes out as a mist so as not to soak anything in your home (or your floors). It instantly makes your home smell nicer, and since you can use it on surfaces, in the air and on upholstery, it's pretty versatile. Everyone needs a bottle of this under their sink.

Good to know
It's not to be used on clothes, polished wood, painted surfaces, leather or acrylic plastics.

Mrs Hinch fan? See our Mrs Hinch storage buys roundup to help keep your home organised.

Best fast-acting air freshener: Febreze Air Freshener Spray Heavy Duty Crisp Clean

(Image credit: Amazon)

3. Febreze Air Freshener Spray Heavy Duty Crisp Clean

The best fast-acting air freshener

Specifications
Best for: Quick elimination of odours
Size: 300ml
Type: Spray
Scent: Generic 'clean' scent
Reasons to buy
+Eliminates odours rather than just masking them +Fresh, inoffensive scent
Reasons to avoid
-Makes floors slippery

This great air freshener from Febreze can stop stinks in their tracks! If you need to get rid of a bad smell quickly, reach for this one. 

Scent
It doesn't really smell like much to us, maybe like generic detergent? It's not a bad thing, and we prefer this one to many of the stronger-smelling Frebrezes. 

Can be used on...
Anything, really – although designed to freshen up the air, it's no big deal if this gets on upholstery/curtains/flooring. Just bear in mind that it will sit on top of hard surfaces, so floors can get slippery if you spray a lot. 

Results
The main reason this gets a thumbs-up from us is how effective this is at eliminating even truly bad stinks. Fried fish, burnt pans, pet odours – this does get rid of them, and quickly. 

Good to know
Don't buy it expecting too much from the fragrance – that's not what this spray is all about. Try other Febreze scents if you do like more than a 'fresh smell'. 

Best air freshener for pet owners: Zoflora Fresh Home Odour Remover & Disinfectant

4. Zoflora Fresh Home Odour Remover & Disinfectant

The best air freshener for pet owners

Specifications
Best for: Pet owners
Size: 500ml
Type: Solution
Scent: Fresh
Reasons to buy
+Multiple uses+Lots of different scents+A lot for your money+Great for pets
Reasons to avoid
-You have to dilute it

Having pets around the home not only means you have to do more cleaning, it also means you have to be conscious of the products you use, as some aren't pet-friendly. The best air freshener for those who have furry friends, we think.

Scent
Once used, Zoflora is said to leave behind a 'mountain air' fragrance. We can't say we've noticed this– however, we do think it leaves behind a noticeable fresh and clean smell that lasts for days.

Results
Zoflora Fresh Home Odour Remover & Disinfectant doesn't just eliminate odours, it kills 99.9 per cent of viruses, including ones that could potentially cause illness to your pet, while freshening your home and cleaning your surfaces.

Good to know
Zoflora Fresh Home Disinfectant can be diluted and used in several ways including in a spray bottle, in your mop bucket for when you clean your floors or you can fill up your sink and add a capful to release the smell throughout your home. It should be made up of one part disinfectant to 40 parts water

For more of the best ways to clean up after dogs, head to our guide.

Best air freshener for toilets: Poo-Pourri air freshenerReal Homes Rated Gold badge

5. Poo Pourri Original Toilet Spray

The best air freshener for toilets

Specifications
Best for: Bathrooms
Size: 118ml
Type: Spray
Scent: Lemon Citrus
Reasons to buy
+ Choice of scents available  + Eliminates toilet odours  
Reasons to avoid
- Hard to spray when half empty 

On the hunt for the best air freshener for your bathroom? This little spray's name might seem a little off-beat, but not a bad word can be said about its qualities. 

Scent
Available in a range of scents, including lemon citrus, white flower, strawberry and spearmint, all Poo Pourri Original Toilet Sprays have a strong smell that goes a long way. 

Results
A few squirts of this spray down the toilet before you go will ensure no unpleasant odours escape into the bathroom. The scent lasts for ages and it's a pretty looking bottle, too.

Good to know
Sometimes a little fiddly to spray when it reaches below half, but all in all, reviewers say they couldn't go without this little lifesaver to cover up nasty smells.

See our best toilet cleaner guide for more recommendations.

best plug-in air freshener: Febreze with Ambi Pur Air Freshener Plug-In Starter Kit

(Image credit: Amazon)

6. Febreze with Ambi Pur Air Freshener Plug-In Starter Kit

The best plug in air freshener

Specifications
Best for: Eliminating odours and freshening
Size: 20ml
Type: adjustable plug-in
Scent: Cotton fresh
Reasons to buy
+ Adjustable design + Lasts up to 80 days 
Reasons to avoid
- Nothing for the price 

This affordable device is a great way to keep a room fresh – and you're able to control how strong you want the fragrance to be.

Scent
The starter kit comes with the 'Cotton Fresh' scent, but you cal also get refills in 'Vanilla Latte'.

Results
Ambi Pur have teamed up with Febreze to create a plug-in freshener that works to eliminate odours rather than just mask them, which makes the fragrance it leaves behind even more pleasant. 

Good to know
You have real control over how much fragrance you want to be released into your home with its handy dial-like control. Most people find that the lower settings are perfect for introducing enough scent, without it becoming overpowering. 

Best air freshener for small homes: Febreeze Vanilla Latte small spaces air freshener

7. Febreze Small Spaces Air Freshener - Vanilla Flower

The best air freshener for small homes

Specifications
Best for: Warming scent
Size: 5.5ml
Type: Gel
Scent: Vanilla Flower
Reasons to buy
+Cleanses the air  +Small and compact +No need for batteries or electricity+Refills available
Reasons to avoid
-Smells are a bit basic-Can't control when it works

This small and compact air freshener is perfect for both coat closets and hallways, and also households with smokers. 

Scent
The Vanilla Flower scent isn’t everyone’s favourite, but for those winter months, it can provide a warming smell that makes the home feel cosy. It does come in Cotton Fresh and Blossom & Breeze scents too.

Results
A great air freshener to have as well as a spray version, the Febreze Small Spaces Air Freshener is an easy way to ensure your home always smells nice. It isn't however, ideal for cooking smells, accidents or quick fixes, as you can't control how often or how much smell comes out at one time.

Good to know
Small and discreet, it can easily be placed in a closet or on a shelf without anyone even noticing it’s there. 

Best solid air freshener: Diptyque Baies Scented Oval

8. Diptyque Baies Scented Oval

The best solid air freshener

Specifications
Best for: Decorative
Size: 35g
Type: Wax
Scent: Roses and blackcurrant
Reasons to buy
+ Diffuses for up to three months + Looks elegant 
Reasons to avoid
- Not the strongest scent  

If you're a fan of Diptyque's other scents, then this would make the perfect air freshener for your home. The first place we would suggest you hang Diptyque's Baies Scented Oval is your bathroom. 

Scent
The French word for berries is baies, so it makes sense for this air freshener to smell of berries. With a more floral than a fruity scent, the Diptyque Baies Scented Oval smells of roses and blackcurrant. Divine! Other scents available include Fig, Rose and a special edition 34 boulevard Saint Germain scented oval.

Results
Although on the pricey side, it does last for up to three months, and it's better for the environment as it's not a spray or aerosol and it includes no plastic! Oh, and it requires absolutely zero effort on your behalf apart from finding somewhere to hang it – if not your bathroom, a wardrobe, coat cupboard or on the back of your bedroom door.

Good to know
It's encased in ceramic so is ideal for hanging in smaller rooms, as the refreshing fragrance slowly emits over time. 

Best air freshener for cars: AREON Ken Car Air Freshener

9. AREON Ken Car Air Freshener

The best air freshener for cars

Specifications
Best for: Car
Size: 35g
Type: Gel
Scent: Lemon
Reasons to buy
+Little to no maintenance required+Fits in cup holder+Long-lasting+Lots of different scents
Reasons to avoid
-Can't control how much the scent comes out

A car shouldn't be forgotten about when it comes to keeping the air fresh. Gel versions are most people's favourite when it comes to the best air freshener for a car, as they require little to no maintenance and they fit nicely in a cup holder. 

Scent
If lemon doesn't tickle your fancy, they're also available in several other scents including Apple & Cinnamon, Bubblegum, Vanilla and also New Car smell.

Results
The AREON Ken Car Air Freshener does a good job at subtly emitting smells in your car. You don't need to do anything for it to work, too, simply just open the can, place in your vehicle and enjoy. An easy way to ensure your car won't smell like Mc Donalds all the time.

Good to know
As with other gel air fresheners, you can't control how much scent comes out at once.

Best air freshener for bins: Bin Buddy Fresh Citrus Zing

10. Bin Buddy Fresh Citrus Zing

The best air freshener for bins

Specifications
Best for: Bins
Size: 450g
Type: Powder
Scent: Citrus
Reasons to buy
+Smells great+Works quickly+Can be used indoor or out

Let's be honest, no one likes touching their bins, whether they're indoor or outdoor, clean or not – this is where the Bin Buddy Fresh Citrus Zing comes in. Our choice of the best air freshener for a lovely smelling bin.

Scent
Available in Citris Zing or Berry Blast, there's no escaping a nice smelling bin if you're using Bin Buddy Fresh.

Results
To be used on top of existing rubbish or in an empty bin (bag inside or not), this powder does a good job at disguising bin odours, and it soaks up your bin juice while killing maggots and flies. 

Good to know
A game-changer if you don't want to empty your bin constantly (or favour strong-smelling foods). Also, one pot contains over 30 uses – depending on the size of your bin. 

Best organic air freshener: Purifying Room Spray Air Freshener

(Image credit: Amazon)

11. 1001 Remedies Purifying Room Spray

The best organic air freshener

Specifications
Best for: Multi-purpose room freshening
Size: 30ml/100ml
Type: Spray
Scent: Lavender/herbal
Reasons to buy
+Organic and chemical free+Not just for room freshening+Scientifically proven to work

Question is, what isn't the 1001 Remedies Purifying Room Spray good for? This hardworking little spray is all-natural, with no synthetic perfume. Its powerful essential oil blend was designed with relaxation and immune support in mind: you can even use it when you have a cold to help your sinuses decongest. 

Scent 
The scent will please essential oil lovers: it's expertly blended from nineteen essential oils for a sophisticated, all-natural effect. We can mainly smell the calming lavender, invigorating peppermint, and eucalyptus, but the combination with all the other oils makes it unique. 

Results 
Try using this as a pillow spray (as good as some more expensive ones we've tried) or spraying all around your living room/car. Also perfect for scenting the inside of your chest of drawers for refreshing your clothes. There are so many ways to use this lovely spray, you'll soon find the one that you prefer. 

Good to know
As this product is made from essential oils, it's very concentrated. So, while the bottle may seem small, it should last you a good few months. For the same reason, we don't recommend this product if you have any known essential oil allergy. 

Best air freshener for a large room: Yankee Candle ScentPlug Pink Sands

(Image credit: Amazon)

12. Yankee Candle ScentPlug Pink Sands

The best air freshener for a large room

Specifications
Best for: large rooms
Size: 18.5ml
Type: Plug in
Scent: Vanilla/tropical
Reasons to buy
+Powerful scent+Will fill the largest of rooms
Reasons to avoid
-Have to buy the plug and scents separately

If you have a large room that you'd like to smell nice, and struggle with finding a room freshener that will diffuse throughout the big space, trust the Yankee Candle ScentPlug to do the job. Don't be put off by the small size of the refill – this stuff is powerful.

Scent
We mainly smell a floral vanilla blend, with a little citrus on top. It's a 'tropical' scent because of the addition of floral and woody notes. A real crowd pleaser. 

Results
Long-lasting and concentrated, this scent really travels across the room. If you need to freshen up a big dining room or living room, this is it.

Good to know
You do have to buy the ScentPlug separately, for £5.99. 

The best plastic free air freshener: Pandoo bamboo

(Image credit: Amazon)

13. Pandoo Bamboo Air Freshener

The best plastic free air freshener

Specifications
Best for: Cars, kitchens and shoes
Size: 75g
Type: Charcoal sachet
Scent: none
Reasons to buy
+Biodegradable and plastic-free+Multi-purpose
Reasons to avoid
-Might not work in bigger spaces

From deodorising your shoes to whisking away bad smells from cars, these little bags of bamboo charcoal have lots of uses. Musty cupboards? These will help. Odd smell in a kitchen? They'll work for this too.

Scent
No scent, so best for areas where the preferred aroma is just 'fresh and clean'.

Results
These bags really do work – but for best results, we advise using them in small spaces or for targeted freshening.

Good to know
You can reuse the Pandoo bags for about two years: simply refresh them for putting them out in the sun for a day. When you want to repace them, you can use the charcoal inside as plant fertiliser. 

Best sustainable air freshener: Botanica by Air Wick Air FreshenerReal Homes Rated Silver Badge

(Image credit: Amazon)

14. Botanica by Air Wick Air Freshener

The best sustainable air freshener

Specifications
Best for: A quick room refresh
Type: Spray
Size: 236 ml (comes as four bottles)
Scent: Fresh Pineapple & Tunisian Rosemary, Island Rose & African Geranium, Moroccan Mint & Pink Grapefruit, French Lavender & Honey Blossom, Caribbean Vetiver & Sandalwood
Reasons to buy
+Made with recycled materials+Pleasant and unusual scents+Good value
Reasons to avoid
-Scent isn't all-natural-Doesn't last very long

It is heartening that a brand as big as Air Wick have launched their own sustainable range of air fresheners, paying attention to everything from packaging to the spray mechanism. 

Scent
We like that the Botanica range offers something a bit different than the usual selection of lavender, vanilla, and 'linen' or 'cotton'. WE particularly like the fruity pineapple version.

Results
A subtle spray that's not too overpowering, and it looks nice on display, too. 

Good to know
The bottles are made with 99 per cent recycled plastic, and the spray triggers with 35 per cent recycled plastic. Amen. Although some of the fragrances in this range use essential oils, they're not all-natural or organic. It's amazing that a huge brand is paying attention to the need and demand for more environmentally sustainable products. The non-aerosol formula means there is no can with pressurised gases that are released into the air. This does make for a less refined, wetter spraying action, so hold well away from your upholstery. 

What is the best air freshener?

Tried and tested by the RealHomes team, we think the best air freshener for your home is the Puressentiel Purifying Air Spray. Although it has a larger price tag than others, just one spray will eliminate any lingering smells in your home and it contains 41 natural oils.

How to buy the best air freshener

Cheap homemade air freshener recipe

Not a fan of strong commercial fragrances, or simply want to make a cheaper version of one of the all-natural room fresheners on our list? Couldn't be easier. You will need:
1. Distilled water – this is important to make sure your spray lasts;
2. Vodka or rubbing alcohol;
3. Essential oil of your choice (we like lavender);
4. Spray bottle.

Mix the vodka and distilled water in a ratio of 1:4 (this is approximate, nothing bad will happen if it's not exact), add about 10 drops of essential oil. pour into the spray bottle, shake well. Works a treat as an ironing water, too. If using a citrus oil, avoid spraying directly on fabrics. 

Air fresheners are a great alternative to scented candles, incense or oil diffusers, especially for daily use. They tend to smell a lot stronger, last a lot longer and are cheaper to buy; similar to using a body spray on a daily basis and saving your favourite eau de parfum for special occasions. They're also a lot safer as there are no flames or electricals involved.

Which type of air freshener is best?
There's a range of different styles of air freshener to choose from, depending on where you wish to place it. Some come in the form of a spray so you can choose as and when you use it, or if you want a continuously fresh smelling home, opt for an automatic spray which plugs into the wall and periodically emits fragrance into the room.

Some home air fresheners will just cover up bad odours, but if you’re also looking to eliminate strong smells from the home then you can look for purifying air fresheners designed to absorb the smells and leave the home smelling naturally fresh. 

To find out how to get rid of household smells with clever cleaning hacks, see our dedicated feature. In the meantime, we’ve picked out some of the best home air fresheners that will keep each room smelling amazing. Which one will be your favourite?

Bad smells at home – what's the biggest offender?

Carpets are the worst culprits for spreading those nasty niffs, but curtains and upholstery come close behind. The best way to tackle them (other than introducing air fresheners) is to give them a good vacuuming or use a steam cleaner. Both of which will make your air fresheners much more effective.

Find out more in our guide to cleaning a carpet.