Best air freshener: 16 scented products to banish odours

The ultimate guide to the best air fresheners that emit a lovely fragrance. To banish odours in seconds

Included in this guide:

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

If you are looking for the best air freshener to deodorize every room in your home, including your upholstery and furniture, then you have landed in the right place. These top buys in our guide emit a wonderful fragrance to banish odours — and in some cases, destroy bacteria at the same time.

If you are searching for something for a specific use, for example, the best air freshener for carpets, something to use in your car, or a recommendation for your smelly bin, then we can help. We've tried, tested (and clearly loved) a range of air fresheners. The result? Obviously, our homes smell lovely, but we've also rounded up the top 16 buys, some of which can cover up bad odours, while others can purify the air in your home — and there are some eco-friendly picks. 

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

Which type of air freshener should I buy?

There's no one-size-fits-all when it comes to air fresheners. In fact, this will hugely depend on where you want to use your new air freshener, and whether you want something that you can control — or if you'd rather an automatic air freshener.

Here are the main types of air freshener, before we get started:

  • Spray air fresheners are great for using pretty much anywhere, but especially on fabrics and upholstery. You can control how much scent they emit, and when they work. Opt for a mist for a lighter fragrance.
  • Plug-in air fresheners are automatic so that you needn't fuss about ensuring your home smells nice. Just choose your fragrance and plug it into a socket.
  • Disinfectant air fresheners, such as a bottle of Zoflora, will need to be diluted with water, into a spray bottle, to work.
  • Diffuser air fresheners also work on their own, with no need for a human to press go. These can sit atop a side, whether hidden or on display.
  • Gel air fresheners tend to be compact, and you just need to display them up high on a surface so that they emit scent.
  • Solid air fresheners might need to be hung, or they will need to be placed away from things, to ooze fragrance.

The best air fresheners

The best air freshener you can buy

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

(Image credit: Puressentiel)

1. Puressentiel Purifying Air Spray

Specifications
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.

The best anti-bacterial air freshener

Dettol All-in-One Spray – Crisp Linen

(Image credit: Dettol)

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

Specifications
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. You'll also want to avoid spraying it around pets, and we suggest waiting for it to dry before letting pets inside the room you are using this air freshener in.

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

The best fast-acting air freshener

Botanica by Air Wick Air Freshener, Fresh Pineapple & Tunisian RosemaryReal Homes Rated Gold badge

(Image credit: Botanica by Air Wick)

3. Botanica by Air Wick Air Freshener, Fresh Pineapple & Tunisian Rosemary

Specifications
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. It also comes in four more unique scent combinations.

Results
A subtle spray that's not too overpowering, and it looks nice on display, too. It also masks odours fast, though it tends not to linger for too long.

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. 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. 

The best air freshener for pet owners

Best air freshener for pet owners: Zoflora Fresh Home Odour Remover & DisinfectantReal Homes Rated Gold badge

4. Zoflora Fresh Home Odour Remover & Disinfectant

Specifications
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, this 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.

The best air freshener for hallways

Airwick Essential Mist Kit, Balancing Peony & JasmineReal Homes Rated Gold badge

(Image credit: Airwick)

5. Airwick Essential Mist Kit, Balancing Peony & Jasmine

Specifications
Size: 20ml
Type: Diffuser
Scent: Floral
Reasons to buy
+Automatic+Easy to hide+Cord-free+Range of scents available+45 days longevity
Reasons to avoid
-Works sporadically

The impressive Airwick Essential Mist Kit is a great air freshener that is fuss-free. This air freshener oozes scent on its own, just simply place it wherever you like inside your hallway to allow fragrance to flood your rooms. It even turns essential oils into mist, to make your home emit a lovely — yet natural — smell.

Scent
Available in several scent options so that you can mix and match, we love the Balancing Peony & Jasmine scent as it's perfect for spring and summer. It's fresh and should last for around 45 days in your home. 

Results
Once you've popped this device in your hallway — whether on show or hidden behind something — it will automatically do its job. No need to turn it on or activate it. It will scent your home as often as you like. Choose from three settings including low, medium and high, depending on how large your room is.

Good to know
The idea is that you buy this diffuser once, in the kit, and then you buy refills to use with it. This makes switching scents around for the season easy — and almost waste-free. Since it's cord-free, you can place this anywhere in your home, high or low.

The best air freshener for toilets

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

6. Poo Pourri Original Toilet Spray

Specifications
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 product recommendations.

The best air freshener for fabric

Febreze Fabric Freshener Spray Gold Orchid with Lenor

(Image credit: Febreze)

7. Febreze Fabric Freshener Spray Gold Orchid with Lenor

Specifications
Size: 500ml
Type: Spray
Scent: Floral
Reasons to buy
+Mrs Hinch favourite+Great for cushions, curtains, sofas etc+Not too fragranced+Fine mist
Reasons to avoid
-Not super long lasting

The light scent of this Febreze Fabric Freshener ought to leave your sofa, cushions and even curtains smelling lovely. We've seen this product in action all over Instagram and TikTok. It's also a Mrs Hinch staple — she always uses it for refreshing her fabrics.

Scent
Made in collaboration with Lenor, this air freshener smells wonderfully floral but also nice and subtle. It doesn't give you a headache since it's quite nice and light, and the smell will fade so that you can refresh with a different scent if you'd like to. It also comes out as a nice fine mist so rest assured it won't soak your fabric items.

Results
We can confirm that this does, in fact, eliminate trapped lingering odours in fabrics that are otherwise hard to clean. For example, your sofa cushions, curtains or even a rug. It's also just great for general use, whether for a once a month deep clean or for making blankets and more cosy items emit a fresh scent.

Good to know
We wouldn't suggest going too mad with this air freshener, and you might want to keep it away from baby items and pet stuff.

The best air freshener for carpets

1001 Carpet Fresh Thai Orchid & Passion FruitReal Homes Rated Silver Badge

(Image credit: 1001)

8. 1001 Carpet Fresh Thai Orchid & Passion Fruit

Specifications
Size: 300ml
Type: Spray Foam
Scent: Sweet/Fruity
Reasons to buy
+Instant results+No need to vacuum+Range of scents

Worried that your carpet or rug is starting to smell? If you've done everything you can, in terms of vacuuming and using one of the best carpet cleaners, then try this out. We're big fans of 1001's Carpet Fresh product mostly because it's so convenient to use. And also because it offers brilliantly scented results. Mrs Hinch loves it, too!

Scent
This carpet air freshener comes in a range of scents, but Thai Orchard & Passion Fruit has to be our favourite. It's noticeably sweet and is great at masking smells, whether from spilt alcohol, a pet stain or even dropped food. And it can mask the smell of smoke or cooking scents. Opt for the pet version if you have a four-legged friend who spends a lot of time on your rug or carpet.

Results
1001 Carpet Refresh instantly improves the smell of any carpet or rug, whether nearly new or old but still useable. This scent will linger for a while, without being too overpowering so as not to mix with any other home fragrance – from candles, reed diffusers. A simple way to make your rugs or carpet smell nice, with no need to vacuum afterwards.

Good to know
To use this spray, just give it a shake and point it towards your carpet or rug. Then, spray a light layer over your carpet, while being careful not to soak it. Wait for it to set in and you're done. Your carpet may be a tad damp after using this, so it might be a smart idea to open your windows to allow for air circulation.

The best plug in air freshener

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

(Image credit: Amazon)

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

Specifications
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 has 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. 

The best air freshener for small homes

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

10. Febreze Small Spaces Air Freshener - Vanilla Flower

Specifications
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. 

The best solid air freshener

Best solid air freshener: Diptyque Baies Scented Oval

11. Diptyque Baies Scented Oval

Specifications
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. 

The best air freshener for bins

Best air freshener for bins: Bin Buddy Fresh Citrus Zing

12. Bin Buddy Fresh Citrus Zing

Specifications
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. 

The best organic air freshener

Best organic air freshener: Purifying Room Spray Air Freshener

(Image credit: Amazon)

13. 1001 Remedies Purifying Room Spray

Specifications
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. 

The best air freshener for a large room

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

(Image credit: Amazon)

14. Yankee Candle ScentPlug Pink Sands

Specifications
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

The best plastic free air freshener: Pandoo bamboo

(Image credit: Amazon)

15. Pandoo Bamboo Air Freshener

The best plastic free air freshener

Specifications
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 by putting them out in the sun for a day. When you want to replace them, you can use the charcoal inside as plant fertiliser. 

The best air freshener for cars

Best air freshener for cars: AREON Ken Car Air Freshener

16. AREON Ken Car Air Freshener

Specifications
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.

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

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. This 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 using one of the best candles, and they are especially brilliant 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.

There's nothing to say you can't use an air freshener with another home fragrance at the same time — perhaps the best essential oil diffuser, or even one of the best reed diffusers out there. Mix and match to ensure your home smells great all of the time.

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 pay them a visit while armed with the best vacuum cleaner. This ought to make your air fresheners much more effective.

Find out more in our guide to cleaning a carpet.

Annie Collyer
Annie Collyer

Annie joined the Real Homes team in 2018 as our Deals Editor. Now, as our UK Shopping Editor, she spends much of her time giving advice on what you need to add to your shopping cart. Whether that be a sofa bed for your spare room, accessories to give your space a new lease of life, shiny new appliances for a kitchen or some smart tech for an easier life. She's also our fitness and beauty guru, with hands-on experience with some of the top hair tools and the best home gym equipment around. Otherwise, you can find her rearranging the furniture in her space-savvy London flat, DIYing accessories to fit with her ever-changing colour scheme, or going on long walks with her pug. Next up on her to-renovate list is her bathroom...

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