If you are looking for the best air freshener to deodorize every room in your home, including your upholstery and furniture, then your eyes (and nose) 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.
Whether you are searching for something for a specific use, for example, an air freshener for a car, something to use on a smelly carpet, or a recommendation for your stinky bin, then we can definitely 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 17 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.
An integral part when it comes to cleaning your home, who doesn't finish a deep clean with a spritz of their favourite air freshener in each room? You can find our favourite cleaning products, as tested by the team, otherwise, for more fragrance suggestions see our best home fragrance guide which features candles and reed diffusers aplenty.
The best air fresheners, as tried and tested
The best air freshener
+ 100% natural
+ A little goes a very long way
- Only online
- Can't be sprayed around babies
Made with no synthetic chemicals but from a unique blend of 100 per cent pure and natural essential oils, this herbaceous air freshener is the best we've tried thus far. With notes of tea tree, peppermint, and eucalyptus, it banishes odours in an instant and refreshes a room in a flash. It's great for cooking smells, too, and just one spray makes a huge difference, and it goes a long way.
The best probiotic air freshener
+ 99 per cent natural
+ Concentrated formula
+ Palm oil free
+ Cruelty free
+ Eco-friendly (refill pouches available)
- Contains 1, 2-benzisothiazolin 3-one (preservative) which may produce an allergic reaction
No need to adjust your screen. This really is an air freshener that contains A Bacillus (aka good bacteria) and essential oils. So if you want to create a healthy home and are trying to reduce chemical nasties – this is the product to reach for. The English Garde variant smells like fresh laundry mixed with a dewy Spring morning. Trick your friends into thinking you've got washing hung up, or 'fess up and have the bottle on display – the atomiser nozzle looks super chic.
The best disinfectant air freshener
+ Three scents
+ Kills 99.9% of bacteria
- Don't use around pets
An air freshener that makes your home smell nice while killing 99.9 per cent of bacteria. It can be used on pretty much anything from your sofa to cleaning a toilet seat, door handles, mattresses, curtains... you get the idea. Just shake, spray and wait to see (and smell) the results of this air freshener. It's not to be used on clothes, polished wood, painted surfaces, leather or acrylic plastics.
The best scented air freshener
+ Made with recycled materials
+ Five scents
- Scent isn't all-natural
- Doesn't last very long
It is heartening that a brand as big as Air Wick has launched their own sustainable range of air fresheners, paying attention to everything from packaging to the spray mechanism. The bottles are made with 99 per cent recycled plastic, and the spray triggers with 35 per cent recycled plastic. Although some of the fragrances in this range use essential oils, they're not all-natural or organic. It also masks odours fast, though it tends not to linger for too long.
The best air freshener for pet owners
+ Multiple uses
+ Fresh scent
+ Lots of different scents
+ A lot for your money
+ Great for pets
- You have to dilute it
Having pets around the home not only means you have to do more cleaning, but also means you have to be conscious of the products you use. This disinfectant from Zoflora leaves behind a noticeable fresh and clean smell that lasts for days. It doesn't just eliminate odours but 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.
For more of the best ways to clean up after dogs, head to our guide.
The best automatic air freshener
+ Easy to hide
+ Range of scents available
+ 45 days longevity
- 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. It even turns essential oils into mist, to make your home emit a lovely – yet natural – smell in lots of scent options. It has three settings and you can switch your scent with the season. Buy the diffuser once and the refills again and again.
The best air freshener for bathrooms
+ Choice of scents available
+ Eliminates toilet odours
+ 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. Available in a range of scents, they all have a strong smell that goes a long way. A few squirts 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.
See our best toilet cleaner guide for more product recommendations.
The best air freshener for fabric
+ Great for cushions, curtains, sofas etc
+ Not too fragranced
+ Fine mist
- Not super long-lasting
- Not natural
The light scent of this Febreze Fabric Freshener ought to impress, and it's a Mrs. Hinch staple – she always uses it for refreshing her fabrics. It comes out as a nice fine mist so rest assured it won't soak your fabric items, and we can confirm that this does, in fact, eliminate trapped lingering odours in fabrics that are otherwise hard to clean. For example, sofa cushions, curtains, or, if you're looking at ways to clean a rug without damaging it. It's great for general use.
The best air freshener for carpets
+ 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. This carpet air freshener comes in a range of scents, all of which are 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. To use, just give it a shake and point it towards your carpet or rug and spray lightly. Open your windows to allow for air circulation and to help dry.
The best solid air freshener
+ Works for up to three months
+ More eco-friendly than a spray or aerosol
+ Plastic-free product
+ Looks elegant
+ Available in fig, rose, and 34 boulevard Saint Germain scent
- Not the strongest scent
- Can't control
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. Though the French word for berries is baies, it has more of a floral than a fruity scent, the Diptyque Baies Scented Oval smells of roses and blackcurrant. It's encased in ceramic so ideal for hanging in smaller rooms, as the refreshing fragrance slowly emits over time.
The best air freshener for bins
+ Available in two pleasant scents
+ One pot contains over 30 uses (depending on size of bin)
+ Smells great
+ Works quickly
+ Can be used indoors 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. 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.
The best air freshener for a large room
+ Powerful exotic scent
+ Will fill the largest of rooms
+ Long-lasting concentrated formula
- 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. You do have to buy the ScentPlug separately, for £5.99.
The best neutral-smelling air freshener
+ Re-useable trigger
+ Available in 3 light scents
+ Water-based mist
+ No heavy perfume or gas
+ Allergy approved
- Not suitable for those with perfume sensitivities
If you’re not one for strong-smelling air fresheners and like a home spray without the aerosol, look to the Febreze ZERO% range. Because it doesn't contain propellant, it is a bit more ‘wet’, (but rest assured, it does dry) to deliver an ultra-fine mist that deodorises your home, without creating an evident claustrophobic cloud of fragrance.
The best long-lasting air freshener
+ Attractive aroma
+ Scent lasts for 6 hours
+ Delivers a super-fine mist
+ Uses a non-flammable and natural propellant
- Not cruelty-free
- Doesn't kill bacteria
After an air freshener that smells like perfume? Then consider this as your home's Eau de Parfum. Let's face it, not everyone likes the classic profiles of pine, vanilla, or lavender, but this spray just feels like you've curated it, especially for your house. If you've ever bought the Britney Spears Fantasy perfume, then you'll realise that the fragrance profile is uncanny. So once you've plumped your cushions, it's the cherry on top to welcome guests into the home.
The best plastic-free air freshener
+ Biodegradable and plastic-free
+ Lasts for up to two years
+ Fragrance-free product
- 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. For best results, we advise using them in small spaces or for targeted freshening. You can reuse The Bamboo Factory 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
+ Little to no maintenance required
+ Fits in cup holder
+ Lots of different scents
- 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. 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 Mcdonald's all the time.
+ 3-5 spritzes is ample to get rid of odours within 60 seconds
+ Available in three attractive scents
+ Works on upholstery, bedding and bins
+ Safe to use around dogs, cats, and children
+ Proprietary Funk Lock™ Technology
+ Scientifically proven to eliminate 99% of odours
+ Free from aerosols, alcohol, and synthetic fragrances
Don't you just love when nature and science work together in harmony? According to the brand, this essential-oil-based air freshener is guaranteed to outperform chemical alternatives and scientifically tested in a laboratory-controlled setting against cigarette smoke, pet, and kitchen malodours. For this reason (and the fact that it comes in three lush fragrances – including grapefruit and lychee), we think it's an idyllic choice for new homeowners and renters. The Fresh Air scent is a great finishing touch to your end-of-tenancy clean too.
Grab a teeny 1.4oz bottle for up to 70 uses, and if you love it invest in the 11oz bottle for up to 570 uses!
Real Homes review process
There's so much more to air fresheners than a scent in a spray can. As you will have seen above, freshening your home comes in all shapes, sizes, and textures. But with so many on the market, it's OK to be a little picky with your perfumed purchase. If you've got children, pets, or immunocompromised people in your household, you probably want to avoid pressurised gas. And, for some, automatic air fresheners can be more of a nuisance than a convenience. Though it's a hands-free device, how many of you have walked past one and got a spray in the face (or mouth)?
The job of testing air fresheners has been given to the entire Real Homes team so that we can test them in pet-friendly households, smaller spaces, busy family households and every situation in between. Everyone below has tested their air freshener(s) for a number of weeks, and if they would repurchase them, then we've added them to this list.
Meet the team members who've tested these air fresheners.
With two pets at home, Annie is forever searching for air fresheners to ensure her home doesn't have that god-awful pet smell. Whilst trying to be kind to the environment and obviously only using solutions that are safe to use around pets, that is.
Annie has tested a large range of products in this guide, but her favourite has to be Puressentiel's Purifying Air Spray. She loves to spray it once in all of her bedrooms and leave it to work its magic, whilst it's especially great for use in her windowless bathroom. It never clogs the air and smells so natural. Otherwise, she's obsessed with Zoflora's Fresh Home (opens in new tab) as it's pet-friendly and she can use it with peace of mind around her Pug.
The 1001 Carpet Fresh was previously a big win for her and she mostly used it on her living room rug to keep it smelling fresh, whilst she also likes the Air Wick Botanica Room Spray for use just before guests arrive, to freshen upholstery and to spray in her hallway. The Airwick Essential Mist Kit is another bathroom win as it automatically dispenses fragrance, and it looks sleek at the same time.
Jenny lives in a four-bedroom house with her husband, elderly cat, and toddler daughter (plus another babe on the way). She has a nose like a bloodhound so is always looking for the best air fresheners to get rid of all the smells these three create. She likes to make sure that the lovely smells she does use in her home are ones she enjoys using and are as natural as possible.
Jenny tested the Home Pourri Fresh Air room spray (opens in new tab) which she really loves using in her own home for everything from freshening up carpets to quickly spritzing around her cat's litter tray and bins. Each of the three fragrances in the collection smell really natural and the no-nasties formula means she doesn't have to worry about it being safe around her cat or child.
When she's not testing out the efficacy of cleaning products, Christina can be found cooking in the kitchen, whipping up traditional Greek Cypriot and Mauritian delights. But while fragrant spices and herbs fill the air, there comes a time when she seeks respite from the savoury scent of closely-guarded recipes.
The Febreze Unstoppable Air Freshener in Sweet Dream scent (opens in new tab) is her all-time favourite mid-priced product. She thinks it's great value when sold normal price, but definitely keeps her eyes peeled for a promotional offer. With Middle-Eastern roots, it comes as no surprise that she loves the Diptyque Baies Scented Oval too (when she has a few spare pennies). Though it's berry-scented, she can also pick up a floral bouquet which takes her back to nostalgic times of drinking rose cordial with her late grandmother. And, when life gives her lemons – Christina squeezes this scent into her motor with the AREON Ken car air freshener.
Molly isn't a lover of overpowering scents and always reverts back to classic combinations at home for that sense of familiarity.
Molly's boyfriend hates artificial smells, so a plug-in is the only way she can sneak an air freshener into the mix without him noticing. That's why this Yankee Plug In (opens in new tab) is the perfect no-maintenance air freshener for her space. With no spritzing involved, all she needs to do is plug it in and remember to top it up every once in a while. Her favourite is the Vanilla Lime scent, (opens in new tab) which brings something fresh to her favourite reliable fragrance type. She's also a big fan of how you can see precisely how much fragrance is left in the small glass bottle before it needs to be refilled.
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:
- 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.
What is the best air freshener?
Tried and tested by the Real Homes 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 essential oils.
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 (opens in new tab) – this is important to make sure your spray lasts;
2. Rubbing alcohol (opens in new tab) or cheap vodka (opens in new tab).
3. Essential oil of your choice (we like lavender (opens in new tab));
4. A spray bottle – we like this glass set from Amazon (opens in new tab)
- 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, and shake well. This works a treat as an ironing water, too. If using citrus oil, avoid spraying directly on fabrics.
Air fresheners are a great alternative to using one a candle, 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 electrical outlets involved.
There's nothing to say you can't use an air freshener with another home fragrance at the same time — perhaps the one of the best essential oil diffusers, or even one of our favourite reed diffusers. 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 whiffs, 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.