The Frugal Café | Photo credit: Rebecca Anne, "Flora's Cup"</a> | Creative Commons License,
Photo credit: Rebecca Anne, "Flora's Cup" | Creative Commons License,

Frugal Café Philosophy
Save more.
Spend wisely.
Use resources responsibly.
Laugh often.
Kindle passion in life.
Give back.







Frugal Café Site Search:



Homemade Car Fresheners

By Vicki McClure Davidson


Does your nose ever get assaulted by foul odors when you open your car door in the late afternoon? Does someone in your family play sports, or fish, or camp, or smoke, or anything else in the family vehicle that can be potentially stinky? You can make your own long-lasting car or truck freshener for a fraction of what it costs to purchase in the specialty stores. It's a cheap, easy, and kid-friendly craft activity and longer lasting than store-bought sprays.

All the materials you need are:

You can find crushed corn cob at most Wal-Mart or PetSmart (or other pet supply) stores. At PetSmart, go to where the guinea pig items are and you should find bags of it there. It's a commonly used pet bedding/pet litter and not expensive.

Toss together about 2 cups crushed corn cob with your choice of fragrance oil in a mixing bowl. Leave the mix uncovered for a while to dry and absorb. Then, store it in a large jar with a lid. Fill a cloth bag (cotton or muslin sachet bags with drawstrings work best) to about 2/3 full (leave enough room at the top so you can easily close the bag). Either hang the bag from the rear-view mirror, place it under the driver's seat, or put it anywhere else that the scent can drift through the vehicle.


Fragrance Oils

Good basic fragrance choices include vanilla, mint, lemon, simple floral blends (the heavier ones may be too overwhelming during the warmer months), coconut, jasmine, and rose. However, the sky's the limit for choices. If the freshener is intended for a man, you may want to consider more masculine-type scents, those that are less floral based.

One excellent website that I've used for buying fragrance oils online is Aroma Haven & Rustic Escentuals (

This website (Aroma Haven recently acquired Rustic Escentuals, hence the combination name) has an extensive selection of high-quality fragrance oils (more than 200, I believe, but I've not ever counted them), along with other supplies and tools for candle making, soap making, and incense making. They even sell plain muslin sachet bags (as of summer 2008, these 3-inch by 5-inch bags cost 35 cents each, or a pack of 50 for $15.00 USD - no guarantee how long they will be offered). However, you can easily whip up a few drawstring sachet bags yourself on the sewing machine with random, lightweight fabric scraps, especially if you want to make these as attractive, unique, inexpensive gifts.

Aside from top-notch supplies and what I consider to be reasonable prices, Aroma Haven & Rustic Escentuals lists, broken down by month, their most popular fragrances, which is very helpful and saves the reader time.

Popular Aroma Haven fragrance oil choices for the past year include the oddly named Monkey Farts (one of the most popular scents), Love Spell, Bird of Paradise, Flannel Sheets, Vanilla Bean, Little Black Dress, Amish Quilt, Lemon Verbena, Green Tea and Cucumber, Celtic MoonSpice, Leather, Chocolate Walnut Espresso, Sweet Pea, Angel Food Cake, Rosemary Mint, Lavender Apples and Oak, Victorian Rose, Blueberry Muffin, Pumpkin Pie Spice, Birthday Cake, and many others. Those that don't sell well are discounted to move them out of inventory, making room for new scents.

I've bought a number of their fragrance oils, and have never been disappointed. However, I usually get ravenously hungry when I browse through their online catalog (their scent descriptions are beyond tantalizing... whoever writes their description text is a gifted wordsmith, summarizing the mood/ambiance of a fragrance with a few well-chosen adjectives). One of their newest ones, Mineral Springs, sounds fresh and soothing, and I may have to indulge myself and buy it soon for some upcoming projects.

Visit the site for fun and to foster other ideas for budget-minded crafts. Making these fresheners is a terrific and easy DIY project to do with children, particularly for making economical gifts for family and friends during the holidays. These frugally-minded fresheners can also be placed in workshops, tool sheds, closets, dresser drawers, backpacks, suitcases, gym lockers, sports bags, laundry rooms... anywhere in the home or office where a lingering fragrance is needed to freshen things up with little fuss, mess, or cost.



Related Reading and Videos:
Crafts of Christmas Past... Ripped from the Glossy Pages of Old Magazines: Main Directory
Pine Cone Panache for the Holidays: Easy, Frugal Home Decor, Craft, and Gift Ideas Using Pine Cones
Yuletide Reminder: Cards and Letters Mean Everything – 'Tis the Season for Writing to Our Troops
Make an Adorable, Cost-minded Baby Shower Diaper 'Cake' Centerpiece
Frugal Café Blog Zone: Frugal Japanese-Inspired, Eco-Friendly Christmas Candy Gift Wrap & More "Cheap but Chic" Christmas Ideas (video)
Frugal Café Blog Zone: Christmas on a Shoestring: Frugal Origami Christmas Ornaments, Using Old Phonebooks (video)
Recycle & Reuse Holiday Cards
Budget Kid Fashion Craft – Video Demo: Embroidery Floss Bracelets
Chic 'n Cheap: Unique Kitchen Crafts Made with Legos
Second Time Around: Smart Ways to Reuse & Recycle Things around the House
The Great Frugal "Shoe Down" – Website Shows 36 Unique Ways to Lace a Shoe
Cheap & Thoughtful Christmas Ideas, from HappyBird's Crafting Haven
Budget Crafts: Origami & Kirigami Christmas Ornaments