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When a foul odor is lingering in the air—be it from garbage, pet dander, a particularly pungent meal, or stinky gym clothes—an air freshener can solve the problem in an instant. Air fresheners come in all different varieties, from sprays to plug-ins to diffusers—but they all do the same job: make the air in your home or car smell better than before.
To help you find the right one for your needs, here are the best air fresheners.
If you could benefit from the most universal air freshener available, try this one by the ever-popular Febreeze. The formula, which has a widely appealing fresh laundry-type smell, comes in a traditional spray canister that’s easy to use. Even better, it works quickly to neutralize offending odors in virtually any space, from the bathroom and the bedroom all the way to the car. Despite this, the fragrance isn’t overpowering and won’t bother anyone sensitive to artificial fragrance.
This charcoal-based air freshener is a popular option for bathrooms, mudrooms, closets, and even cars for good reason. The well-reviewed and highly rated item harnesses the power of activated charcoal—a naturally occurring element that has proven odor absorbing capabilities. Each small linen bag (it’s just 6 inches around and just shy of two pounds) is filled with 200 grams of activated bamboo charcoal to suck up any impurities (including allergens) in the air causing stale or foul odors. Many reviewers love that it’s unscented (no overwhelming artificial scents), yet still effectively works in areas up to 90 square feet. Another huge bonus? This air freshener works for up to two years. Simply set it out in direct sunlight once per month to release any trapped odors and moisture, “resetting” it for future use.
Bring your favorite tabletop candle into your car to help combat any weird smells, whether they be from an in-transit meal, your gym bag, a pet, or a forgotten bag of groceries. The heavy-duty cardboard air freshener hangs easily from your visor, but if you’d prefer to keep it out of sight, you could also stash it in the center console or hang it on one of the air vents in the backseat. Alternatively, if your trunk is the offender, tuck it back there. You can get the car freshener in a wide array of your favorite Yankee Candle scents, and each one lasts up to four weeks.
For a no-fuss option, consider a plug-in style air freshener. You never have to remember to spray—and you never have to hunt your favorite air freshener down. This one simply plugs into an outlet the day you buy it. You don’t have to touch it again, until it needs a refill more than an entire month and a half later, as many as 50 days later. Though the housing unit accommodates a variety of scents made by Glade, this one—crisp, clean linen—gets praise for being effective but not overwhelming.
It may have a funny name, but this spray means business—and, as a result, it’s developed something of a cult following. The non-toxic spray is made entirely of botanicals and essential oils for safer air freshening power that works just as well as other chemical-laden options. To use as a preventive measure in the bathroom, simply spritz the inside of the toilet bowl before you go. Of course, you can also use the spray in other rooms of the house—use it to make laundry smell fresher and cleaner, combat stinky trash bins, or simply add a sweet scent to a room before hosting any company.
If your goal is to fill your bedroom with a pleasant aroma, why not choose one that might help you get a better night’s sleep? This plug-in product works 24/7, so you don’t have to add another thing to your to-do list. Simply plug it in once, and reap the benefits. The scent it delivers is a gentle combination of lavender and chamomile—two botanicals with proven sleep benefits. Reviewers love that the set comes with six refills that last as long as many as 270 days of continuous fragrance. And if you’re worried about an “always-on” product delivering too strong of a scent, don’t be. The plug-in has a variety of settings that allows you to toggle between five separate fragrance settings to deliver just the right amount for your liking.
Another great option for those who love the convenience of air fresheners that work without intervention is an automatic spray. This petite machine is similar to those you often see in public and office bathrooms—a canister of air freshener sits within a small housing unit that works on a timer to emit fragrance at regular intervals, no manual button-pushing required. There’s no outlet necessary either (a big bonus that means you can tuck the unit out of sight and reach)—just two AA batteries. Like other products by Air Wick, you can get a wide variety of diffuser scents, so you’re sure to find something to your liking.
Though gym bags and lockers are some of the worst offenders when it comes to stale air, this spray proves it’s possible to combat those unpleasant odors with all-natural ingredients. The formula is made up of essential oils with anti-bacterial properties to eradicate odor-causing bacteria to leave a wide array of typically stinky items fresher for longer. Use it in, yes, your gym bag or locker, but don’t stop there—you can also use the better-for-you spray in to refresh old, dirty sneakers or get rid of foul smells on your yoga mat, sports equipment, towels, and more. It’s an especially great choice for anyone looking to ditch the chemicals, particularly parents and pet parents who need gentler ingredients on hand.
Would you believe us if we told you that it’s possible to freshen just about any room in your home or office for less than one dollar? Maybe not, but it’s true. This solid cone-style air freshener is more affordable than just about any other option on the market but still gets rave reviews for its ability to make the air smell better for longer. There are no outlets or batteries required, either. Simply lift the adjustable cone to release the desired amount of fragrance.