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This morning’s new batch of bathroom air freshener using an essential oil blend of Pink Grapefruit, Bergamot, Lemon and Lime

There are have been some tips circulating lately on social media about adding laundry soap or softener to one’s toilet tank in order to create a fresh bathroom smell. There have also been posts noting the risks of this to one’s toilet tank. For me, the risk is using chemicals which are likely not environmentally friendly. And do you really want a bathroom that smells like Tide or Downy?

My preference is always to go the natural way and I continue to replace store-bought items with DIY products that I can make at home that are natural, usually organic and do the job just as well . . .  and often much more cheaply. I still buy some commercial items (such as Tru Earth laundry strips), as long as they are environmentally positive.

There are many options for keeping one’s bathroom smelling fresh. including:  

  • Opening a window
  • Lighting an unscented candle made with sustainably harvested plant-based wax (or one with natural scents) 
  • Making a bathroom refresher spray using a base of vodka and distilled water, and some essential oils for scent. Or no scent. Vodka is great at removing odour, and much more natural than the mainstream commercial alternatives. If you don’t like essential oils, you can also infuse the vodka with fresh flowers etc, then use.

One of my favourite ways is a bathroom refresher I make using an ingredient most of us have in our kitchen pantry, baking soda, which can also be used as a base for cleansers and scrubs.

Bathroom Baking Soda Refreshener

This simple item can be left in the bathroom to absorb odours (like many of us do with our refrigerators) and can be given a quick shake to release the essential aromas. If you don’t like using essential oils, consider adding some dried florals such as lavender buds, rose petals, dried orange, etc.

And, of course, you can use this in any room to keep it smelling fresh . . . the living room, dining room, kitchen, craft room, bedroom, etc.


  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • up 20-30 drops essential oils (EOs), depending on your preference

Experiment with essential oil blends (so many formulations are to be found on the internet) and switch them up to suit your need or mood, such as:

Energizing citrus blend

  • equal parts of lemon, lime, wild or sweet orange, grapefruit and bergamot. Adjust to your preference. I often add an additional drop (or 2 or 3!) of grapefruit.

Clear breathing 1

  • 2 parts (try drops) each lemon, peppermint, and eucalyptus
  • 1 part each lime, rosemary and clove

Clear breathing 2

Try a simple one blend to start, such as:

  • equal parts of lemon and rosemary OR
  • equal parts eucalyptus and peppermint

Calming blend

  • 4 parts lavender
  • 2 parts each Cedarwood, and Wild or Sweet Orange
  • 1 part Ylang Ylang

A Note re Parts A “part” can be a single drop or, if making in bigger batches, something like 2 or more drops, a tsp, etc. Once you have a blend you like, consider making a larger batch — a “mother blend” — scaling up in parts, and store in a dark bottle, labelled with the date blended and the ratios or # of drops/parts of each essential oil. You can also just make a fresh blend each time.


  • Sift the baking soda into a bowl, to remove any lumps.
  • Mix your oils in a small container. I typically use a clean empty essential oil bottle. If you change the ratios, make sure to note how many drops of each EO you used, so you can replicate the formula in the future.
  • Once you like the blend created, stir 20 drops into the baking soda until all the oils are absorbed. Add additional drops if you prefer a stronger scent.
  • Add your baking soda/EO mix to a small mason type jar with a two-part lid (snap lid and screw-on band). For this size batch, I use an 8-ounce or 250ml jar, so I can give it a good shake. Substitute a piece of cloth or a paper filter for the lid, then top the jar with the metal band to secure. Today I used a piece of paper towel cut to size. Some folks like to use a mesh filter instead of cloth or paper, and others simply secure a piece of cloth with a nice ribbon or piece of raffia. Decorate the jar to your preference.
    • And in the spirit of using whatever you have on hand, you could simply use a clean jar, topped with a facial tissue or paper towel, and kept in place with a rubber band or piece of string. It’s that easy.
  • Be sure to label the jar (it can be underneath) with the date and the essential oils used.

That’s it!

Keep the jar somewhere in your bathroom to absorb stale odours. If you need to kick it up a notch, give the jar a good shake to release the scent. When you notice the scent diminishing, you can add a few more drops of your EO blend. And if you notice that the baking soda is no longer absorbing the odours as effectively, simply replace the existing baking soda/EO blend with a fresh batch.

And, of course, that old batch is still useful! You can use it for cleaning, e.g. to scrub a sink or faucets, etc. You can also sprinkle onto rugs or hardwood flooring and then, after a few minutes, vacuum or sweep to freshen up the room. CAUTION: If there are any people or animals in your home with any issues with air-borne scent or particulates, do not use this on your rug. Use as a cleanser/scrub instead.

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