Gel air freshener - Everyday Essentials

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Everyday Essentials by Plant Therapy

Gel air freshener

Plant Therapy DIY Christmas Projects


Today’s extra easy project is perfect for the smaller spaces in your home like the laundry room, in the guest bathroom or even in an upstairs hall! Make up a few of these to give as hostess gifts or to set in our own bathroom if you’re hosting this holiday season.

Plant Therapy DIY Christmas Seasonal Aroma Gell Freshener with Peppermint Latte and Pumpkin Latte

What you’ll need: 
  • 2 packets unflavored gelatin
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • Essential oils of your choice; I chose limited edition Peppermint Latte and Pumpkin Latte (*you’ll want 2 mL per 1/2 cup liquid)
  •  Polysorbate20* – in an amount equal to the essential oils
  • 0.5 – 1.5% optiphen plus**
  • 2 small glass jars with lids
  • Food coloring, optional

*Polysorbate20 is a surfactant that acts as an emulsifier, and helps the essential oils to stay completely mixed into the water  portion of this recipe. Without it, the essential oils float on top of the mixture and your scent will not last as long – but its do-able without it.

What you’ll do:
  1. Measure Polysorbate20 into shot glass or small dish
  2. Stir essential oils, ploysorbate20, and Optiphen Plus until they are well combined – set aside
  3. Bloom gelatin by sprinkling the two packets over the COLD water in your measuring cup. Wait about 5 minutes
  4. Add HOT water, stirring to dissolve
  5. Combine Polysorbate20/essential oil mixture and stir
  6. Add food coloring at this stage, if desired
  7. Cover with lid and set in a cool place {I put mine outside in the garage, which was about 40 degrees}
  8. When solid, stir or cut up with a spoon to create chunks of gelatin
  9. Leave out in small room without lid to gently scent the space

**If you choose not to use a preservative you will need to store it in the fridge.  Optiphen plus is a preservative which reduces the instance of bacterial growth in water-based products. We recommend that a preservative be used in any water-based products that you make at home. This is a great choice since it contains no parabens, no formaldehyde, and are not formaldehyde contributors. 

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As always, we want to hear from you! Contact us by emailing [email protected] for any questions, concerns or comments you may have. You can join our Facebook group Safe Essential Oil Recipes and participate in lively conversation with other essential oils users. We have your safety in mind – so come hang out with us to learn even more! We look forward to seeing you there!

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11 thoughts on “Gel air freshener”

    1. Hi Kelly, all preservatives are different and what works for one product may not work for another. We can only speak for the preservatives that we have tried for ourselves. Because we haven’t tried this preservative, we cannot say how it would work in this DIY. I would make sure to follow manufacturer’s guidelines for use when using any preservative and make sure that it will work for the individual DIY.

  • Do you think these would hold up being mailed during the summer? I’d love to make some of these and send to my daughter who lives a few states away from me. I appreciate your thoughts on this!

      1. Thank you, so for this recipe of 8oz of water = 240mL of water and so with the chart that would be 1%= 72 drops of optiphen. The recipe calls for 2mL of EO (and an equal amt of poly20). How do I determine how much 2mL is – is there an equivalent chart for that, ie 1mL = 1 tsp or whatever.

        Sorry about all the questions, just trying to clarify before I make this so I don’t waste the ingrediants.

    1. Hi! I have only personally used Polysorbate 20 but I just found this off of SwiftCraftyMonkey “Polysorbate 20 is a polyoxyethylene derivative of sorbitan monolaurate whereas polysorbate 80 is a polyoxyethylene derivative of sorbitan and oleic acid. … Polysorbates are emulsifiers, wetting agents, and solubilizers that we use to bring small amounts of fragrance, essential, or carrier oils into a watery environment.” That makes me believe that you could use Polysorbate 80 instead of the 20. Let us know if this helps!

  • Great post – I will be trying these this Christmas, for sure! Please clarify – 2mL of oil per 1/2 cup liquid – means 4mL of oil per recipe? Thanks!

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