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Why do you put baking soda in homemade Febreze?

Many people make their own homemade Febreze to save money and avoid some of the chemicals found in store-bought Febreze. One of the key ingredients in homemade Febreze recipes is baking soda. Baking soda serves several important purposes in DIY Febreze that make it an essential addition.

Absorbs Odors

One of the main reasons baking soda is added to homemade Febreze is that it helps absorb odors. Baking soda is alkaline, which enables it to neutralize acids that cause unpleasant smells. When baking soda comes into contact with acidic odor molecules, it neutralizes their charge so they are no longer volatile chemicals detectable by your nose.

This odor-eliminating power makes baking soda a popular deodorizer for things like refrigerators, cat litter boxes, and smelly shoes. Adding it to homemade Febreze allows it to combat odors in fabrics and upholstery. As the Febreze is sprayed on and allowed to dry, the baking soda gets to work deactivating odor compounds.

Freshens Air

In addition to absorbing bad smells, baking soda also helps freshen air when added to DIY Febreze. Baking soda has a clean, fresh scent on its own. Adding it to a homemade Febreze recipe helps mask any lingering odors with a pleasant, airy smell.

The fresh scent of baking soda comes from the chemical reaction that occurs when you mix it with an acid. This reaction produces carbon dioxide gas, which gives off a light, clean fragrance we associate with freshness. Spritzing your homemade Febreze made with baking soda will make the air smell renewed.

Gentle Ingredient

Another reason baking soda is used in homemade Febreze is that it is a very gentle ingredient. Some Febreze alternatives contain harsh chemicals like synthetic fragrances and masking agents. Baking soda provides odor-fighting power without irritating chemicals.

Since many homemade Febreze recipes are sprayed directly on furniture, carpets, and other items inside the home, it’s important to use an ingredient that won’t stain or damage these surfaces. Baking soda is safe to use around most fabrics, so you don’t have to worry about it discoloring or degrading your belongings.

Thanks to being non-toxic and pH neutral, baking soda is even gentle enough to use on baby gear, children’s rooms, and by people with chemical sensitivities. There is no need to rinse off baking soda residues after applying homemade Febreze.

Dries Out Moisture

Excess moisture can cause musty, mildewy smells in things like upholstery and carpets. The moisture provides an environment for mold, bacteria, and other microbes to thrive and produce foul odors. By sprinkling on baking soda and allowing it to sit for a bit before vacuuming, it will help soak up dampness that leads to smells.

The moisture absorbing properties of baking soda also come into play with Febreze sprays. Since wetness prolongs the potency of odors in fabrics, the baking soda helps speed up drying so smells dissipate faster after spraying with DIY Febreze.

Environmentally Friendly

Making your own Febreze at home allows you to control the ingredients used. Baking soda is an environmentally friendly choice compared to things like synthetic fragrances, preservatives, and stabilizers added to commercial products. Going green is a motivator for many people who choose to DIY homemade Febreze.

Natural Deodorizer

In addition to being environmentally friendly, baking soda is naturally derived. It is mined in its mineral form trona and then processed into the white powder we are all familiar with. Making homemade cleaners like Febreze with natural ingredients provides peace of mind to many people.

The natural deodorizing ability of baking soda has been known for centuries. Native Americans were said to have carried baking soda to help fend off unpleasant smells during travel. Early physicians recommended baking soda as a stomach deodorizer to help neutralize strong-smelling burps and gas. The antioxidant and antiseptic properties of baking soda contribute to its deodorizing effects.

Available and Affordable

Two other reasons baking soda is commonly used in DIY Febreze are availability and affordability. Baking soda can be easily found in any grocery store or online for just a few dollars per pound. It keeps indefinitely in the pantry, so you don’t have to worry about it spoiling or losing effectiveness over time.

The low cost makes baking soda achievable for just about any household budget. Rather than spending $5 or more on a small bottle of Febreze every month, you can make your own version for mere pennies with items you likely already have on hand. Saving money is a top reason many turn to baking soda for home odor solutions.

Easy to Use

There’s no complicated chemistry or equipment required to use baking soda in homemade Febreze. Simply measure out the baking soda along with the other recipe ingredients like scented oils, vodka, and water. Mix or shake everything together in a spray bottle. Then spritz and enjoy fresh-smelling fabrics and rooms.

The simplicity of baking soda makes it ideal for DIY cleaners and odor eliminators that anyone can whip up fast. There are no complicated instructions or long ingredient lists with baking soda. Its straightforward deodorizing power streamlines homemade Febreze recipes.

Versatile Ingredient

An additional benefit of baking soda is that it’s a versatile ingredient. Beyond homemade Febreze, it can be used for cleaning, deodorizing, and freshening many other items around your home. Keeping baking soda stocked in your pantry gives you a go-to option for tackling all kinds of smell-related issues as they pop up.

Here are just some of the other ways baking soda can be used as a handy deodorizer:

  • Sprinkle it on smelly carpets before vacuuming
  • Place an open box in the fridge or freezer to soak up food odors
  • Mix it with water to make a paste for scrubbing away stains and smells in bathrooms
  • Add it to litter boxes, drains, garbage cans, or anywhere stinky odors accumulate
  • Use it as a natural underarm deodorant

This versatility makes baking soda a cost-effective, eco-friendly deodorizing option to have on hand. A little goes a long way for tackling all kinds of household odor issues.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does baking soda absorb odors?

Baking soda absorbs odors through adsorption. Odor molecules are attracted and adhere to the extensive surface area of the baking soda particles. This adherence neutralizes the odor so it can no longer be detected.

How much baking soda should I add to homemade Febreze?

Most recipes call for about 1-2 tablespoons of baking soda per cup of water. Adjust to suit your preference for the intensity of the baking soda odor-fighting power. Add more for stronger smells, or less if you don’t want the baking soda scent to be as prominent.

What smells does baking soda remove best?

Baking soda is especially effective at removing acidic, sour, and musty smells. This includes odors from things like sweat, garbage, pesticides, mold, mildew, and smoke. However, it can tackle all types of household odors.

Does homemade Febreze with baking soda leave residues?

No, the small amount of baking soda used in Febreze recipes will not leave behind a powdery residue or film. It fully dissolves and evaporates along with the other ingredients when sprayed as directed.

How long does the baking soda Febreze formula last?

It should remain effective for 1-2 months when stored in a cool, dark place. Shake the bottle before each use to maintain even distribution of the baking soda. Make a fresh batch when you notice the smell becoming less intense.

Is baking soda in Febreze safe for pets?

Yes, baking soda is non-toxic for pets. It is often added to dog shampoos and pet odor eliminators. Check that any essential oils used in the Febreze recipe are also pet-safe before spraying around animals.

Recipes and Substitutions

Here are some sample baking soda Febreze recipes you can try:

Basic Baking Soda Febreze

  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons baking soda
  • 10-15 drops essential oil like lemon, lavender, rose, etc. for scent (optional)

Mix the baking soda and essential oil into the water until fully dissolved. Pour into a spray bottle and shake before each use.

Enhanced Baking Soda Febreze

  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon vodka or witch hazel
  • 15 drops essential oil

The vodka or witch hazel helps the spray stick to surfaces longer so the baking soda has more time to neutralize odors. Follow same mixing and storage steps as basic recipe above.

Baking Soda Substitutions

If you don’t have any baking soda for homemade Febreze, here are some possible stand-in options:

  • White vinegar – also absorbs odors, but can leave a vinegar smell behind
  • Activated charcoal – has odor absorbing properties
  • Zeolite clay – absorbs odors and moisture
  • Sodium bicarbonate – essentially the same as baking soda, so performs identically

However, baking soda offers the best value, availability, versatility and safety, so it’s ideal for odor-eliminating uses like homemade Febreze.


Baking soda is a critical ingredient in DIY Febreze-type sprays for several key reasons. Its excellent odor absorbing properties allow it to trap and neutralize smells rather than just masking them. Baking soda also freshens air, dries out dampness leading to odors, and deodorizes surfaces without harsh chemicals.

Other benefits like being natural, safe, affordable, and readily available make baking soda an accessible addition to homemade Febreze. Its versatile deodorizing power handles all types of smelly household issues. Baking soda is an effective, eco-friendly choice for eliminating odors without the chemicals found in many commercial air fresheners.