Deodorizers can be expensive and even dangerous. They also may contain harmful toxic chemicals, including formaldehyde. The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health found 884 toxic substances in a survey of about 3,000 chemicals used in artificial fragrances. The institute reports that the chemicals are linked to cancer, birth defects, and neurological and reproductive disorders. Fragrances also can trigger asthma and allergic reactions.

It’s cheaper and safer to make your own with basic household items. Here are 10 ways to have a great-smelling bathroom:

1. Put small amounts of sweet-smelling essential oil on cotton balls, and place them in a small bowl on a shelf, or in a cup in the medicine cabinet.

2. A variation on essential oil on cotton balls: Push the cotton balls between the toilet paper roll and the holder. The essential oil scent will be released every time someone rolls the toilet paper, just when the perfume is needed most.

3. Before guests arrive, quickly freshen up the bathroom by grating some orange zest in the bathroom. A strong, desirable orange smell will overpower bathroom odors. Try this cinnamon-pear air freshener recipe.

4. For a more permanent (albeit more complicated) deodorizer, look for a miniature potpourri crock pot at thrift stores or garage sales. Then mix up your own potpourri with standard grocery store items such as cloves, cinnamon sticks, orange peels and vanilla extract.

5. Harness the power of baking soda, as you probably already do in the refrigerator. Baking soda absorbs most odors. Simply fill a small bowl with baking soda, and replace monthly. Simply leave the neutral smell of baking soda or add naturally scented bath salts to the mix. You can also cover the bowl with marbles, flower petals or other “disguises,” as long as they don’t completely cover the baking soda mixture.

6. Vinegar also absorbs odors. To deodorize the bathroom quickly, wipe down the walls and other surfaces with white vinegar. Focus on the area around the toilet, where the walls may have absorbed smells and more. If toilets are flushed with the lid up, contaminated water vapor can spray several feet, and linger on surfaces.

7. For an even simpler odor solution, pour vinegar into the toilet and let it work for an hour or so before flushing. For extra deodorizing power, mix baking soda and vinegar in the toilet.

8. Fresh eucalyptus leaves are an effective bathroom deodorizer. You can buy them from your local florist. Keep them in a vase above the toilet. Networx editor Chaya Goodman effectively used a vase of eucalyptus branches to mask the odor of some old plumbing in her apartment.

9. A squirt of hand soap into the bowl and a quick swish with a toilet brush cuts toilet odors. Do this instead of spraying the room with a room-deodorizing spray.

10. Light scented or unscented candles in the bathroom. A small tray of incense on top of the toilet is also a good solution. You can simply leave matches out in an attractive container, and let users take care of their odors.

These are 10 simple DIY bathroom deodorizers that are cheaper than commercial products, and avoid many of the potentially harmful chemicals and other artificial ingredients. Got more tips? Leave a comment on this article.

Steve Graham originally wrote this story for It is reprinted with permission here.

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