Sunday, December 16, 2012

Homemade Air Freshener Gel

Yes, those are SALSA Bowls!
It's winter here in South Texas but but the same AC unit we use to cool the boat, heats our living space as well.  This time of year we use it some days and others not.  This makes it obvious when there is a "smell" lurking somewhere in the process.  The warm/cool air begins blowing after perhaps days of sitting idle and the boat is filled with a malodorous scent of something not quite right.

Sailboats are notorious for growing mold and mildew.  Some you can get to with a cleaning cloth and others are unaccessible.  I found hope in an email touting this miraculous product that, when placed near the air intake, can eliminate the musty odor emanating from the air vents throughout the boat.

Unfortunately, that miraculous product comes at a price... about $45  for one small pot.  I can do BETTER!

I found this website among the many that seems to have the common ingredients for making my own air freshening gel.  I've adapted the recipe to suit my own purposes and have come up with the following easy steps.  My needs were for mildew/mold control so I used Tea Tree oil.  Any essential oil of your choice would be fine for simple freshening purposes.

Make Your Own Color & Smell Combinations With This Easy Air Freshener Recipe:

2 cups water
4 packages Gelatin (plain)
15 to 20 drops Essential Oil (Since my needs are "industrial" I used a bit more.  You can adjust to suit)
2 TBS salt
Food Coloring (optional, I chose not to use it since these gel pots would be inside a cabinet).

  • In a small pot, mix 1 cup water, essential oil and food coloring. As soon as it starts to boil, remove from heat.
  • Completely dissolve gelatin and salt in the hot water then add the other cup of water (cold)–stir well (gently so it doesn’t foam).
  • Pour into jars and set aside for a couple days before using so the gelatin has a chance to completely set (you can refrigerate to speed up the process). Once cooled, cover with lids that have a few holes punched in them to allow fragrance to escape.
The salt in this recipe is used to help combat mold, please make sure to add it.

Once the gelatin has set, I'll place these out of site inside the air vent and see how they do!  We enjoy the scent of Tea Tree oil but it isn't for everyone.  But, if your purpose is to help control the mildew problem on a boat, it's the choice to use.

Update:  My freshener lasted just over two weeks before it had reduced by about 2/3 in size and mold began to grow.  Mine had very little scent after the first day or two.  I will try it again with a stronger essential oil when I make it again.